I’m So Sick of Living Like This

I don’t like driving my kids to school. 

Penn and I have fallen into these roles over the years: I wake up early and prepare breakfast and lunches. He wakes up with even time to chug some coffee and get out the door. I don’t avoid the final leg of the morning routine because of the traffic or built-in panic of the mornings: It’s the wicked thought traps I fall into every time I pull up in front of their schools.  

I start picturing a shooter entering the school and doing the absolute worst. 

I’ve never told my kids this is the reason their Dad does most of the morning drop-offs, but on the rare occasion I take over in the mornings, I end up embarrassing them with exactly one thousand “I love yous” before they close the car door. 

There have been more than 200 mass shootings so far in 2023 at the time of this writing, and statistically, there will be another one by the time we hit the publish button on this post. 

I’m so sick of living like this. 

When Will It Change?

On this week’s podcast, I asked  Ryan Busse, a former top sales executive from the gun industry, when things will change in our country. I felt like I got punched in the chest when he said: It will probably get worse before it gets any better. 

Busse said, “Psychologically you have to prepare yourself: There are going to be a lot of Allen, Texas days. There are going to be more Uvalde days. It’s a big ship and it turns slowly. We’ve put it on the water and this is the direction our country has picked. We must pick a different direction. Turning that boat takes work and it takes time.”

Busse worked in the gun industry for 25 years and wrote the book Gunfight: My Battle Against the Industry that Radicalized America. He writes about his time in the industry and why he decided to leave. 

Comparing the business of guns with the business of tobacco, Ryan thinks the long-term solution is a culture change around guns.  As a gun owner himself, he feels it will be the small, incremental changes that could be made to see improvements. Things like raising the age of buying guns like semi-automatic rifles from 18  to 21 and universal background checks on all gun sales.  Right now, only 13 states have universal background laws that require all sales of firearms to take place through a licensed dealer.

He added, “We’re not going to ban guns, nor do I want to. I’m a gun owner. But we have to change the culture around irresponsibility of worshiping guns as a political and identity totem because if you think we’re in a dark place now, and I think we are in a dark place, it’s going to get far worse.”

As a heartbroken citizen and mother, this is not what I wanted to hear but I needed to hear it. The small changes will have an impact over time. I hope. Hope is all I have right now. 

That being said, I know so many of you will disagree with me about how to control gun violence in this country. We all want to keep our children safe and I hope you will approach this podcast with an open heart.