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Guns in the House

Take a break from the computer for a few days, and look what happens -- gasp! -- news.

First, on Wednesday, the Supreme Court ruled that child rapists could not receive the death penalty. While I'm certain that we all have our own views on whether or not this is a good ruling, I wondered whether the topic really affects us in our daily lives as parents. My thought: probably not. Not because we all don't care about the safety of our children. But a criminal's punishment doesn't change our jobs as parents.

Then came ruling No. 2 a day later, in which the Court rejected D.C.'s ban on handgun ownership. Reaction throughout D.C. has been split.

Take Sandra Mathis: "I lost two nephews to homicide in Southeast," said Mathis, who lives in the Parkland neighborhood in Southeast. "I'm here today because my nephew was charged with having a gun. I feel like we're losing our kids to the streets. How is it made so easy to get a gun?"

Then there's elementary school teacher Jeff Canady. A teenager has broken into his mother's Southeast home three times. "The police never did anything," he said. "I have two elderly parents. If it came to that, what else are you going to do [but defend yourself]?"

Gun accidents at home are a real threat to children. The American Academy of Pediatrics last addressed the issue in 2000:

This statement reaffirms the 1992 position of the American Academy of Pediatrics that the absence of guns from children's homes and communities is the most reliable and effective measure to prevent firearm-related injuries in children and adolescents. A number of specific measures are supported to reduce the destructive effects of guns in the lives of children and adolescents, including the regulation of the manufacture, sale, purchase, ownership, and use of firearms; a ban on handguns and semiautomatic assault weapons; and expanded regulations of handguns for civilian use.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, about 35 percent of households with children under 18 have at least one firearm. A task force looking at gun laws concluded in 2003 that there wasn't enough evidence to show whether laws designed to prevent children from accessing those weapons are effective.

In an opinion piece in Sunday's Outlook section, Arthur Kellermann, a professor of emergency medicine and public health at Emory University, wrote the following:

"In the real world, [Justice Antonin] Scalia's scenario -- an armed assailant breaks into your home, and you shoot or scare away the bad guy with your handy handgun -- happens pretty infrequently. Statistically speaking, these rare success stories are dwarfed by tragedies. The reason is simple: A gun kept loaded and readily available for protection may also be reached by a curious child, an angry spouse or a depressed teen."

What do you do to prevent your children from gun violence? Do you ask friends' parents whether they have a gun in their house before your child spends time there?

By Stacey Garfinkle |  June 30, 2008; 7:00 AM ET  | Category:  Safety
Previous: When It Comes to Staying Home, Does Dad Do It Better? | Next: Making the Drive Time Fly

Comments


Fasten your seatbelts!

Posted by: Curly | June 30, 2008 7:25 AM | Report abuse

I agree with Arthur Kellermann - yes, sometimes there are cases where a person's house gets broken into, and they are able to defend themself with a gun, but I would say that those cases are the exception rather than the rule. It seems like much more often, the end result of having a gun in the house is a child getting hurt. Yes, I know there are gun locks, etc., but an older child or teenager can find their way around it.

Posted by: Laura | June 30, 2008 7:50 AM | Report abuse

I grew up with guns in the house, but that was the 70's.

Now I figure that having firearms in the house makes no sense.

As a homeowner you would need to prove that the use of deadly force was necessary to protect your home. A virtually impossible standard without getting a shot fired from an assailant. Even with the home invasions her in New England, the fact is the law-abiding citizen values life more than a home invader. The strategy is hide, and phone 911 for help.

A gun would only up the ante and increase the chances of shots fired.

Posted by: Fo3 | June 30, 2008 7:52 AM | Report abuse

You can guess how I feels about this hear thing. If you would a-teach your youngin' how to properly respect and handle firearms, you could defend yourself and kept your children safe.

You are just a-using firearms as a all-purpose bogie man.

