I get it. You come here for the funny stuff. We love creating silly videos, but there are more and more days when I’m knocked to the ground in despair. There are a lot of you here, in our cozy online home, so it’s fair for you to know the real us.
Yes, we make comedy videos but we don’t consider that our primary job. We’re parents and human beings first. We care deeply about our family, friends and strangers in our community.
I’ve marched. I’ve donated. I’ve canvassed. I’ve phone banked. I’ve organized “letter writing parties” and, let me tell you, as an introvert that’s a big deal. But this time I’m scared. I’m scared because after another mass school shooting, I’m numb with rage. I feel like I’m done. I don’t know what else one mother can do.
Here’s the thing:
My 15-year-old is learning how to drive. In our state, there’s a class you take every Saturday for a month to learn the laws of driving a car. After finishing classroom instruction, she had to pass a written test and a DMV certified vision test. Then we had to schedule six hours of road training with a certified driving instructor. She then had to take ANOTHER test. We now sit in the passenger seat, as she must have at least 60 hours of experience behind the wheel before she takes ANOTHER test when she turns 16.
Even when she passes there will be regulations about when she can drive (in our state you can’t drive after 9:00pm for the first six months of having a license.) We will happily do all this, even more, to make sure our daughter understands the responsibility of driving a car. We want her, and everyone around her, to be safe.
So, what about buying a gun?
While our state has done work to close the loopholes for unlicensed sales and requires background checks, I could still get a gun in about a week. I, who can’t hit the broad side of a barn if you paid me, could own a gun by next Tuesday.
At minimum, we should make purchasing a gun as hard as getting a driver’s license. There should be required training for every type of gun you own, and you should be tested with that particular gun. You should have to register your gun, like you do a car, and take out a full insurance policy for every gun you own. If the gun you own is stolen and used to kill people, you should be held responsible.
No civilian should own an assault rifle.
H.R.8, a bipartisan bill to require background checks on gun sales, should be passed today.
There is a list of other loopholes that need to be closed and safeguards that need to be put in place, but my hands are shaking too much to type. This would be a basic start.
This blog is an opinion and it is coming from me. After posting an Instagram story last night, I got these opinions from you. Thank you for your opinions, here are my responses:
“But the bad guys will get guns illegally anyway.”
We should still try to limit access for the bad guys, right? We all want to try, right?
“It’s a mental health issue!”
Of course, it’s a mental health issue. No sane, rational person does this. There are mentally unstable people in every country, yet this doesn’t happen. Our access to guns allows this to happen. So where’s the access to universal mental health care? It feels like schools are having to do more with much less, so how are they supposed to give our kids access to mental health services in a meaningful way?
“These shooters were bullied.”
I was bullied. My kids have been bullied. If you count the comments on this post, I still get bullied. It sucks but it’s not an excuse to kill innocent children.
“Stop making this political!”
Political action (or lack thereof) allows 18-year-olds to legally purchase semi-automatic weapons. It’s all political.
“It’s too soon to talk about these things.”
There have been more mass shootings in our country this year than there have been days. If we don’t talk about this today, when will we talk about it?
“But there are kids in (enter name of country) suffering, why aren’t you mad about that?”
I’m pissed about everything. My capacity for rage knows no bounds. I can care about more than one thing.
I have done enough therapy to know action propels me out of despair. I’ll be honest – this time, I don’t know what to do. I’m making contributions to the places where we regularly donate, but it doesn’t seem like enough.
Here are the places we like, but I’m sure there are other great organizations.
Everytown for Gun Safety https://www.everytown.org/
Moms Demand Action https://momsdemandaction.org/
Sandy Hook Promise https://www.sandyhookpromise.org/
If you’re still reading, and are feeling everything right now, I see you. We have a few silly videos planned in the next few days but I don’t feel like hitting the “publish” button yet. I know laughter heals, and because we’ve been through this as recently as last week, I know we will find the funny soon enough. Until then, be safe.
Take care of each other,
P.S. Penn here. I am guessing you can feel her rage and despair. I could feel her rage and despair, from across the house, from across the phone line, from across the bed as we went to sleep. Kim was paralyzed yesterday, lost in the horror of the moment.
Just last week, Kim and I were on a walk and we were talking about the larger-than-average amount of empathy she feels for everyone who encounters misfortune; it is her superpower, and sometimes it is so intense that it is crippling. Yesterday was one of those days.
This is how strong my wife is: she has been able to pivot from the paralysis she felt yesterday. She has put her feelings into words. They are her words, and her opinions. I hope you can respect them as such; you are certainly entitled to your own.
Every time an event like this happens, the nation immediately divides itself. It goes to two separate corners and defends itself. I can feel it happening again as I sit here and type this. This is a time we shouldn’t go to our corners. This is a time to try and find some middle ground.
I want to share a text I got from my friend this morning who often votes across the aisle from me: “I am heartbroken by what happened in Texas. We are the only civilized society without gun regulations.”
I called and talked to him. He has children in school just like me. He is scared just like me. We certainly vote differently and we disagree on a lot of things, but we feel the same way right now.
Our love of our children is our middle ground.
Can we all try to find a middle ground here?