My mom died this month last year. This will be my first Mother’s Day without her.
When I was a little Vulcan going off to school my mother’s last words were always, “Watch out for the cars!” I could see cars and avoid them if I was watching and paying attention.
I wonder what the last words Sybrina Fulton said to Travyon? What could she have said? “Watch out for concealed weapons?”
Below is a video message from Trayvon Martin’s mother urging people to contact their governor to re-examine laws similar to Florida’s “Kill at Will” laws (which the NRA calls “Stand your Ground” laws). The video was put out by my friends at the Second Chance Campaign.
The effort is to re-examine the laws. But I also would like to think that this is a chance to re-examining our attitudes. Think about how attitudes toward drunk driving changed following Mothers Against Drunk Driving Campaign? Or how the attitudes toward smoking have changed? They both faced huge societal barriers as well as entrenched economic interests. But they did change.
I’ve been thinking about what it would take to change attitudes and then to change laws. Often I think after the most recent mass shooting that surely THIS event would be the tipping point for attitudes to change. Yet powerful forces push the fear button hard to stop any change, even a return laws that were accepted and that didn’t need an expansion. (The castle doctrine is long established and worked fine, it’s the new “Kill at Will” laws that effectively turn an entire state into your castle. But it’s my state too and my rights to Life and Liberty and Pursuit of Happiness outside of my home need to count too.)
Speaking of attitudes that make responsible gun owners look like jerks, check out the Trayvon Martin targets for shooting practice.. “Be sure to hit the center of mass because you don’t want him survivin’ to tell his side of the story.” Here
I often read about gun enthusiasts and how they can be mobilized at a moment’s notice on social media, phone calls and letters to support their views. I wondered, what is the equivalent on my side? It’s not just people against something, we are also FOR something. What is that? Public safety? Life?
Perhaps we are developing, “public safety enthusiasts.” We are composed of people who have been impacted by gun violence, but other kinds of laws that make us unsafe too. That way when we are accused of wanted to ban all guns, with the standard comeback “The gun is just a tool, what if there is a car accident, do you want to ban all cars?” we can respond, “We are for the safe use of all tools by the people operating them. We are for laws that makes everyone safer, not just one at the expense of others. Are you for the unsafe use of your tools? Are you for laws that make everyone unsafe? And if you are for the unsafe use of your tools and for laws where more people are unsafe, then you are outside of the norm for the majority of gun enthusiasts.”
I have two good friends who are gun enthusiasts. They are for the safe use of their tools. They are for laws that make everyone safer.The disdain that I see from them toward people who are unsafe and untrained with any tool is very strong. When it comes to a tool that can deliver rapid death at a distance they are even more concerned for safety and training.
When I suggest that we fix laws to raise the bar on safety training and handling for getting CCW permits they are all for it. They have seen people who have no business carrying guns get permits in a state with weak requirements and then bring it to their state where they have to spend time and effort to train. It’s unfair to them and their training and the potential for negligent gun incidents goes up as training requirements go down.
They can’t say, “Watch out for these people who got their permits in Florida!” because they can’t see them. But what they can do is take this attitude about lax permit requirements and overly broad laws and translate them to action.
What kind of action? Well the video above is about contacting your governor. When the governor hears from public safety enthusiasts on this they can know they have support for doing things like what New Mexico did on May 1st, which was to only accept CCW from just six other states that meet all of New Mexico’s requirements for reciprocity. Previously they recognized a total of 19 states’ concealed-carry permits.
This mother’s day I will be without my mom, but I’ll still, “Watch out for the cars.” when I go outside of my home.
I can’t know what Sybrina Fulton must be feeling this Sunday, but when I translate my own sense of loss into positive action it helps. Maybe you will do the same.
May many more children Live Long and Prosper,