Last spring, Mom and Buried detected an unopened package of rubber door stoppers on the street.
In my neighborhood, people put stuff they don’t want on their front curb, and it’s understood that it’s all up for grabs until the garbage man comes. Sometimes it’s old volumes and DVDs, sometimes it’s random bits of attire, sometimes it’s a gently-used AC unit or a TV or a bookshelf.
Door stoppers are not something I would have even appeared twice at, and needing them had never truly occurred to Mom and Buried either. But she grabbed the package anyway.
Because the door stoppers aren’t for us. They’re for our brand-new third grader.
She picked them up a few days after the events in Parkland, in which a gunman brought an AR-1 5 to a high school and opened fire, murdering 17 students and teachers. She picked them up because she’d read that mothers across the country were putting them in their kids’ backpacks, just in case.
Someone, somewhere, came up with the idea that rubber doorway stoppers might offer a modicum of protection for children during a school shooting.
They thought that if one of those kids has a door stopper in his or her container, s/ he can conceal in a closet( as my readers- and my spouse!- informed me, most doorways INTO the classrooms open outward and thus would not is beneficial for the door stopper) and jam it under the door to prevent an intruding gunman from discovering them- or at least slow him down until the president gets there and rushings in!- and potentially save themselves and their classmates.
Mom and Buried grabbed the rubber door stoppers with the intent of putting them in our son’s knapsack so that he would be able to shut the door and maintain a shooter out. So that he might have some way to defend himself and his fellow second graders should the once-unthinkable-and-somehow-increasingly-plausible happen at his school.
She picked them up right after Parkland, which happened months away. But she hasn’t given them to him yet.
Giving door stoppers to a 7-year-old involves telling that 7-year-old why he requires them, what they’re for, and when to use them. It necessitates having a heartbreaking conversation with a little boy- a little son who had nightmares after our empty car, blocks away, was broken into while he was sleeping- about school shootings, and handguns, and murderers, and death.
It would force her to vocalize dreads she’d instead deny, fears we’d instead he remain ignorant of, at least for a few more years. But with schools all across the country conducting shooter drills and teaching children to duck and encompass and hide, that ship has already sailed.
Every morning we pack our 7-year-old’ s backpack with his lunch, his volumes, his homework, his toy for show-and-tell, etc. Every morning the door stoppers remain in our bedroom. For now. Mom and Buried doesn’t want to give my son the door stoppers, but she’s terrified about what will happen if she doesn’t- and the day comes when he actually requires them.
I don’t know where you stand on gun control or gun reform or the second amendment or the NRA or mental health education or Trump or even on the Yankees versus the Red Sox.( I’m sure some of you will angrily let me know in the comments, as you have before, and that’s fine .)
But I know that the answer doesn’t involve* more* handguns, or guns in the hands of educators, or handguns that can fire hundreds of rounds in the time it takes my kid to tie his shoes( that may be a bad comparing- it takes him FOREVER- but you know what I mean ).
We’ve tried it the NRA’s way for long enough. We’ve tried constantly loosening the firearm statutes, eliminating background checks, allowing for more concealed carry, giving good guy handguns, etc. We’ve tried all of that and none of it has worked.
One thing we haven’t tried? Reducing the amount of and access to handguns. Seems like it might be time to give that a whirl.
It’s bound to be more effective than rubber door stoppers.
A slightly modified version of this post originally operated on my Facebook page .
Read more: dadandburied.com