My great uncles on my mother’s side were small time crooks who used guns to rob the local armory. My father adopted the attitude that guns were manly and virtuous — if used correctly (I grew up with a loaded gun in the house). So after adopting my brother Larry, he took his new son to his own father for shooting lessons. That lesson stuck. And though my biggest brother was a gentle soul, he enlisted right out of Berkeley High — and became not just a solider, but a “manly” paratrooper parachuting into the jungle with the components of Browning machine gun strapped to his chest — before anyone really knew what Vietnam was about.
My biggest brother was one year younger than I am now when he died. He actually lived what the movies Forest Gump and Hacksaw ridge portrayed. Especially since he reached a point when he refused to carry a gun anymore — though he was still sent out into combat…with just a radio. Clearly, he would not have taught his child how to shoot, if he’d had a child, if he’d not been mentally and emotionally destroyed by the legacy and attitude of gun-culture Check out the latest excerpts from my book to read more about Larry.
How many other kids that you see every day have guns in their homes, are being taught to shoot by father, brothers, gang-mates? One of my 5th grade students, who arrived late after being kicked out of another class, brought to school a broken gun that was sitting unused in a closet at his home. He covertly showed it to a select few others on the playground, nevertheless the twitter of excitement finally reached me. I had to report it. He was a Black child. He was expelled from school. He may have ended up bored and angry with a working gun at some point.
This is a public health crisis. These deaths are preventable. Most parents bring a gun into the home legally with no intent of doing harm. Many think they’re doing their family a service by offering protection. Yet it is these guns that cause the majority of gun deaths and injuries. A gun in the home is a significant risk factor for homicide, suicide, and unintentional shootings.
That quote is from the Brady Center report based on 2014 data. Think about how you can interrupt gun-culture. More ideas are available the full Report The Truth About Kids and Guns