To my son and daughter,
This week, my little ones, a very angry man took the lives of 32 innocent young men and women at a university in Virginia. I wish that I could explain why or how something like this could happen but when things like this happen, it’s difficult to pinpoint a reason. Even saying it’s “God’s plan” seems hollow.
What I do know is that as I read about the unfulfilled promise of so many, all I could think about was you. It is times like this that push home the stark reality that I will not always be around to protect you from all the bad, angry people of this world. As hard as I pray and as tightly as I hold on, I know deep down that I cannot be there for you all of the time.
As I read about this tragedy I think of the parents of these victims and how they must feel. How they must feel knowing they will never feel the embrace of their only son or the beautiful smile of their youngest daughter. I cannot imagine the despair and anguish these parents are feeling but I do know that were something to happen to you, life as I know it would end.
As you grow and become more aware of your surroundings my hope is that I can prepare you on how to deal with the bad, angry people you may encounter in your life. I hope to teach you to turn the other cheek when accosted. I hope to teach you that being alive tomorrow is more important than being arrogant today. I hope to teach you to pick your friends wisely.
But none of those lessons would have saved these 32 beautiful people whose only crime was being in the wrong place at the wrong time.
I want you to know something now – and you will learn more about this as you get older, I’m sure. But I feel very strongly that guns are not the answer to a safer society. While I am a proud, patriotic American who understands why our forefathers insisted on the right to bear arms in our constitution, I feel that this “right” has turned very, very wrong.
It is because of the right to bear arms that I worry about you, Monk, being shot and killed by a gang member because you happened to be wearing the wrong color in the wrong neighborhood as happens three or four times a year near where I work. It is because of our right to bear arms that I worry, Swee’Pea, that you could be assaulted in ways no Daddy wants to imagine happening to his daughter.
The old adage is that guns don’t kill people – people kill people. This is a gross simplization of a very complex problem that has been growing for generations. All I know is that this week 32 innocent people died because a crazy person was able to buy a gun in the same way I order flowers for your mother.
Because of this, I want you to understand the impact that guns have on people’s lives. Because of this impact you will never have a toy gun to play with. You will never see me holding a gun. And while there are many good, honest people out there who strongly disagree with me on the subject of gun ownership, I think the risk to our society far outweighs the good.
Anyway, tonight I say a prayer for the families of those whose lives were tragically lost. I also say a prayer for you, my little ones, that you be safe when you are far beyond your father’s grasp. I pray that you never know the horror of what these people had to endure and I pray that the America that your children live in will be a safer and more tolerant place than it is today.
I love you.