My nine year-old’s teacher talked about the shooting in Las Vegas to her students, because her sister in-law nearly took her family to that concert and spent hours on lock down in the hotel as it happened.
This prompted a car ride conversation later in the day about American mass shootings. It’s the first time my wife and I have discussed one of these incidents with her rather than whispering to one another about it while she’s in the next room. We were delicate. We don’t want her to fear for her safety at school, at the park, at church, so we left out specifics.
She’s smart, though. She’s done lock down drills at both schools she’s attended. She heard the reference to “Sandy Hook Elementary School” in the episode of On The Media I had on while cleaning the kitchen after dinner.
Yet she’s not afraid. She’s angry.
The uninformed anger of a child at a complex political issue most adults don’t fully understand is easily sentimentalized or dismissed. Still I note how outrageous it seems to a nine year-old that the law does not prevent American citizens from purchasing machine guns and that you’re not supposed to talk about changing those laws right after one of those citizens kills a bunch of people with them.
I’m noting her anger. I’m listening. The politics of guns in this country endangers her as much as any grown up, and I am certain she understands that perfectly clearly. And she’s pissed.