Saturday morning I found myself staring across a field of grass, blinded by the early morning sun, and chilled by a crisp Wisconsin fall breeze. I watched as my 8 year-old nephew played football with a few dozen other children, their families filled the stands to cheer on the little ones they love. The kids smiled and giggled, and my nephew danced around on the field like the ham he is. The boys on the field pushed each other around while laughing, all of them far too young to understand what happened last week, too young to grasp the fact that an insane, depraved madman walked into a college and took the lives of innocent men and women. No, the children on the field are too innocent to face such horrors, to sit with hands ringing watching the news unfold. They’re all too wide-eyed and full of hope to know what happened in Sandy Hook, or to hear of the children who begged for their lives in Columbine. They’re too raw in nature to hear the gruesome details, or be privy to the idea that there are individuals in this world who, given the opportunity, would take their lives.
Saturday morning my nephew obliviously enjoyed his football game, but on Saturday morning I scanned the faces of all who entered the stands. I watched the fences, the cars, and the entrance and exit points to the field. I pondered what I would do to protect myself and my nephew if someone came with the intent to harm. Would it be better for him to run, for me to run, would they have the mercy to look in his bright eyes and end their hatred? Would they target the children, or target the parents in the stands, forever damaging the innocent minds watching? I scanned, I pondered, I feared. I feared for him, I feared for myself, and I sat in this uncomfortable chill wondering if the madman of my nightmares would bother to leave his gun neatly tucked away in a safe as I had done that very morning. I had run to the grocery store, returned home, and put my Bersa Thunder in the safe, neatly tucked away in my closet before taking my nephew for his football game in a gun-free zone.
While I know the stats and understand that crimes of such magnitude are not on the rise, and that technological advancements have just made us more aware, the news from last week was fresh in my mind. I also know that the gun-free zone I was sitting in with the most precious cargo was statistically more likely to be a target than the theater I took him to later that day, a theater that allows me to protect myself and the innocent lives in tow. I know that the odds of being involved in a mass shooting are low, but I also know that the families burying their loved ones this week never thought they would be on the side of the odds they’re on.
Later that evening I was scrolling through Twitter and saw that many were attacking you – and guns in general – for the Oregon shooting. I found them blaming you for the actions of a maniac, apparently he would have stayed home and lived out a peaceful life if the NRA didn’t exist? They make it sound as though you put the gun in his hands and pushed him through the doors of that college. I heard a speech by the President, in which he insinuated that organizations like yourself are to blame. I watched journalist after journalist and commentator after commentator demand an apology from you – and from your members – ad nauseam. Their anger was not poured into the actions of a madman, but rather into the actions of the National Rifle Association.
“Therefore the NRA should take its rightful place on the State Department list of terrorist organizations, because its influence is more of an immediate threat to the lives of our citizens than foreign terrorists.”
Since you are under attack by the narrative driven politicians and the sycophants who march against people like me – people like my innocent nephew – I felt the need to speak out. I fear them, NRA. I fear what kind of influence they will have on the people of this nation, I fear the number of people who believe their blatant lies and hypocrisy. I fear for the lives of those who enter gun-free zones daily, for the woman that scans the dark parking lot to see if it’s safe to walk to her car, the couple who live in a high crime area who have been taught to fear protection, and I fear for the mothers and fathers who think a sign will keep their children safe.