Sunday, January 11, 2015

That's Not Okay.....

Emily, my youngest daughter, is in the Netherlands!! She is there with a group from school fulfilling her foreign language requirement before graduation. That is the official reason. The unofficial reason is wanderlust and a desire to see the world. They spent the first day in Amsterdam and then on to three weeks at a small Christian college in Ede. She is living in an apartment with 6 Dutch college girls. You can read about her adventures here and here.

And while you are there, read some of the other posts about her life at college, her nannying, her musings on faith. She is the fruit of my womb and I may be partial….but she is a special young women who has an anointing on her life. I am so proud of her!!

In her post, she talks about some of the impressions Dutch students have of Americans….

It has been fun to talk about the differences and assumptions about the other countries. I have concluded that most Dutch students assume that the United States is comprised of New York (meaning the city, completely disregard that it is an entire state), California and Disney World. Which is fair of them because I probably would have assumed that all of The Netherlands is Amsterdam. I also have been asked about 14 times whether I own a gun.

So the general impression of America, at least by this group of students, is that as a country, we are okay with a 21 year old college student owning a gun. And for many Americans that would be perfectly okay. Many Americans are “gun people.” That is how Terry Rutledge, the father in law of Veronica Rutledge, the young mother who was recently shot dead by her two year old son in an Idaho Walmart, described his family. Gun people.

I recently read an opinion piece by Nicole Plyler Fisk another mother whose child could have easily become a statistic, too. She says…..

Veronica’s father-in-law, Terry Rutledge, has expressed anger at those who portray Veronica, who had taken classes and was licensed to carry, “as irresponsible.” In doing so, he misses a key point: it’s not just “irresponsible” gun owners who are ruining and losing lives to gun violence; the “responsible” gun owners are right there with them. When you walk through life with such a lethal weapon on or near you (Terry Rutledge says his son and daughter-in-law “carried one every day of their lives”) you run the inordinate risk of doing harm not only to yourself but also to others. Human beings are not designed to be on alert the way Rutledge-style gun enthusiasts need to be on alert (i.e. never a distracted moment).

And therein lies the rub. At what point does the right to carry a concealed weapon impose on the rights of others? This was a responsible gun owner, a responsible mother, a brilliant scientific researcher and yet, somehow, this woman was shot dead in the electronics department by her toddler. What is especially troublesome is that this could have just as easily been another shopper standing nearby. It could have been me grabbing a new flash drive….or Emily on a late night mascara run to the local Walmart.

And that’s not okay….it’s just not.

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