A conversation about guns, our culture, and the parent’s role in keeping kids safe
Filed by KOSU News in Feature.
April 25, 2013
Despite the failure of the gun control bill in the Senate last week, the gun issue remains a lively debate. But it’s one that’s often filled with yelling, screaming, and not an actual debate. To establish some type of foundation for it, I talked to two different people, with two different backgrounds, using our Public Insight Network.
Lonnie Daughterty comes from Stillwater and started introducing his kids to guns around age 5.
Eileen Hetherington is part of the Million Mom March and a peace advocate out of Oklahoma City.
Lonnie: “The NRA had a really good VCR video out at the time…and I can still remember the little jingle and it was ‘Stop, don’t touch, leave the area, tell an adult’. And so I taught them if they were ever anywhere, and another child had a gun or if they saw a gun, they were not to touch it. They were to leave, and run out of the house, find an adult, and tell them.”
Eileen: “From a young age, my children were offered any alternative to violent video games or weapons in the home. I introduced them to musical instruments, we played a lot of games outside: throwing the football, Frisbee. I just think the natural aggressive instinct is normal, it’s present in all of us, but it needs to be channeled in a healthier direction.”
Lonnie: “As a father that shoots guns a lot and hunts a lot, I started my children doing that and it was something that I did with them. We did it together, and it was kinda a creative outlet for them…one of them just doesn’t like to hunt at all. But he’s a competitive pistol shooter and tremendous marksman. And he just loves that. But we also had creativity in the house, one of my sons plays five or six instruments, sang in the chorale in high school.”
Eileen: “Why does it have to be an instrument that can provide such a fatal and unchangeable outcome. Why couldn’t it be, for example, archery?”
Lonnie: “I was raised around guns and in a gun culture. And I think that’s one of the big problems in the nation today…we have people that don’t own guns at all and have no experience around them, and they’re scared to death of them. So there’s this huge gulf, and we’re trying to find a happy medium here, and that’s what this gun debate is all about.”
Eileen: “It’s so pervasive, it’s so accepted that I think people who grow up in the gun culture don’t understand the problem that mothers in more peace-loving people have is that we don’t want this to be part of our culture. We don’t agree that it should be a part of our culture.”
“This disturbs me. That more and more of our children are being hooked by violent games, violent images in the media, the proliferation of guns, the normalcy now. It’s become normal.”
Lonnie: “As far as Hollywood and the gaming industry, I detest it. The way they portray guns, it’s very unrealistic. I walked in on one of my kids playing some video game one day and he was going through an office building just blasting secretaries. He wasn’t hunting a bad guy, he was just killing people…I said that’s ridiculous, you’re just going around killing people. I don’t like those, and I worry that it may affect our children. But on the other side of that, my sons, who are big gamers, say ‘Dad, it doesn’t affect us that way, it’s no big deal.’”
Eileen: “Just get the discussion going here in Oklahoma. So we can listen to one another, that those who hold strong opinions can feel like they’re getting their points across or being heard. I think a lot of what’s going on is this such an emotion fueled debate. So many of us feel so strongly about this.”