Posted by: Jed Clampett | June 30, 2008 7:53 AM | Report abuse

I'd also be interested in knowing how many people who own legal handguns actually live in areas/neighborhoods with high crime rates/high rates of home break-ins. Here in the Cleveland area, it seems like most people I know who either own a handgun or have security systems on their homes live in very safe, middle-to-upper class neighborhoods. In those cases, I think there is just overblown worry about being a victim of crime.

Posted by: Laura | June 30, 2008 7:54 AM | Report abuse

here in New England, sorry for typo, and I have asked about guns in houses. SO far nobody has guns in their home.

Posted by: Fo3 | June 30, 2008 7:54 AM | Report abuse

FO3

"here in New England, sorry for typo, and I have asked about guns in houses. SO far nobody has guns in their home."

Yes, people ALWAYS tell the truth.
Way to go in protecting your kids!!

Posted by: ??? | June 30, 2008 8:00 AM | Report abuse

"When guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns."

30 some years of the ban of private ownership by law abiding citizens certainly proves this adage!

Posted by: Anonymous | June 30, 2008 8:09 AM | Report abuse

I do ask before my child goes to play. I have a friend who owns several and his house is off limits to my kids. So far no one else has said yes. I have also talked to the girls about what to do if you find one.

on the supreme court note...

A friend of mine is currently hosting a foster child who was raped at a very young age. She has physical injuries that will last a lifetime not to mention the emotional and developmental scarring. The man who did it is in jail, but probably won't be for long. When he gets out and registers as an offender, his new neighbors will be alerted but can't do anything about it. Do you feel comfortable with him moving into your neighborhood? I sure don't. That's all I am saying about that...

Posted by: Momof5 | June 30, 2008 8:10 AM | Report abuse

I would never have a gun in my home and would not want my child playing at a house that does. But, the post by ??? raises an interesting point. Even if you ask, how do you know for sure. Maybe the parents haven't told their children so don't want to tell anyone.

Posted by: Pt Fed Mof2 | June 30, 2008 8:13 AM | Report abuse

Momof5

"I do ask before my child goes to play. I have a friend who owns several and his house is off limits to my kids. So far no one else has said yes."

Do you believe everything you are told? Or do you believe what you want to believe?
Can parents really be this naive?

Posted by: How do yo know? | June 30, 2008 8:14 AM | Report abuse

You would better serve your kids by asking whether people have swimming pools. Far more kids drown than are shot to death every year. (Thank you, Freakonomics.)

However, obviously in certain areas (big cities, DC, Philly, etc.) gun control is a huge problem. Education and better prospects need to be provided for the kids at risk. Don't ask me how that's going to get done (it's probably NOT going to get done), but that would be my prescription.

Posted by: WorkingMomX | June 30, 2008 8:16 AM | Report abuse

The public school systems should offer gun safety courses that include the laws and regs of gun ownership as well as the opportunity to discharge the firearm in order to satisfy those kids who are curious. A lot of kids just want to try their hand at shooting at a target, which is not only fun, but a great sport too. A gun safety course for every child would ensure that more citizens would learn how to properly handle a gun and thereby reduce the number of accidents.

Motocycles are dangerous too. I learned how to ride one safely by taking a cource offered by a local community college. guns aren't much different.

The answer is education.

Unfortunagely, the school systems are run by liberals who think all guns are bad so the only thing they teach the kids aare scare tactics like, "if you happen to see a gun, run away from it like a sissy and tell the nearest adult."

But what else do we expect from liberals?

Posted by: Common Public Sense | June 30, 2008 8:42 AM | Report abuse

I will not let my child go to a house that has a gun. I fully respect every persons right to have a gun (although as an attorney I disagree with the court's ruling.) But, it is within my rights not to allow my child to go to your house.

http://jodifur.blogspot.com/

Posted by: jodifur | June 30, 2008 8:44 AM | Report abuse

"A friend of mine is currently hosting a foster child who was raped at a very young age."

