Tuesday, December 18, 2012

All I want for Christmas is a ban on assault weapons

Lucien came home Friday with another write-up from school, this time for bending over and smacking his butt in the middle of the lunchroom.  His behavior was called "completely inappropriate" by the lunch lady who reported him. 

I didn't care.  I saw the telltale envelope in his hand as he got off the bus, marked sternly, "To the Parents of Lucien," and knew what it meant.  But all that mattered to me in that moment was I was seeing my six-year old get off the bus on a day when 20 kids on the other side of the country didn't.

That day has changed some things in my mind, to the point where Christmas shopping has ceased and all leftover Christmas money has gone to The Brady Campaign.  Enough is enough, gun people.  Your right to bear arms does not trump my right not to bear arms and feel safe in a public place.  Your right to bear arms does not trump my son's right to receive an education without worry of being executed in his classroom with a legally purchased assault rifle.

I have to believe someday soon we, as a country, will have had enough.  I have to believe someday the gun lobby will lose, that there are only so many times we can bury our loved ones until we rethink our worship of the great American god, The Gun.

I have to believe things will change, that we're not going to ask a classroom of six-and-seven year olds to be martyrs for the Second Amendment.  Because if I don't believe it right now, I'm going to do ridiculous things such as bar my windows and homeschool my kids -- which, as we all know, would find me checked into a mental health institution within 48 hours.

Enough is enough is enough is enough is enough....


  1. Hello MJ. Long time, no talk to. Well said, girl. The "Right to bear arms" crap [and Black Friday!] are two of the most unappealing sides of American society... Did you hear about Texas and Michigan considering new legislation that would arm some of their teachers so they can protect their students!? Quelle merde! (I assume you are still fluent in French... :-) Let's hope we all make it unscathed until the Holidays. Some unfortunate kids and adults did not. Veronique (French Girl in Seattle)

    1. Veronique! You must think we're stark raving mad in this country, eh? Arming teachers? Are these people hearing themselves speak? Since when is arming teachers a more reasonable idea than making it harder for angry, unbalanced people to get guns?

      Quelle merde quelle merde quelle merde indeed.

      P.S. Just read your blog post about Christmas in Paris. You made me all verklempt. I do miss the place from time to time, sigh...

    2. Arming teachers?! God help us! Have people lost their friggin' minds?!!

  2. MJ-- I spent years studying your [mostly great] country in school before we finally moved to Seattle in 1996. I am raising my son here. I even have an American passport. I do know for a fact some Americans are completely mad (none of my close friends, fortunately :-) I am glad you read my Paris Christmas post, and I know why it made you all verklempt. In Paris, you had to watch out for crazy drivers, the occasional snooty waiter, or poop on the sidewalks -- but at least you did not have to teach your kid to "duck" at school in case a maniac showed up with his mom's assault rifle. Happy Holidays to you and the cute fam' -- I hope we all make it unscathed without getting shot (or trampled to death while entering Walmart.) Some kids and grownups in CT weren't that lucky. Bisous.

  3. "That we are not going to ask a classroom of six and seven year olds to be martyrs for the Second Amendment". Most powerful statement I have read all week. You rock.

  4. Yes to everything you have said! Banning assault weapons works! It worked here in Aus, we lost 35 people in a horrible massacre 15 years ago and immediately after our government banned them and we have not had a tragedy even mildly similar since. Hunters, farmers, even hobby shooters can still buy guns, just not so powerful and the licensing is very strict. Every time I see the photos of those murdered babies, the same age as mine I cry. I really pray your politicians are courageous enough to stop this madness,

    1. I hear the Australia assault weapon ban worked very well, good for your country for seeing a problem and making a change. We aren't there yet.

      Strict licensing for gun owners too, please.

      Courageous politicians would really be something. Fingers crossed.

  5. I've been saying the exact same thing, that a child's right to an education without fear totally beats anyone's so called right to a gun. Yet it's appalling to me how many people I know (and some of whom I love, dearly) feel that the "solution" to this violence problem is to turn schools into fortresses, where teachers are packing steel. I, too, don't want to lose hope that change can happen, and now. Yet it is scary how many people simply do not see the correlation or who have a very different view of what is *logical*. Pfft. And here I am, explaining to my 11-year-old French step-son that all Americans are NOT violent, gun-crazed maniacs. While not entirely believing that myself based on current evidence.

    1. Now the NRA wants an armed policeman in every school. This is getting so eff'g ridiculous I can't stand it anymore. Arming teachers, cops in school..... really? These "solutions" make sense to people? What the hell is going on over here?

