I worked in the news industry for more than a decade so I’ve learned which stories to ignore.
What I mean by that is I’ve learned which stories will cause me great pain and so I kind of shut my ears to the details, only learning as much about each story as was necessary to get by in my job as executive producer at a Fox affiliate in Salt Lake City. Sometimes that required me to read case files, to learn the horrifying details of each case and sometimes I could kind of float by, avoiding the horribleness of real life and still do my job.
One of the huge positives about writing for Babble is that I get to pick and choose the stories I write about. If the details of a particular news item are too difficult for me to deal with I choose another story to write about. It was in this way that I got to avoid reading the details about the Florida teen who was shot by a neighbor in the name of some Neighborhood Watch program.
I chose not to read about an innocent teen getting gunned down by an overzealous man playing cops and robbers. A teen who was headed home from the store after buying a pack of Skittles. A teen who was harmlessly talking to his girlfriend on his cell phone. A teen who screamed out for help moments before a bullet ripped through his young flesh and killed him.
I chose not to read because it would cause me pain. But really that’s just selfish, isn’t it. What about 17-year-old Trayvon Martin’s family? What about their pain? Don’t I owe it to Trayvon’s legacy, to humanity, to my children (who I plan to teach that handguns are evil) to learn the details of this senseless shooting? I don’t know. What I do know is that my brilliant husband did an excellent job articulating exactly how I feel and I wanted to share his post over on Babble’s Dadding with you:
What about the gun thing in the United States of America? Are millions and millions of handguns actually protecting us against terrorism, crime, and invasion? Or do we use these threats” as an excuse to arm ourselves to the teeth.
Do handguns save us? Can we ever prove it?
One thing is certain. And can be proven. Each year, tens of thousands of young children and law enforcement officers and domestic abuse victims and night-shift clerks and nightclub revelers and high school students and many many more are all shot in the face or the heart; bullets sent tearing through their veins and their muscles and their dreams and their ideas; hot hunks of handgun lead ruining honest decent families for a lifetime to come: because someone decided that it was time for them to die.
Then they went to the store/proved that they hadn’t shot anyone before/paid their money/got their gun/and opened the gates of hell.
Random senseless gun violence has become so common that the constant news of it mostly just flows by us. In the evening/in the morning, wafting over us in the distant white noise of baseball scores and forecast highs and politicians talking talking talking until the bullets all just ooze away into the thick melted ice cream soup of yesterday.
I know there are way more questions than answers when it comes to handguns and freedom and the Founding Fathers and Neighborhood Watch time bombs out on our sidewalks in the cool dark night. I know that.
But why is just asking them considered so taboo? Who is protecting our God-given right to kill each other, to shoot down lads out eating some candy/talking to girls on the phone.
If you’d like to read Trayvon Martin: A Dad Asks Some Questions you can find it by clicking here.