This is exactly why it's a bad idea to have men take care of children on their own.

Posted by: Men are vile and dangerous | June 30, 2008 8:49 AM | Report abuse

There are a fair number of professions where people are actually required to work with firearms and keep them in their home--security guards, police officers, members of the military. Are you saying that your child would never be allowed to have a friendship with any child whose parents were in the military or the police force? That seems rather intolerant and unpatriotic.

I'd be more worried about homes with uncontrolled access to prescription drugs. Maybe you should make sure your child never visits a home where any of the parents seems depressed or like they might suffer from erectile disfunction. Oh, and make sure to keep your kids away from anyone who might have ADD since that would give them access to Ritalin. Actually, I would imagine that any home containing old people could potentially be extremely dangerous.

Oh, and no houses where there might be a pool.

Why don't you just keep your kids at home sitting on your lap? Much safer.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 30, 2008 8:53 AM | Report abuse

"There are a fair number of professions where people are actually required to work with firearms and keep them in their home--security guards, police officers, members of the military. Are you saying that your child would never be allowed to have a friendship with any child whose parents were in the military or the police force?"

Yes.
Check the stats.

Posted by: Oh, brother | June 30, 2008 9:11 AM | Report abuse

I don't have a gun. I have a dog. A big scary one that barks viciously at anyone coming near our house and looks like a pit bull. He's a sweetheart, but you wouldn't know it. Something like 50% of burglars pass by houses with dogs of any size. He acts as a deterrent and an alarm.

That said, I have no problems with guns in theory. The problem arises when parents overestimate their kids' abilities to control their curiosity and access is too easy.

Posted by: atb | June 30, 2008 9:15 AM | Report abuse

I am a woman with a gun in the house. I was raised around guns and have never known anyone raised around gun, who learned the rules, to be hurt. It is those hysterical families who bring in a gun and neglect basic instruction who cause problems. You don't want your kids around guns? Fine, but you still need to teach them what to do, and what NOT to do, if and when they come upon a gun. Guns have been around for centuries and they'll be around for still more. Get your head out of the sand and live with reality.

Posted by: gun owning grandmom | June 30, 2008 9:18 AM | Report abuse

I don't even let my kids play with squirt guns. It only encourages kids to entertain themselves with violence. Teaching kids Shooting people=fun is just plain sick.

Posted by: Blondie | June 30, 2008 9:21 AM | Report abuse

"Happiness is a Warm Gun."

John Lennon

Posted by: Anonymous | June 30, 2008 9:21 AM | Report abuse

"I am a woman with a gun in the house. I was raised around guns and have never known anyone raised around gun, who learned the rules, to be hurt."

Really? You've never heard of a hunting "accident" involving people who grew up with guns & learned the rules?

Posted by: Wow! | June 30, 2008 9:27 AM | Report abuse

As a homeowner you would need to prove that the use of deadly force was necessary to protect your home. A virtually impossible standard without getting a shot fired from an assailant.
------------------------------------------------------

Not if you have a proper "Shoot the Burgler" law in your state.

Posted by: Call your state legislature | June 30, 2008 9:27 AM | Report abuse

You never heard of people becoming pregnant even though they were using protected sex?

Posted by: to Wow! | June 30, 2008 9:29 AM | Report abuse

I too used to believe all the stuff about how we should regulate the use of guns more, etc.

But the reality is, only the law abiding citizens will be the ones to abide the law. The criminals don't care much.

What they do care about is if they are unsure of whether or not you have a gun in the house. Hmmm. Do you think they want to go into houses where there are firearms? And if they don't know, won't they be less likely to go in there? If they are aware, due to the laws, that there are no guns (like in DC....) then they are more likely to go into a home, cause they are d*** sure that there isn't a gun there.

You can keep regulating more (and some regulation is good, don't get me wrong) - but realistically, we hardly enforce the laws we have now, so putting more on the books won't help much.

