I named my gun Roxy after the chick on ”Army Wives” who I thought was spunky. I’m not your typical gun owner — in fact, according to a Gallup survey, I fall in the least likely demographic to own a gun: I’m a woman, under 34 years old, a college graduate, I live on the east coast, and I am a Democrat. But I do. And Roxy is big.
I was raised in an upper-middle class suburban neighborhood in Santa Cruz, California, a town known for liberal politics, surfers, lackadaisical laws on marijuana, and hippies. We were lapsed-Protestant, my mom was a surgical nurse, my dad worked in real estate, and my brother, four years my junior, followed me around, LEGOs in hand. My childhood was normal. I read Seventeen and Sassy, not Guns & Ammo, and I was never particularly interested in playing cops and robbers. I preferred Barbies.
At 19, I began volunteering with the Sheriff’s Office at a service center where I did community outreach, took cold police reports with no suspect information, and drank coffee with deputies. Our coffee sessions eventually lead to shooting range outings, where they taught me to use a handgun. I learned and practiced on a .22 (a small caliber), and worked my way up to a 9mm. Keep reading »
Just over a month after the devastating shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary, the school’s choir has joined forces with singer-songwriter Ingrid Michaelson to record a touching version of “Somewhere Over The Rainbow.” The song, available for download here, is a touching tribute to the people who lost their lives and the families who grieve them, with proceeds benefiting the Newtown Youth Academy and United Way of Western Connecticut. Check out some behind-the-scenes footage from the recording session in this sweet video. [Rolling Stone]
As our entire nation follows the story of a senseless massacre in Connecticut, people are weighing in with their opinions. We don’t have all of the facts straight yet, but the media and government officials are already pointing fingers at each other, at the NRA, at violent video games, at “not allowing God in our schools,” and at a myriad other reasons. We’re all asking one question — a question for which we will most likely never have a full formed answer: why?
You’re probably wondering why my thoughts on this question have any merit. I’m not a newscaster, a government official, someone linked to the tragedy or an expert on violence. Why should I have any say in the matter?
The only reason I can give you is that my high school suffered a violent attack — but one with incredibly different consequences. The difference between what I experienced and what happened yesterday raises important points in the ongoing discussion of what went wrong. Keep reading »
“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’ To this day, especially in times of ‘disaster,’ I remember my mother’s words and I am always comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpers – so many caring people in this world.” –Fred Rogers
This quote has been a constant presence on Facebook and Twitter and Tumblr the past few days. Every time I read it, I feel myself exhale, slowly and cautiously, and in that moment I realize I’ve been holding my breath ever since the first terrifying details started spilling out of Newtown, CT.
Twenty children and six teachers were murdered at school on Friday. Three days before that, a masked man walked into a mall a few miles from my house and murdered two people. I have no idea how to process that reality. I think of the victims, and I am overwhelmed with grief. I can hardly bear to think of the pain and fear they experienced in their last moments on Earth, and worse, how they were robbed of the chance to live. I think of the killers, and I am overwhelmed with anger–sadness, too, but mostly anger. I think about the cultural factors that contribute to tragedies like this, and I am overwhelmed with frustration and hopelessness.
Then, with a gentle nudge from Mr. Rogers, I think of you, the helpers, and I am overwhelmed with gratitude. Keep reading »