  6. Enough is fucking enough. Each and every time it happens, its worse than the time before. WHY do you NEED several automatic weapons? We are in a ton of trouble. Too many guns and not enough mental health treatment. There is just no need for all this violence and heartache.

    1. Too many guns, poor health care for the mentally ill, a culture enamored with violence. We can't be surprised we are where we are, I guess. Time to change something!

  7. Couldn't have put it better, Sweetie. We're not in the friggin' Old West anymore. Enough with the right to bear arms already!

    As if it weren't sick enough, that same day in China, some psychopath stabbed an 80-something lady and then barged into a gradeschool where he stabbed 22 little kids between 6 and 11! They all survived, but barely! Enough already!

    It seems that every year in December, some disaster of some kind occurs, as if some people are not meant to see the New Year...

    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    2. Ooops, my bad, didn't mean to delete that.

      Meant to say -- If I ever come face-to-face with a mass murderer, please oh please let him be wielding a knife instead of an assault rifle.

      Thanks, Duchesse. Hugs.

  8. I hear you Sister.

  9. I found your site awhile back while browsing for blogs about Americans in France. I never commented b/c it's probably a bit creepy getting "love what you said" posts from complete strangers. But as a fellow mom I have to say: LOVE WHAT YOU SAID. I left work early last Friday to pick up my youngest at daycare. Visceral reaction. Bless those children and everyone who loves them. Steph in PA

    1. Not creepy, Steph, happy to have you around.

      We shouldn't have to feel terrified dropping our kids off at school, yet I do now, every single day, and likely will always feel a measure of fear. God Bless the U.S.A.

  10. Just remember, if 'laws' worked we wouldn't have any crime.
    E.G., if they made abortion illegal (as the Bible thumpers keep trying
    to do) it wouldn't stop abortions. It would be driven underground,
    often to unsafe conditions. A law won't stop it or make it go away.
    My fear is that criminals and the deranged wouldn't obey the law -
    leaving us defenseless against criminals and the insane.
    All of the mass murders in the last decade or two were committed
    in gun free areas. And all the killers were mentally ill.
    And all were taking some form of 'crazy' pills medication.
    Part of the problem is not institutionalizing the insane.
    And I can't help but think that growing up on a steady diet
    of video games which, so very very many, involve killing has
    a negative effect, especially to someone with a screw loose.

    I have no solutions except to not live in a voilent prone society
    and in a place that has some culture. hmmmmm? France maybe.

    1. No civilian needs an assault rifle for self defense. And not all mass killings are committed by mentally ill people. The shooters at Columbine, for instance, were just pissed off kids. (Also, not all were in designated "gun free zones," such as the movie theater or the shopping mall.)

      The only constant is easy access to guns capable of killing many people in a short amount of time. There's no excuse for that.

  11. AMEN. My heart has been completely broken. I can't shake the fact that I have had issues with the regulations (or lack of) in this country for so long and I was so apathetic about it. I'm still not sure what I can do, other than give money. But I am considering the Million Kid March on D.C. I've been emailing the every elected official I can think of, begging them to fight the good fight. We are the majority. We just have to be brave enough and have the energy to keep fighting this until our voices are heard. (please, G-d, let them be heard.) -Minda

    1. Minda, you do whatever you can do. I'm on a crazy petition signing, political calling spree myself. Feels like the only thing to do and not very helpful, but it's so much better than shrugging and doing nothing. Go, girl.

  12. I'min Aus so the whole second amendment thing makes absolutely no sense to us here which means I don't think I can make much of a sensible or insightful comment but to say that it stuns me every time this happens how little insight some sectors of the USA have about how the rest of the world deals with things. Socialised medicine, schooling, and gun controls being seen as dangerous fringe behaviour doesn't make sense to me, and it's so hard to fathom living somewhere where such a vocal crowd can not only yell these things but somehow have the political clout to have people listen. I hope that all those in America that have ini the past been ambivalent about the NRA"/bearing arms" stand up now and make those babies count. Much love to you and yours.

    1. I hear Australia's assault weapon ban worked quite nicely. Nobody cares about that here, though, and I recently heard an NRA spokesman claiming the crime rate went UP in Australia after those guns were banned.

      It's incredible what some people believe, even when facts point to the opposite. We're very good at paranoia and fear-mongering over here!

      I hope we make those kids' lives count, too. Cross fingers.