Posted by: atlmom | June 30, 2008 9:31 AM | Report abuse

As a homeowner you would need to prove that the use of deadly force was necessary to protect your home. A virtually impossible standard without getting a shot fired from an assailant.
------------------------------------------------------

Not if you have a proper "Shoot the Burgler" law in your state.


And we do - in Georgia.

Posted by: atlmom | June 30, 2008 9:32 AM | Report abuse

to wow: You are throwing up a red herring. We are talking about handguns, not shotguns, and not hunting. Why don't you read instead of making wild accusations? And by the way, my family did hunt back before 1980 or so. Suburbia moved in and hunting moved out. I remember my granddad and dad going out to Franklin County VA with their hunting beagles. Now there is a subdevelopment built where there were KKK rallies back in the late 60s. I was also taught about KKK foulness along with gun laws.

Posted by: gun owning grandmom | June 30, 2008 9:33 AM | Report abuse


gun owning grandma

"I remember my granddad and dad going out to Franklin County VA with their hunting beagles."

Never underestimate the stupidity of the American public.....

Posted by: Anonymous | June 30, 2008 9:42 AM | Report abuse

We have guns in our house (there, I've said it!). They are kept unloaded and locked and the ammo is locked away separately from the guns. You would have to know where to look to put the two together. We don't have kids yet; when we do, we will absolutely be getting a gun safe as well. My husband enjoys target practice at the range and skeet and I don't see why he shouldn't; on the other hand I believe it is absolutely our responsibility to put as many safety procedures in place as possible, which includes the foregoing as well as proper education. I see it as no different than putting a fence and alarms around a pool, or keeping medicine and household chemicals behind childproof doors.

Posted by: tsp 2007 | June 30, 2008 9:50 AM | Report abuse

Once when I was visiting my grandparents on their farm for a summer, I saw Grammy grab a pistol, open a back window, and pop a weasel right between the eyes. She claims she was protecting the hen house. LOL!

Posted by: grandsonson of a gun owning grandmom | June 30, 2008 9:51 AM | Report abuse

anon at 9:42 must live in a small condo in Ballston with no consideration there may be alternative lifestyles other than that inner suburbia congestion. Calling other lifestyles 'stupid' is a sign of rabid intolerance.

Posted by: gun owning grandmom | June 30, 2008 9:56 AM | Report abuse

Re burglars avoiding houses with guns: nope. Guns are among the most common items stolen in burglaries. (Why not? Portable and much better resale value than your electronics...)

Posted by: wingnut | June 30, 2008 9:58 AM | Report abuse

Johnny, is that you?

Posted by: g o g | June 30, 2008 9:59 AM | Report abuse

The problem with Scalia's argument and the problem in general with self-defense vs. children's safety is that the two values are, unfortunately, mutually opposed. That is, in order to have a handgun available quickly enough to respond to a home invasion makes it difficult to have the gun locked away (and ammo locked separately) for the protection of the kids.

Now some have argued that that is why it is so critical to teach children gun safety. Absolutely, BUT children under a certain age simply do not understand life and death and the risks associated with guns. Thus, a five year old may decide to play with the handgun anyway. Even younger children (say, a 3 year old) will have no concept whatsoever of the dangers posed by a gun.

So, having a readily available, loaded gun for self-defense purposes will not easily work with having a young child in the house.

That said, perhaps the better question to be asking your children's friends' parents is HOW they store the guns -- that is, what do they do to ensure that the guns are not accessible to children. Just my thought on this.

Posted by: Ryan | June 30, 2008 10:04 AM | Report abuse

gun owning grandma

"anon at 9:42 must live in a small condo in Ballston with no consideration there may be alternative lifestyles other than that inner suburbia congestion."


Um, not everone lives in the DC area...

