Saturday, July 21, 2012

Gun Slingin' Neighbors

After two days of much needed rain, the wet grass squished beneath my black running shoes.  The damp smell of mold and wet grass wafted through the air. My plants seemed content as they reached toward the warm sun. They are happy that their feet are wet after too many dry hot days. The trees still sprinkled rain on my hair as they sway in the breeze. A warm summer day was settling in. 

I could hear kids laughing and playing behind the bushes and trees in the next yard. Maybe they were even laughing at me. I wandered along the side of the house toward the front yard with my dogs, Mango and Hershey, on my heels. They were excited by what I might be leading him to. I found my husband wresting with the garbage cans. That was just the excitement they were looking for. It doesn't take much in a dog's world. The smell in the air changed to rotting fruit and spoiled milk. I was relieved that my husband and I had silently agreed early on in our relationship that the garbage is his duty and he graciously handed over the toilet bowl cleaner to me (which I must add, I don't think he EVER used). As I began to speak to him, my neighbor emerged between the arborvitae. She was on a mission to tell me about something that seemed could be life-changing or newsworthy. It wasn't. She declared her disappointment that the boys in the next yard were playing with guns again. Toy guns of course. She says that with all of the horrible events today, why are we still letting our kids play with guns. 

Today, there was  a tragedy in Colorado. A lone gunman went on a shooting spree in a theater of people, young and old, who were innocently enjoying a new movie. I have not heard whether or not they know why he did it or not but 12 victims lost their lives and a total of 70 people were injured in this senseless act of violence. 

Now, quite aware of the events of the day, I am not sure if I meant what I said next or if I just wanted to contradict her point of view out of irritation by her interruption. I said, "Maybe the violence comes from not allowing them them to "play" with guns." What did I just say? It kind of makes sense. I said, "Boys will be boys. They make guns out of whatever they find. Maybe the guy who went on the shooting spree was never allowed to play with guns. Who knows?" (chances are that I am wrong about that.) She started to laugh as she laid her hand on my shoulder declaring at almost the same time as my husband, "You and the Flip Side!" She said, "you want me to look at the Flip Side," she said with a laugh. I like to force myself to see the flip side. I didn't want to bad mouth our friends and their kids for playing with guns so I forced a look at another point of view. Right or wrong. 

We are not a gun family. I don't like them. I don't buy them for my kids. Other family members have bought nerf guns for my kids. I have accepted these types of guns because they don't resemble real ones and when they aren't around, my two boys will make them out of whatever they find. We talk to them about the violence behind them. They actually rarely play guns because they don't relate to them. We have family members who are avid hunters and gun slingers by sport and we discourage our children from participating. We, personally, don't place value on it and it, frankly scares the sh#$ out of me. We are careful what movies they watch and they don't play violent video games if any at all. 

The remarks I made to my neighbor weren't really about about whether guns are good or bad but seeing another way to look at it. Before you make a blanket statement about something, try to see if there could be another way to look at it to change or expand your perspective. 

Sometimes, I think we just want to rant as a form of communication and interaction with our friends and family. That's ok, I suppose as long as it isn't hurtful to others.  

I excused myself as I glanced at my phone realizing I had 15 minutes to pick up my son 17 minutes away. I also realized that my husband disappeared....into thin air (though I can only concentrate on one thing at a time). I said goodbye as she disappeared into the arborvitae. I climbed into my husband's Jeep and I wondered if she was either disappointed at my reaction or inspired by it. Who knows. 

Remember....another point of view makes a better you!

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