As a blogger, I intentionally avoided controversial subjects because I wanted to provoke meaningful, thoughtful interaction and in my experience that rarely happens when addressing hot topics.
So I stuck with general issues pertaining to philosophy, spirituality, sexuality and relationships. When conversations occasionally became heated, I worked to diffuse them.
I have continued my habit of avoiding controversial subjects on social media. While some troll in search of an opportunity to express outrage or raise ire, I rarely click on anything of a controversial nature. I hate argument for the sake of argument. If either party is not willing to listen, communication doesn’t happen. It’s simply a waste of time and emotion.
Yet here I am endeavoring to address the hot topic of gun control via sharing my personal experience.
A couple of years ago my teenage daughter ran away and was missing for five days. She was a deeply troubled child, born drug and alcohol affected and adopted into our family at the age of seven months, directly out of an abusive foster home. She was given a tough row to hoe, right from the start and it didn’t get easier.
Her father and I struggled to get her the help she needed. She had come to us as a precious gift, so very wanted and cherished. We wanted to make up for her terrible beginning in life. We wanted to protect her from ever being hurt again.
Then, one morning we woke up and she was gone. By evening she still wasn’t home. Then she called, saying she’d run away and wasn’t coming back home. She was a teenager in years, but developmentally she was barely an early adolescent.
We drove the streets looking for her as did the police, but to no avail. And then she came home on the fifth day, covered in flea bites from head to toe, filthy and initially unwilling to speak to us. We called the police and while we waited she began to talk.
This is what we learned. A neighbor man in his mid-50s, a country neighbor and someone we knew through church, had been keeping her in a shed out behind his home, where she’d been sleeping on a flea infested dog bed, fed fast food, occasionally handcuffed and routinely raped. For five days. Think about that for a moment.
Within sight of our home, our developmentally disabled teenage daughter was being kept by a neighbor in a flea infested shed and used for sex. He told her he loved her and would go to prison if she told, so she didn’t at first. Turns out it had been going on for some while before the disappearance. He had been luring her.
We waited two years while the wheels of justice ground slowly and every day we drove by this man’s home on our way to town, knowing what he’d done, while our daughter tried time and time again to kill herself and eventually ended up restrained in a mental hospital.
He’s in prison now. He accepted a plea deal rather than go to trial. I don’t hate him but I want him ended, for when he’s freed, I’m convinced he will rape again. Pedophiles don’t change and our laws aren’t sufficient to stop them.
I own a gun. I’ve owned a gun for a long time now, because our family was a victim of violent crime years ago when the oldest of our daughters was abducted from her bed in the middle of the night and raped at the age of six.
I have a fair bit of anger toward pedophiles and sex-criminals in general. Our family has been hard hit.
But never once as I drove past his house, did I take action against him. Nor did my husband or adult son. It hurt seeing him out there enjoying his life while our daughter was strapped down in a mental hospital. Do you think for a minute that we weren’t angry?
We had guns and we didn’t use them.
Guns don’t kill people. You’ve heard it before and probably long since tuned it out but I’m asking you to pay attention. Guns don’t kill people.
Had anyone broke into my home again and threatened my family, any of us—my husband, myself and our adult son—would have used a gun in self defense, in defense of our family. I believe that’s our right; the right of every free person.
Would you take away our ability to protect and defend? Neither of the monsters who raped our daughters had guns when they did it. Violent people will take violent action with or without a gun. Nonviolent people like me and my family will take violent action only in self defense.
This is my stance, formed by personal experience. I don’t ask you to agree but I do ask you to listen respectfully.
Author: Katy Behr
Editor: Travis May
Photo: Flickr/Dennis Van Zuijlekom