Wednesday, February 26, 2014

A heartbreaking question

I was working on my computer when Seconda walked over to David in the kitchen and asked him:

"Daddy, do guns still exist?"

He reflected for a second and replied: "Yeah, they do."

Her face wore an expression of shock and terror and disbelief.

"What?" she gasped, "They really do? In real life?"

It had never occurred to me that she wouldn't know this. We don't let her watch the news, but she hears things and catches bits of things, so I just figured she knew that guns don't just exist in movies and video games and historical accounts but in this flawed world we live in. My six year-old found the idea of that kind of weapon so beyond the realm of reason and sense, she relegated it to make believe. And we had to tell her the heartbreaking truth, that it wasn't make believe. That it was altogether much too real. 

I couldn't, in good conscience, even tell her it would be OK, that the people in charge make sure that dangerous people can't get the guns. Because that would be a bald-faced lie.  

But I could tell her it was an issue a lot of people, in particular, a lot of mothers, were working on addressing. And that will have to be good enough.