When it comes to gun control, people have a lot of conflicting feelings and ideas, but one thing we can all agree on is that incidents of gun violence in the U.S. are escalating out of control. Nothing demonstrates that point better than one mom’s viral photo of her three-year-old showing off what she learned during a preschool lockdown drill.
Stacey Wehrman Feeley of Traverse City, Michigan, recently shared a photo of her toddler standing on top of a toilet seat in their bathroom. “Initially I thought it was funny. I was going to send it to my husband to show what our mischievous little three-year-old was up to,” she wrote.
Then she realized what her daughter was actually doing.
“The moment she told me what she was doing I broke down,” recalled Feeley. “She was practicing for a lockdown drill at her preschool and what you should do if you are stuck in a bathroom. At that moment all innocense of what I thought my three-year-old possessed was gone. [sic]”
Feeley went on to say that while “no one thinks gun control will be 100% crime control” and “wiping out the right to bear arms is not on the table,” we have to be able to at least find some sort of compromise so we can fix this.
“Why on earth are there not universal background checks? Where is a universal registration database?” she asked. “Why are high capacity magazines ever permitted to be sold to anyone other than direct to the military?… What about smart guns, where are they?… NRA, are you even trying? Let’s talk mental health… Where is the access to care for those struggling with mental illness?”
As Feeley rightly pointed out, “banning together, signing petitions, and rallying to get your voice heard is good,” but it’s not enough. We need leaders to take action. We need swift and meaningful change to take place, because the threat of gun violence is quickly becoming a part of our kids’ daily lives.
Many public schools in the U.S. now hold some kind of lockdown drill throughout the year, and apparently many preschools do, as well. Just in having a conversation about this mom’s post within our office, we discovered three of us have preschool kids who participate in these drills. My four-year-old explained to me that hers are called “code red practice.” When I asked her why they do it, she said, “I don’t know, but they make us go in the boy’s bathroom and sit on the floor. Ewww.”
These are our babies — so small and innocent they don’t even comprehend the threat they’re being taught to avoid, yet we have to teach them to run and hide, to crouch down on a dirty floor or balance on their toes like frightened ballerinas and try to stay quiet, because we can’t get our shit together and do something about our gun problem. Is this really our new normal? Because, if it is, we have failed our kids on every level, and we have to do better.
As Feeley put it, “Politicians – take a look. This is your child, your children, your grandchildren, your great grand children and future generations to come… They are barely 3 and they will hide in bathroom stalls standing on top of toilet seats. I do not know what will be harder for them? Trying to remain quiet for an extended amount of time or trying to keep their balance without letting a foot slip below the stall door?… I am not pretending to have all the answers or even a shred of them, but unless you want your children standing on top of a toilet, we need to do something.”