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Ignorance, kids, guns and Us
1 (a madar)
Worth passing on...
>From Where I Stand: A Teenager's Voice from Inside the Culture of Death. ...
Society breaks down, from one big metaphoric "family" into 50 metaphoric "families" and so on and so on, until you have the actual FAMILY, the one with the parents and the kids and the dog. It is not one thing or two things; it is the attitude of an entire "familiar" nation being reflected back at us in the kids. Just as that anchorman suggested, something was different about the 1950's. WE WERE CONSERVATIVE. We had boundaries; we had a definite knowledge of right and wrong throughout the entire nation.
We didn't have feminists pushing women so hard to go get a job that a woman who didn't have a job was somehow "bad," thereby leaving kids at home with inadequate parental guidance and often times with parents who were truly unhappy. We didn't have liberals fighting so avidly to legalize everything that it was at the point of completely blurring the line between good and bad. We didn't have a nationwide media surge dedicated to sex and violence so intense that if you weren't playing killing video games at age 14, then you were trying to choose between contraceptives beforehand or abortion afterwards. We didn't have disputes over whether or not we should help someone who is dying die sooner-over whether or not we should ASSIST them in committing SUICIDE. And we certainly didn't have a President who was in favor of NATO bombing and killing children in Serbia come on the television to grieve the loss for the families of children killed in America. We live in a loosely tied society, a culture dedicated to death. If you don't want the kid, kill it. If you don't want to live out the rest of your God-given days, kill yourself. Or better yet, have someone else come help you do it. I guess, no matter how horrible or gruesome or gut-wrenching it may be, it was just a matter of time before someone got that "killing-as-a-means-to-an-end" idea stuck in their head for the part between birth and death as well. Everything that happens in families and cities and states and countries is the mirror image of the big picture.
2 (a mother)
That is a letter by a very frightened teenager who wants desperately to feel secure. I think he should stop watching the news and read some history books. He might find that life was, in reality, not less violent in the 1950s in this country and that violence in every part of the world, whether now or centuries ago, has not changed in this matter. He is a victim of his own fears and of the narrow-mindedness that comes with getting all your information from a few sources. What happened in Littleton was terrible; what happened in WWII was terrible, what happened in the Armenian massacres was terrible, in the Iranian Revolution, in the Mongol invasions, in the backstreets of the South, in the American Civil War, in Afghanistan, etc. etc. etc. Life, always, has been dangerous. What is this arrogant fascination we Americans have with utopia? As if we deserve it. As if we're a different part of the human race. I say our biggest problem is ignorance. Let's not pass it on to our children.
3 (a mother)
I must agree. This same fascination is what buoys our need for amusement parks with pseudo-thrills of impending danger and video games that feed a morbid preoocupation with war.
This morning, the radio news announced the unveiling of a new video game which teaches the best time to kill a policeman, methods of assault and more. I believe it is mothers who will make the difference. Mothers who will say :"No, that gun will NOT be brought into our home."
"No, you may not have that game." and..
"No, my son will not be sent to war."
Ignorance IS the enemy.
Did you know:
16,000 new guns are made each and every day in the U.S?
Each gun has a shelf life of 400 years?
Teens with a gun in their home are twice as likely to die of gunshot wounds?
More homes have guns than dogs?
A gun in a home is 40 times more likely to be shot at a family member or
acquaintance than a stranger?
More women with guns in their homes die of gunshot wounds than any other cause?
We MUST think globally and act locally.
What does "the right to bear arms" mean? Why should that be a RIGHT?
What exactly is a SMART bomb?
Bombing for peace makes as much since as screwing for virginity, and yet, we continue our "peace efforts".
How can we ever teach our children not to hit, if we can't even take a stance on guns, violence and international aggressions?
Yes, ignorance is the problem, and we are the solution. Each of us and all of us as a collective whole.
Please visit www.gunfreekids.org to find out what you can do and inform yourself on impending legislation.
4 (a pedar)
How about Fathers? Why Only Mothers?
5 (a mother #3)
Very simple. Statstics show, it is most always the father who brings the gun into the home (for protection). Mothers don't usually feel the need to arm themselves with weoponry. Sorry, this is not a share and share alike situation.
6 (a pedaar #4)
Playing with "statistic" provide a nice way out of responsibility. In parenting there is nothing that can't be shared!, unless we decide to tune out our partner, or take a resign! position.
Do what's best for you.
7 (a mother)
Dear pedar #4,
Thank you. Thank you for reminding us mothers that we are not all what the kids have and try to always make everything ourselves and "let" our husbands to take the role they ought to play in our kids lives.
It's indeed -as a 50/50 relationship of marriage- a mother's and a father's responsibility to MAKE A DIFFERENCE in our children's lives. And of course, that the kids might prefer to sometimes approach one of the parents, it's a different story. But that spouse has to reinforce them with lots of love that both are the parents and both care about him/her equally (just in case the other partner doesn't "express" it that much).
And it's both parents responsibility to LISTEN to what our own children have in their minds and sometimes is not bad to hear/listen/read/see what other kids have in their minds, to don't blind us in our own world. After all, you know, when we are home, at work or not with our kids, they see what happens around them, by themselves (are we sure we know what they see/hear/talk?).
If we say to the kids to care about others (which doesn't necessarily only means ourselves, families and other relatives or own communities) why to rush to our congregation (church, mosque, synagogue, family gathering) and push in our way there, the neighbour that needed our help but that we didn't realize is the same we are talking/listening/ reading about. How do we expect to be treated with respect by others if we don't show respect for others.
How will our children interpret what we tell them but do different. How can we tell our kids to care and respect when we don't even care about someone that's trying to express his/her feelings.
Teenagehood is one of the most transitional times in our lives and probably the one that can change anyone's life. And let me tell you that scares me just the thought when my kids hit that age. We try to prepare ourselves, prepare them, let them talk, etc. etc. etc.
But neither ignoring what's happening around nor following what everyone does is the solution. What can "make a difference" in the kids would be how much we at that time (always but very intensively in their teenage years, which is more critical) show them we care about them and their world, their ideas, their goals, their friends, yes!, their friends. Don't we tell them to respect our friends and our guests when they are there. Don't we all appreciate some "consideration" to ourselves and our things. I believe that as long as you use the right words you can ask/tell whatever you want, EVERYONE HAS THE RIGHT TO EXPRESS THEIR FEELINGS. If we share the tought or not, it's our own choice.
I don't think that trying to create a "safety environment" and believing in doing good to each other would be an impossible thing to do. We can all make a difference in our own families, our own communities, our lives if we start doing what we would like this world could be for our own children and their future, without waiting for it to happen.
If we all put ourselves in our children's shoes, but counting on the "wisdom" our years in this life have given us (or more maturity if you don't like the term I used), we could be always ahead of the kids when an issue is brought up to give them our understanding, unconditional love and respect while dealing with each of their issues, hands-on right there, at the right time.
7 (a mother #3)
I think you're confusing issues. No one is using statistics as a way of not accepting responsibility, or denying that ideally, parenting should be a shared experience. What has been said and remains factual, is that almost exclusively, it is the man who brings the gun home. And, yes, you should always do what is best for you, but, not, I believe, at the expense of your family, but, with all your welfare in mind.
Please send your replies and/or opinions regarding this subject to madar-pedar@surya.eecs.berkeley.edu.

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