Gun safety used to be taught by the NRA
Gun safety was taught (drilled in) to me as a youth growing up in rural North Dakota. As a young member of the National Rifle Association (NRA), the message always was: Safety First! It was especially drilled in while I competed on our local rifle team. It was fun and bonding and demanded a lot of attention and care.
Gun safety teaches responsibility and respect
Like so many of my friends and family, I hunted. Our excursions spanned multiple hunting seasons of ducks and geese and pheasants. While I never hunted deer, I know many who did. Gun safety became a language of its own as we took care of how we stored, carried, and used the guns.
I no longer belong to the NRA and am dismayed that, somehow, it has lost its way. Gun safety is no longer its first objective. Once upon a time, the NRA instilled a responsibility about guns that had lasting effects. Guns and their responsible use were met with a sense of pride, respect, and even reverence.
Gun safety now means lockdown
Now decades later, imagine the cold chill I recently felt when my granddaughter explained to me how her kindergarten class learned a new game. “It’s called Lockdown, Grandpa!” Gun safety has taken on an entirely new meaning from when I was a young boy.
Today’s perspective associated with gun safety is now met with a sense of fear, sometimes loathing, far removed from what was taught in my earlier days. Our nation watches and experiences multiple (can we say habitual?) episodes of gun violence in our midst. Suicides, homicides, and mass shootings are constantly sucking up our news space. Every day we ask, “Why do these events happen?”
Gun violence is a health issue
Gun violence is now considered a health issue. A health issue! A thing—a piece of metal—is a health issue. It’s not a virus. It’s not some kind of biological invasion. Rather, it’s our relationship with a thing that is now destroying so much. So much so that a common word associated with safety is lockdown.
March for our lives makes a demand
This past Saturday the world watched as the March for Our lives in Washington plus some 800 other associated marches were conducted by our nation’s youth. Their voices were strong, united, and demanding. They didn’t plead. They promised that theirs was the new generation soon to take over. We, the older generations, must listen. “Lead, follow, or get out of the way,” they said.
Their signs speak volumes. Their energy promises much.
The youth are organized and promise to persist. Theirs is a movement that will have a ripple effect. Their voices are being heard.
Gun responsibility is pointed at us
Will we listen? Will we recognize and remember that gun safety demands responsibility? Are we willing to lift our many voices and opinions to face this danger, this health issue? Will we find solutions or will the health issue find us?
The ripple effect we feel must and will be felt when we vote. The “Never Again” and “Enough is Enough” signs are not going away. As adults, our votes, our voices, should make a difference. If not ours, the votes of the youth will.
Gun responsibility affects our vote
As we consider gun safety for our future, especially for the future of our youth, we must be aware of our vote. We must count the votes of everyone concerned with gun safety and this tragic health issue. It doesn’t help to be silent or to let others face the consequences. Together, we can do this. Together, we can be responsible adults. We must vote!
In keeping with the focus of this blog space, I must remind everyone that our votes also include those we cast for our president. Our nation’s first leader must set the responsible tone, address this health issue all of us face, and focus on a tried and true mantra: Safety First!
Starting with electing our president, every vote must count and every state must matter. Remember, only Equal Voice Voting can make this promise. Let’s be responsible when we vote.