Posted by: What a nitwit! | June 30, 2008 10:07 AM | Report abuse

There is a big difference between having a gun for sport (like tsp 2007) and claiming to have it for security. I fail to see how much good it will do to have an unloaded gun in one part of the house and the ammo in another in case of a break in. What do you do - throw it at the robber?

Posted by: Anonymous | June 30, 2008 10:17 AM | Report abuse

What are the educational levels of parents/grandparents who have guns in the home?

Posted by: Gosh | June 30, 2008 10:26 AM | Report abuse

For those of us married to law enforcement, we don't have much of a choice. I had never thought I would EVER have a household that had guns, and honestly I get nervous even being near them. But I fell in love with a cop, so thus we have a gun in our house all the time. I would hope that my childrens friends' parents wouldn't keep them from coming over knowing that there is a service weapon under the roof.

I think that if people know about weapons, the safe way to store them and how imperative it is to lock them up- away from little hands, there is no harm to one being in the house. The only alternative is to have a country completely free of guns, which this one will never be.

Posted by: Katie | June 30, 2008 10:30 AM | Report abuse

Ryan

"That said, perhaps the better question to be asking your children's friends' parents is HOW they store the guns -- that is, what do they do to ensure that the guns are not accessible to children."

Again, you are assuming that all people tell the truth...

Posted by: Not worth the risk | June 30, 2008 10:32 AM | Report abuse

Katie

"I think that if people know about weapons, the safe way to store them and how imperative it is to lock them up- away from little hands, there is no harm to one being in the house"

What are the stats on this? Do you really have kids?

Posted by: Anonymous | June 30, 2008 10:38 AM | Report abuse

To: not worth the risk. At some point you have to accept the minuscule risk that the otherwise acceptable parent of the playmate is not going to lie to you about whether they have a gun and if they lock it up. And if you can't do that, you certainly can't let your kid ride in the car or play in a neighborhood with pools, where they're much more likely to be killed.

----------------------------------------
"That said, perhaps the better question to be asking your children's friends' parents is HOW they store the guns -- that is, what do they do to ensure that the guns are not accessible to children."

Again, you are assuming that all people tell the truth...

Posted by: Not worth the risk | June 30, 2008 10:32 AM

Posted by: atb | June 30, 2008 10:44 AM | Report abuse

I would like to see the stats on whether locked-up guns are the ones killing kids. The problem is that I would bet parents lie and say the guns were locked up lest they be rightfully blamed for the deaths.

Posted by: atb | June 30, 2008 10:46 AM | Report abuse

Kellermann's assertion is somewhat spurious; no one keeps statistics on cases where a gun is brandished in self-defense but not fired.

The CDC has an interesting tool on its website for reviewing statistics on the causes of injury-related deaths. For children 17 and under, accidental deaths by firearms are outstripped by poisonings, drownings, and vehicles.

http://webapp.cdc.gov/sasweb/ncipc/mortrate10_sy.html

Posted by: Tom T. | June 30, 2008 10:53 AM | Report abuse

To not worth the risk - I don't think you should be afraid to ask to see how the parents are storing the guns. Anyone who is storing them properly should have no problem with showing you the gun safe, the locks, the separately stored ammo, etc. It's a fair question.

Posted by: tsp 2007 | June 30, 2008 10:54 AM | Report abuse

Which, btw, shouldn't be any different from asking to see the fence and gate around the pool etc.

Posted by: tsp 2007 | June 30, 2008 10:55 AM | Report abuse

Tom T.


"For children 17 and under, accidental deaths by firearms are outstripped by poisonings, drownings, and vehicles. "

Darwinism takes its course........

Posted by: Anonymous | June 30, 2008 10:55 AM | Report abuse

Yes, I do have a child although she is not yet old enough for the issue to be raised about friends coming over to play yet. When he is home, his service weapon is kept in a hidden lock box separated from ammo and I do not even know where the key is. I think that is a good enough solution.

