The moment I learned of the Sandy Hook shooting, my life as a mother changed. I no longer assumed that my kids would be relatively safe at school. As each subsequent school shooting occurred, my increase and attention to the risk and threat of gun violence elevated to daily thoughts and conscious awareness… fear, ultimately, that the call from a school number, or my child during a school day, could mean my child had been the victim of a school shooting.
Five years ago, my 12-year-old cousin was unintentionally shot and killed by his same-age friend. From that day forward, my hyper-vigilance about the risk of gun violence my children might face, even in the comforts and safety of a friend’s home, became real. From that day forward, attention to gun violence, and action toward the prevention of, is a daily occurrence. I talk about it daily with friends and loved ones. I ask other parents about the presence of guns in their home and safety and storage practices.
The thought of the risk of gun violence is a daily presence for me…for better or worse. I do not take my life or that of my children for granted. Their safety and well-being is not a given in the world we live in.