My head and heart have been very heavy since this past Friday. I can’t even wrap my head around it. Every time I try to really grasp what this must be like for those directly affected my brain hits an automatic “shut down” before I can dive in too deep. It’s literally unimaginable. My breath escapes me if I for one second imagine what life would be like if someone took Sadie out of my life. Uuuuggghhhh… I can’t even think it… I really can’t.
In light of this tragedy it has me thinking about guns and how I generally dislike everything about them. I get uncomfortable even glancing at a cop that has one in the holster of his belt. I look at it and think… look at this instrument of death, that little thing literally kills people. I shudder at the thought.
Growing up I lived in a house where guns were kept. My father is a Vietnam War Veteran and a Retired New York City Firefighter and kept a collection of guns in our home, my whole life. He is extremely experienced in gun handling and gun safety. And being a father of 3 he always made sure that the guns in our home were responsibly locked away out of reach and furthermore that we, as children, were educated about the dangers of guns. My father’s gun collection was locked up in a gun cabinet in the study of our home, a room that as little children we were rarely in. Our dad explained to us what guns were and what they did. I think it was safe to say that we understood the severity of a firearm even as very young children. He never used them. He wasn’t a hunter, or gun range shooter. They literally were just a collection and on occasion were shown to boys who would come over to take my sister and I out on dates. My dad really knows how to scare a guy into having his daughter home by 10pm.
One weekend day, my sister and I who were both under 10 years old at the time were playing in the study. Our parents had this amazing Encyclopedia collection that must have consisted of 20 or so books. We used to like looking at the anatomy pages and giggle looking at medical drawings of the penis, hehe. Well, somehow between anatomy and dolphins a little shiny silver key fell out onto the carpet. Jamie picked it up and we both looked at it and felt this rush of adrenaline. We just made a huge discovery. A discovery we were never meant to have unturned. We knew what it was, and we knew we weren’t allowed to do it. But the thrill was just too big to ignore. I walked to the door and made sure it was all the way closed so mom wouldn’t walk by and catch a glimpse of what we were about to do. And then Jamie and I stepped in front of the gun cabinet. We stuck the little key in, and turned it. The large heavy door swung open. And there we were looking face to face with handguns, rifles, bullets, a cross bow and a pretty large “crocodile dundee” type knife.
Our hands hovered into the forbidden gun cabinet. But they never made contact. We stopped ourselves before we went too far. We knew it was bad. Not just a bad that would get us in trouble but a bad that could do considerably more damage. We were afraid of these weapons. Even at our young age we understood that very bad things could come of these tools.
We closed up the cabinet, and used the same key to lock it back up and went back to the encyclopedia where we found the key trying to find exactly where it had fell from. But even that still felt so bad. It felt like we were doing something really wrong. So instead, Jamie and I found our mom and told her that we found something. We dropped the tiny little silver key into the palm of her hand and we said sorry. She turned pale as a ghost and immediately understood what we had stumbled upon. It scared the life out of her, just as it had for us.
Needless to say, the key was moved to a location that I never again found. And as the years have gone on the gun collection has dwindled and dwindled down to maybe one or two items. And I believe those have sentimental value of some sort.
My parents were two of the lucky ones. This story could have had an entirely different ending. Even with the most responsible of gun owners sometimes things can go wrong. Here in our household we discussed the topic on if we should or shouldn’t have a gun in the house for “protection.” We both agreed that the possibility of a tragic accident involving the gun occurring is higher than the chance of an armed break in.
And our house feels much safer without a firearm in it.