I am not even going to get into the argument of what is needed for "home security" since as I said before, I personally hate guns and see no need for people to have them. But my point is more that some people can't help having guns in the house. My husband's job requires him to carry one. Thus it is not possible to NOT have one under the roof. But it also means that he has been fully trained about safety regarding that handgun.

So it disheartens me to think that one day my daughter will have friends whose parents think that our house is an unsafe place to be, just because her father works in law enforcement.

Posted by: Katie | June 30, 2008 11:00 AM | Report abuse

I would never let my kids go to a house where there are guns. In fact, I rarely let my kids go to anyone else's house. Most kids are not as well-behaved as mine are and I do not trust them. When they are here in my house I make sure to be in the same room while they are playing so as to keep them from breaking any of the house rules.

Posted by: Donna | June 30, 2008 11:07 AM | Report abuse

Per the CDC National viatl Statistics Report for deaths in 2005 for children 0-14 years old. These are actual number of deaths. The causes for death in decending order:

1. Certain conditions originating in the perinatal period 14057

2. Congenital malformations, deformations and chromosomal abnormalities 6470

3. Accidents (unintentional injuries) 5162

4. Symptoms, signs and abnormal clinical and laboratory findings, not elsewhere classified 3977

5. Nontransport accidents 2822

6. All other diseases (Residual) 2667

7. Transport accidents 2340

8. Motor vehicle accidents (not included in 7.) 2210

9.Malignant neoplasms 1452

10. Other and unspecified nontransport accidents 1303

11.Major cardiovascular diseases 1087

12. Assault (homicide) 1022

13. Accidental drowning and submersion 810


(somewhere way down the list)

Accidental discharge of firearms 75

Posted by: some facts | June 30, 2008 11:08 AM | Report abuse

iKatie

"So it disheartens me to think that one day my daughter will have friends whose parents think that our house is an unsafe place to be, just because her father works in law enforcement."

Why do you care what other people think?

Posted by: Are you in high school? | June 30, 2008 11:08 AM | Report abuse

Australia banned ownership of guns to its citizens and the crime rate skyrocketed.

Posted by: Gov Mint | June 30, 2008 11:09 AM | Report abuse

I don't have any guns in the house. I don't use guns for sport, so there's really no reason to have one. And in order to have a gun for protection, It would need to be loaded and readily accessible. That doesn't make sense if you have a 2 and 4 year old. And let's be serious, a 2 and a 4 year old cannot be taught gun safety or to be respectful of the power of fire arms.

In terms of protecting yourself, I think overall guns are overrated in their capacity. Sadly, far more often they lead to tragedy. A good alarm system or a dog is better.

Posted by: Cliff | June 30, 2008 11:11 AM | Report abuse

Are YOU in high school? Because your attempts to bait me into "playing" with you are ridiculous.

Posted by: Katie | June 30, 2008 11:14 AM | Report abuse

I wonder how many of these parents who are so concerned about asking whether there is a firearm in the home before permitting their kid to play ask whether:

there is a copy of Grand Theft Auto in the house?

the parents permit unsupervised Internet access?

the family has friends or family members who visit and have convictions for sex crimes?

the family includes an older sibling in the home who uses or deals illegal drugs?

are Scientologists or worship with some other whacko cult or religious group?

Is gun ownership the only thing some of you nutcases latch on to so you can feel good about the job you are doing of protecting your child? You are kidding yourselves.