  13. I agree with Bill, above. I remember when then-California governor Ronald Reagan shut down California's mental institutions as a budget-cutting move. He effectively moved the crazies right out onto the streets...where they live today. If a society cannot manage mental illness (which is the case), then they MUST provide a place to lockup the insane. All that exists right now are ephemeral measures: you take the crazy/suicidal/deranged person to the ER, where they find him/her a bed for possibly 48 hours. Drug and release. Over and over and over again.

    Even if Adam Lanza's mother had tried to put her kid in a psych lockup (and we can't know if she ever did); he would not have stayed more than 48 hours.

    At least in France we can lock 'em up.

    1. Agreed, but there are countries, such as England, as pointed out by a friend who lives there, where access for mental health treatment is also lacking but you don't see crimes such as this because unstable people don't have easy access to guns.

      Lots of mentally ill people suffering in many countries but we're the only one who've come to expect a mass shooting every couple months or so.

  14. I couldn't disagree more. I am a mother of two children, for the record.

    The right to bear arms is our right as American citizens. This is something that is documented in our country's constitution.

    Because a handful of people decide to do something so tragic and sick does NOT mean that the entire country should have to pay for it and have current weapons retrieved.

    Think about it. You only hear about something like the elementary school shooting once in a while.
    But I feel quite confident that there are enough situations that occur on a DAILY BASIS where people who are your average American citizen (not mentally insane) has a situation where their gun can assist them (rapes, robberies, violence/attacks). It's a LOT of things that happen in the world that does NOT receive news coverage where someone has to use a weapon for a legitimate reason. I am not sure of where you've been or what you've been through in your life, but I have seen/heard of situations countless times.

    I am also not sure of how closely you or your Blog followers have been paying attention (and I am not talking about what they choose to cover on CNN or your local news station) to what's actually going on to this country. Every time I turn around, the president or someone in politics are speaking about some Bill that is STRIPPING AWAY AMERICANS RIGHTS.

    That's what's happening.

    The Patriot Act
    NDAA Act- where American citizens can be detained indefinitely on U.S. soil without a trial...IN THEIR OWN COUNTRY!
    TSA with all that they do.
    They have also been trying for quite a while to pass a bill/law where the U.S. government can obtain your personal information/records/billing info. a.k.a. whatever the hell they want from a company if they 'have reason to believe you are a threat to homeland security'. Give me a fucking break.

    And NOW...they want to ban assault guns. I don't know how much knowledge you ACTUALLY have about guns. And to be quite frank, I am not a Gun Know-It-All, but having common sense, I know that assault guns are pretty much all guns. It covers a HUGEEEE amount of available guns that the average American has. It's basically handguns.

    So, if they enforce a ban on handguns, then what? Of course, they will get them from the crazies. But what about the 36 year old husband/father who has a doctorate degree, is a homeowner, and is responsible who happens to own a handgun? Because there is a ban on guns, he is no longer allowed to have it, right? His right to possess it has been stripped away from him, correct? Being that he already has this gun, like millions of other gun-registered citizens, he has two options:

    1. Turn in his gun to the Government


    2. They will come and take it from him.

    THAT makes absolutely no sense to me. And it really upsets me to see Americans continuing to follow behind EVERYTHING the government says like a pack of sheep. Be your own person. Do you own research. And truly understand what is happening to this county. We are truly on our way to martial law.

    I really hope you don't decide to reject my comment just because I am the only one who disagrees.

  15. Hi Anonymous. No one's going to take away all your your guns, it will never happen in this country, so chill.

    I want strict licensing, mandatory background checks, waiting periods alongside banning the most dangerous -- the military-style assault weapon (handguns are not assault rifles, big difference, you're mistaken in lumping them together). I would think responsible gun owners would be the biggest advocates for such basic safeguards.

    The government has thus far done little to nothing about gun control, so I'm not sure who the "sheep" are you're referring to? The current action taken by the President to address gun violence is a result of a groundswell, a large number of American citizens who are no longer OK with the "nothin' we can do!" stance and want something to be done. It's the people insisting on change from their elected leaders -- looks like democracy to me.

    You seem to be insinuating these kinds of things (an execution of a first-grade class) are just the price to pay for your right to bear arms. I disagree. It's not what the forefathers intended, and those kids had rights, too.

    As for, "they only happen once in awhile" (which struck me as a very cold statement) I'll offer this -- the fact it happened even once and nothing changed is a sign of a cultural malady. And yet it happens time and time again here in the U.S. of A. Any solutions in mind?

    I have no problem publishing your comment. As long as it's not abusive, I'm OK with publishing just about anything someone has to say on here. I don't expect everybody to agree with me but I sure wish they would.