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Annie Fox, M.Ed., is an internationally respected parenting expert, award-winning author, and a trusted online adviser for tweens and teens.

NRA, come get me!

December 15, 2012

We have the right to be safe

There’s nothing more “right” than a child’s right to go to school in the morning and learn to read so she can open wide the windows in her mind and dream about the world and her place in it.

All children have the right to be loved and encouraged by their parents and teachers.

All children also have the right to be accepted by their peers, to play, and to come home safely to be with their family in the evening. And yes, all children have the right to sweet dreams. Sweet dreams are exactly right for children.

But last night, no parent who knew about Sandy Hook had sweet dreams. Not likely many children did either.

Something very wrong happened again. It’s been happening in America for a long time. It’s always hard to take it in, but we are experts at distracting ourselves. If it didn’t happen in our family, in our community… we forget.

It’s getting harder to forget.

But, as a nation, we are way past tongue-clucking, “what-a-tragedy” small talk. It’s absurd to pretend otherwise. It’s not as if we have no clue how to fix the problem. We know what to do to make it much less likely that another one of these will happen again. Does anyone really need to spell it out? OK. I’ll do it:

We have to do a better job identifying and reaching out to the troubled people amongst us (kids, teens, adults) and get them the professional help they need so they can feel “a part of” rather than “apart from” the rest of life. The rest of us will be safer.

We also need to reasonably restrict access to guns. There. I’ve said the four-letter word. Let the NRA come get me. I’ve got no gun here, so I’ll be an easy target. But please don’t bother posting comments about 2nd amendment rights. No hunter needs an assault weapon to shoot a target or a rabbit. Only a hunter of people needs an assault weapon. He has no license to kill so I don’t give a good goddamn about his rights.

I care only about the rights of children and the parents and teachers who love them. For those of you at a loss for the words to talk with your children about this tragedy, here is an excellent resource from the National Center for School Crisis and Bereavement. (The fact that we even have such a place tell a lot about our current culture.)

Now please, email your Congressional representatives today and urge them to reinstate the federal Assault Weapons Ban.

Sign this petition from Mayors Against Illegal Guns. Or this pledge to take action for common sense gun legislation. Heck, sign every online petition on this issue. We have the collective power to do the right thing. ‘Bout time we got together and used it.



  1. No words can possibly be said to explain the shock and devistation every time we see this on the news. These precious children taken in such a gruesome and shocking way. Forever changing the hearts and spirits of the surviving children who witnessed such horrors and who’s families have been shattered forever.
    I live in Canada. We’ve had our horrors as well…but it seems to be be spinning out of control in the US.
    What is it going to take…my 8 year old daughter heard about this elementary school in CT. I was at a loss trying to explain this to her…how do you explain the unexplainable.
    I pray these children will live on in the change they and all the other people who have been murdered by guns will make in gun control in the United States.

    Comment by Shawna — December 15, 2012 @ 3:27 pm

  2. I am with you, Shawna. I too believe that all the lost lives of the innocent victims will contribute to the solution to this madness. Hopefully, the pendulum has swung as far as it is going to swing in the direction of this insanity. Now, we the people, must speak up for laws that will defend our right to live out our lives, free from gun-violence.

    Comment by Annie — December 15, 2012 @ 5:56 pm

  3. While I agree that there is no reason for people to legally be able to get assault weapons, I think the problem is much larger than simply banning guns. There is always another weapon of choice. We need to determine how we can truly stop people from committing senseless, cowardly acts of violence especially against our innocent youth. Sadly, I don’t know what that answer is. I think getting people the help they need will most certainly help if they will only help themselves in the process. But maybe, we also need to stop glamorizing the life of the killers. Do we remember the names of the slain? I live in Denver and was living here during Columbine, but even I couldn’t tell you all of the names of the victims now. The victims are the ones who should be glamorized. They are the ones worthy of rememberance and honor, as well as the heroes who tried to help.

    Comment by Michelle — December 17, 2012 @ 2:37 pm

  4. Hi Michelle, Thank you for posting this thoughtful comment. Gun violence… heck any extreme act of violence by one individual against a defenseless victim is a complex issue for civilized societies to address. And yes, I agree with you, the “glamorization” of mass murderers certainly doesn’t contribute to any solution. I am cautiously optimistic that this latest tragedy in Newtown will lead to a meaningful national dialogue and some meaningful answers. It seems as if that is already happening. For that I am encouraged.

    Comment by Annie — December 17, 2012 @ 3:20 pm

  5. There is so much to say about this horrible situation we have found ourselves in. Bottom line, I agree with you. We need to take care of business at home. Watch out for each other. Care enough that if someone’s in need, find someone who can help them. And…we need to stop spending our nation’s money overseas to stop getting involved in conflicts that aren’t our own! P.S.: I’ve written two articles about this here >>, in case you care to have a look. Peace to you and your family this Holiday Season!

    Comment by Sidney Peck — December 19, 2012 @ 3:04 pm

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