Number 2 is about firearms.
Writer John Cheese has worries about his children and firearms.
Now, here's where things really start making me nervous. Every contact my kids have had with guns has been on a fantasy level. Playing Halo and Modern Warfare on the Xbox. Playing with their Nerf guns, which are designed to be shot at humans ... the newest set is comprised of Velcro darts that stick to special T-shirts.
I'm not one of those people who thinks that movies and games turn ordinary people into raging psychopaths, shooting up schools while shouting out the Ten Commandments. But I'm also not ignoring the fact that the only lesson they've had about guns so far is, "Point at a human and pull the trigger to make fun occur."
Sounds like a problem. How does this man confront the issue?
So this year, I went back on my word and got them BB guns for Christmas. Yes, it's not quite the same thing as a 12-gauge shotgun, but it makes me feel a lot better knowing that I can teach them about gun safety without the fear of becoming a newspaper headline.
It's yet another compromise, and you've probably noticed that's pretty much the running theme of this article.
Depending on the ages of his sons the BB gun makes perfect sense. And once they learn and grow maybe a shotgun would become appropriate. But the key is again teaching gun safety. So that when his sons are with friends, or when they're older they'll know how to use a firearm safely.
My point is, I think every single person reading this has a similar story. Yep, violence is bad. Nonviolence is awesome. But you want to tell me that there's never a time to fight? Bullshit.
The first time my own kids encountered a bully, I had to sit down with them and tell them as honestly as I could that they should never go out starting fights or specifically looking for one. But if they found themselves in a situation where nobody could help, they wouldn't be in trouble with me or their mom if they had to throw punches in order to protect themselves.
No, it's not always the best solution. But, standing there and taking punches while nobody comes to your rescue is the quickest way to tell a bully, "You can do this to me anytime you want. I'm easy prey."
And that lesson doesn't stop when you become and adult.
And then there's this bit at the start.
So, when Clusterfuck approaches them, what are they supposed to do? It's really goddamned easy for me to tell my kids, "Just say that you don't want to be friends any more." Sure. Have you ever done that? Looked somebody right in the eyes and said, "I can't talk to you because a third party has determined that you're a bad person."
Okay, now imagine being a ten year old boy and not only having to say that, but also having to explain to your group of mutual friends that either Clusterfuck goes, or he goes.
At least as parents they're in an authority figure. It's far harder when a peer pulls rank with a mutual friend. And it's worse on said mutual friend because they're been placed in a situation of emotional blackmail. Distance and past history also makes it harder, but when someone has proven by his actions to be... unreasonable cutting off contact is the only action.
Though not being in Buffalo made things easier for me in many ways.
But Cheese's ending line is rather poinent on that too.
So yes, kids, sometimes the world is an imperfect place, riddled with assholes. And no, we won't always be there to protect you. If we're not honest about that as parents, what good are we?