Monthly Archives: January 2014

Who does America really protect?

Lately I’ve been making it my habit to get back into my 6am gym sessions as while I really don’t like that alarm going off, I do love freeing up the rest of my day & I love the boost of endorphin’s to the system first thing.

Getting home at 7am, knowing I’ve worked out & feeling energized is my prefect start to the day.

One of the other things I love about the gym (other than that I am ALL ALONE) is that I get to watch the news.

I try, most days to skim the headlines of Huff Post, our regional paper in New Zealand or CNN… just to have a vague idea as to what is going on outside my bubble.

But watching it is a great way to distract me from my cardio struggle while gaining a decent coverage of events.

Even if they’re very State-centric.

Of course, Wednesday morning there was yet another school shooting (Roswell, New Mexico) & I wondered to myself – in all honesty –

What the hell are we doing here?

There are no school shootings in New Zealand.

There are very few shootings at all in fact.

Why have we just spent an exorbitant amount of our savings on green cards & as a result we are in fact putting our kids at risk daily in their local school.

Ethan’s school could easily have been Sandy Hook, Newtown.

Anyone can walk into his school at anytime. There are no guards or security checkpoints. No metal detectors. You do have to sign in & grab a “Visitor” sticker when volunteering.

But I doubt an armed gunman would consider this necessary upon entry.

I sometimes wonder – do my friends kids – those in Elementary (Primary school) school in New Zealand – do they practice lock down drills?

Along with fire & earthquake drills – do they all file into the bathroom with their teacher, lock the door & practice being silent because of the “bad guy” in the school?

Do their teachers face the possibility of having to use their own bodies to protect 20-something little ones?

Do their kids say things like “we’re lucky to have a police station so close by in case a bad guy comes into school with a gun”?

We have a choice to raise our kids here & we’re making that choice knowing the risks.

Will I come to regret that choice?

People here in the States are often surprised when I tell them people in New Zealand, ordinary people like us, do not have guns at home. We do not have such options that I am aware of & as far as I know, the path to legally acquiring a gun for the purpose of hunting is stringent in its protocol. You cannot simply purchase one over the counter.

Like candy.

Having a gun for recreational purposes is not heard of (legally that is).

And then when you tell them that even the police don’t carry guns… well, the looks on many faces are priceless.

At the risk of offending those in my community, I have to admit that I cannot wrap my head around the fact that people here see guns as a right & that they are willing to sacrifice others – potentially their own children to uphold that constitutional right.

Is that constitutional right really worth it I wonder…. Could we not just give a little on that one…?

Just to y’know – protect a few children here or there…?

For me, in the context of my upbringing, it is most definitely not worth preserving. However I do try to appreciate we all come from different places, bring different elements to the table & there is much about this nation I have not experienced & do not understand. Thus I have tried to reserve judgement & appreciate the argument of the other side.

However. Wednesday – another shooting.

More lives damaged both physically, emotionally & psychologically.

And the quieter mention of this event also made me wonder – is this “school shooting” phenomena becoming like the phenomena of televised conflict? The images of the Vietnam war, the first true war images available en masse for the public were shocking; horrific; traumatizing; objectionable. Real.

But since then, we’ve been bombarded with images from conflict after conflict – war in the Middle East, genocide in the Balkans, Eastern Europe, Africa. Civil War … well in so many places…. how many of us see them, feel our hearts break a little, then go on to boil some pasta for dinner & pour ourselves a glass of wine?

Are school shootings going to follow the same path – we see another but we have to jet off to soccer, quick lets go, turn off the tv….

The difference I can’t help noticing is that many conflicts we see – recent ones such a Syria for example are horrifying. Horrifying. It is beyond words to see children suffering chemical attacks… We pray that peaceful, strong & moral nations can help defend their human rights.

Help defend & protect those without the resources to do so themselves. The UN – it’s there, maybe unable to do much, but it’s there. There is something happening albeit entirely inefficient.

Bit it’s in Syria.

It is not Newtown. Roswell. Columbine.

So while we can donate, volunteer, petition & support the populace. We cannot actually affect legal & constitutional change by our own votes, through our own chosen representatives.

To protect those that need it & do not have the means to do so themselves. Such as our children.

These contemporary atrocities are not happening in a nation which apparently defends the rights of those who need it. A nation with an apparently democratic, peaceful, legally & morally riotous government that, at it’s very core, functions to protect & promote it’s people.

Isn’t that what America boasts?

Yet 26 children died in Newtown. 26 children who were 6 years old. They didn’t even know yet that Clifford the Dog – the giant, red mutt is not actually real. They still believed Santa actually fits down billions of chimneys in one night. That Nemo is free & happy thanks to Gill.

How is this – “defending” the constitutional right to bare arms; the lack of gun control; allowing the power of the NRA to dominate politicians & so on – how is this, protecting human rights? How is this protecting people?

Gun manufacturers, sellers, owners & those in government who are funded & supported by the NRA are protected.

No one else.

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