Posted by: Amy | June 30, 2008 11:16 AM | Report abuse

I have asked about guns in the house. So far no one has said they do, and yes, I think most parents would admit to it. And if they lie, at least they know I care about the issue. The fact is, if they had guns, it would be the start of a conversation, not the end of one. If there are guns, how are they kept, what are the children told about the guns, how does the parent work to keep the children are safe. Again, someone might lie, but having the conversation is better than not having it, and if I felt comfortable with the answer I could let my child play there. If I felt uncomfortable, I could decide not to let my child play there, and explain to both children and the parents why not. I make similar decisions about other issues, like the mother with a history of mental illness who was barred for months from contact with her children after a breakdown. They can play outside together, but as I have interacted with the family, I see that neither parent supervises adequately--preschool children allowed to play in the wading pools outside while parents are in the house upstairs. It is the interactions between tadult and child and the other parent and me that are the major factor in whether I allow my child to play at another child's house, but the conversation that follows "Do you have any guns at your house?" can be informative also.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 30, 2008 11:17 AM | Report abuse

10:17

The trouble within just usin' long arms for huntin's is that they just blast small critters away. You gotsa' use a small calibre short arm for that squirrel.

Youse do know the difference amongs short arms and longs arms?

Posted by: Jed Clampett | June 30, 2008 11:19 AM | Report abuse

Also,

Is there a teen in the house is who allowed to drive younger children without restriction?

Is the medicine cabinet locked or are the depressants, sleeping pills and other medicines otherwise secured?

Has the fire safety plan be reviewed and practices in the last 90 days?

Are all in the house aware of the restraining order against the ex spouse?

Does the swimming pool have a gate that is locked and an alarm system?

Are there alcoholic beverages in the house?

Posted by: Beyond Amy | June 30, 2008 11:28 AM | Report abuse

"Mom, can I go to Susie's house and play dolls?"

"Let me call Susie's mother and ask her a few questions. I'll get back to you."

"Is this Susie's mom?"

"Yes"

"HI, this is Mary's mom. Susie invited Mary over to play dolls but before I say yes I need to ask you a few questions. Is that ok?"

"Sure"

"Are there any guns in the house?
Are there any sexual predators in the house or living nearby?
Does anyone in the house have a history of mental illness?
Will the children be supervised by an adult at all times?
Does anyone in the house eat peanuts?
Do you have a dog or cat?
Do the children have access to any violent games, music, movies or television shows?
Does anyone in the house curse?
Does anyone in the house smoke? Use illegal drugs? Drink alcohol?
Are all prescription medications in a locked cabinet out of the reach of the children?
Do you always lock your front door?
Is your car always locked?

Posted by: Safe keeper | June 30, 2008 11:28 AM | Report abuse

I also have guns in my house. Some are for hunting. There is also 1 handgun. It is mine. I also have a legal conceal and carry permit (my state has a conceal/carry law). When I am home, the handgun is kept in a locked box, and the ammo is kept in a separate locked box. My job requires me to drive all over the southeastern US (primarily in VA and NC), sometimes for several days (organic kid stays with organic guy, he's a GREAT dad!), and primarily in rural areas. Often in places where there are no paved roads. Sometimes at night. I never really worried about it, but Organic Guy pointed out that I could get a flat tire, somewhere where there's limited if any cell phone access, in the dark, on an unpaved country road. And I'd be by myself. I never really thought about it before he brought it up, but it's a reality. I'm 5-feet tall, about 105 lbs., and little able to defend myself if someone along a dark road wanted to take advantage of me. Now, I know that most people are good folks, and many people that may stop to see if I need help really just want to help. But I also need to be able to defend myself if it comes down to it. So, I took safety courses, I got the permit. And Organic Kid (who is 10) has been taught gun safety as well, because Organic Guy hunts (the bird gun and deer rifle are also kept in locked gun safes).
I know there are parents that may not let their children come to my house because of the handgun and my license. I also know there are parents who are relieved that I'm honest about the fact that it is there, because they're gun owners themselves, and now know I'd let Organic Kid go to their house as well (if they practice proper gun safety there). I agree with the comments that the mere existence of a gun in the house isn't the concern so much as knowing how the gun is handled and stored. This is a much bigger concern. And if you don't think your kid should play with mine because I choose to be careful and be able to defend myself when I'm on a dark country road somewhere, so be it. That's your choice as a parent. But, really I do recommend asking gun owners why, and how they store guns before making that decision. There are a few friends of Organic Kid's that I won't let her visit (although the friends are welcome at our home) because I felt their firearms were not safely stored. And I'm speaking as a gun owner.

