I’ve never been a big gun control freak, but This week has me down. The college gun violence has come to Indiana. Purdue was on lock-down for a day this week because one student decided to shoot another: motive undetermined so far. 2013 has the distinction of having had the most homicides in Fort Wayne’s history. And there is a woman here who is being more physical in disciplining her child than I would like. I don’t know what to say to her that won’t make the situation worse. The child isn’t crying, so maybe it isn’t as bad as I think – or she is so used to it that this was nothing. Or she knew what awaited her when they got home . . .
Add the Archdiocese of Chicago covering up child molesting for decades – I’m still trying to figure out how that is new – and a representative in Indiana is committee shopping for a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage and civil union. That is today’s front page in a nutshell. It’s no wonder that I was upset to hear a 4 year old receiving even mild abuse.
How should I respond in a situation like that? In the past I have stepped in with a toy or a book for the child to play quietly with while waiting for the parent to finish her errand at the library, but this seemed like a short stop at the copy machine and the parent was paying attention to the child. I spanked my children on rare occasions. I have carried them kicking and screaming out of places because their behavior was not acceptable in public. But I did not hit them around the head. Ever.
Is this the beginning of a child who thinks hitting is OK? Will she grow up defiant or compliant? I’ll never know. I do know that “we don’t hit others” is one of those rules we learn in preschool that should apply to adults as well as children. Why is it OK for an adult to hit a child? Teach the child the world of words. Use words to ask for compliance – to explain what she is doing wrong – to tell him what you want – to tell her you love her – to tell him that God loves him (whatever name you use for God)
If we are going to reduce the violence in our society, we have to start at home. I don’t own a gun and I don’t want to take yours away, but I want to stop the sale of certain types of guns. I don’t feel safe with guns in my possession because I have never learned to use one and I would be dangerous to myself and everyone around me. I would rather we took guns out of our society as they have in European countries: police can’t carry them either. I know criminals will still find a way to get guns, but “You made me angry” might cease to be a reason people get murdered.