Do you remember the peacock story from my last blog?
Did you know that only males are actually peacocks? They’re not born with fancy feathers, they grow them as they get older. They can fly. I knew the last one because I’ve seen that peacock on the rooftop of a neighbor’s house. The only way to get up was to fly. But why does he scream?
It’s a question I’ve asked myself a lot lately. I first started thinking about it on my way home from that DC trip, and then this weekend the NRA had its national convention in Dallas. I read dozens of comments on the private Facebook page for Moms Demand Action. Most were bashing the NRA. Moms staged protests in Dallas.
I’m a gun-safe mom. I bought a big safe for my son to store his gun in. And the Everytown staff (the woman who prepped me for senator) member heard my ownership story with enthusiasm. “You tell that story,” she said, getting me ready for my five minutes with a US senator.
I can understand the anger and blame I hear from Moms Demand Action. The NRA doesn’t seem to care about safety. They just keep promoting more guns. This year’s convention was huge—80,000 people attended. President Trump and VP Pence spoke, along with other elected officials from Texas. I was not going. But all the hoopla has put me in place of soul-searching. I am thinking that once again can I really stand on middle ground.
I am just a mustard seed to the NRA. Not a long standing member. I joined after Jon’s death. I joined because like a wise friend once told me, “you can help to make handguns safer.” The NRA is the largest gun organization in the world. I’m speaking at schools—heck, speaking to anyone—and saying I’m an NRA member who supports gun regulations, and hopefully can show the world a new face. Not everyone is an extremist. Change from within is more powerful than change from the outside.
I’ll admit I’m slightly conservative—in the middle of the right. My family owns guns, my friends own guns, and I have customers who come to our car dealership who own guns. I hear the other gun owners mutter, “yeah, some proud member of the NRA you are.” There are preconceived notions about NRA people, but many are lovely, sophisticated, and intelligent. They are just as set in their beliefs as those on the other side.
I joined Moms Demand Action a few weeks before joining the NRA. My first experience with them was with an extremist. I wrote about her in an earlier blog. I could have easily walked away then. But I had filled out the Join Us page on Everytown for Gun Safety website. I received a call from someone in Dallas. She listened to my concerns and said, “My family owns guns, too.”
Safety was my way of wrapping my arms around Jon. I didn’t store our firearms. The BB guns sat loaded and in the garage. The handgun and shotgun was on a shelf in the closet of our master bedroom. The only safety I thought about was hiding the bullets separately. Moms was my way of getting experience with Be SMART. In my survivor’s story I say, “I was a PTA mom, a sports team mom, and a homeroom mom.”
I’m still the homeroom mom, protecting Jon, helping other boys and girls be safe. I believe to have an impact on the NRA I must have a program to promote. The Eddie Eagle program is not going to be enough for the NRA to make guns safer.
It’s not practical to take guns away from everyone, either. A program that comes from the heart and the soul of who Americans are, different but not divided, will do the job. The peacock isn’t born with his feathers, either. We’re old enough now grow into something I’d call beautiful safety.
As a peacock I took my first steps in finding some mates at our DC training. I believe I can be in both camps. Actually, to be in the middle, where differences don’t have to divide us.