Posted by: OrganicGal | June 30, 2008 11:29 AM | Report abuse

"While I'm certain that we all have our own views on whether or not this is a good ruling, I wondered whether the topic really affects us in our daily lives as parents. My thought: probably not. Not because we all don't care about the safety of our children. But a criminal's punishment doesn't change our jobs as parents."

What a shallow thought process.

You conclude that the first ruling doesn't affect us in our daily jobs as parents because you miscast it as whether some criminal gets punished. That's not the point. The point is whether our respective state legislatures have the authority to pass and enforce laws that assists us as parents in shaping our community -- the community in which we raise our kids. One of the messages that community sends is the extent to which it abhors crimes against children. Certainly, other messages are sent by state laws including messages about how important education is. The legislation that was held unconstitional sent a message that rape of a child is a crime that community will not tolerate. The Supreme Court decided that we are not permitted on a state-by-state basis to send that message. Whether you agree or disagree, both of these rulings are key for the same reason and impact us all mightily.

What kind of world do you want to raise your kid in? Both of these decisions impact that world equally. On a statistical basis, your child is no more likely to be killed by a legally-owned handgun kept in someone's home than she is to be raped.

The determining factor of whether a law or decision of the Supreme Court is relevant to us as parents is not determined by the volume of the chattering class.


Posted by: Ge Realest | June 30, 2008 11:30 AM | Report abuse

Katie,

I have never been asked if I keep a gun in the house, so I doubt most people will even ask. And of those who will ask, your response can include what you have posted about how it is kept safe. I imagine that most people would not be bothered by a gun in that situation.

I don't understand why anyone thinks people would lie about having a gun in their house. There is nothing wrong with having a gun. Lying about it would imply that you are ashamed of gun ownership, and while I don't have a gun myself, I don't think there is anything wrong with having one--and I would think that if anyone had a gun they wouldn't be ashamed of it. I can see where a spouse might be less than thrilled about gun ownership, but lying seems like an extreme, immature response to such a situation. I think I would be able to tell from other interactions that the person was immature and less than trustworthy, so while I would be inclined to believe any statement about gun ownership, I might decide this person wasn't someone I wanted my child around based on other interactions.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 30, 2008 11:35 AM | Report abuse

If dad lives in the same house as your child's friend, you can bet there is a porn stash somewhere over there too. Teenagers usually know where their mother's sex toys are kept too.

All parents has something in the closet! What's in yours?

Posted by: good neighbor | June 30, 2008 11:40 AM | Report abuse

Your child, ages 0-14 is SEVEN times more likly to die in a residental fire than to be killed by an unintended discharge of a gun!

Posted by: some facts | June 30, 2008 11:43 AM | Report abuse

"Your child, ages 0-14 is SEVEN times more likly to die in a residental fire than to be killed by an unintended discharge of a gun!"

What a pointless stastic as was your previous listing of causes of death for 0-14 year olds. I don't want my children killed by a fire or an accidental discharge of a gun. I'll take precautions to prevent both. FYI: adding an exclamation point to the end of a sentence does not make you more persuasive. Also listing "facts" without an accompanying argument is also not persuasive.

Posted by: Jim | June 30, 2008 12:04 PM | Report abuse

I grew up in this area (Cheverly, MD) and had guns in my house. My father went deer hunting and when I was older I got to shoot some up in the mountains. I knew where my father kept his rifles, his closet, and I knew where the ammo was, his dresser. Never once did I EVER!! combine the two at home. You know why? Because I was taught from the begining that GUNS ARE NOT TOYS!

As parents, ask yourselves this: How many toy guns, ie: cap guns, laser sci-fi guns, old west guns, water guns actually shaped like a real gun, do you have in your house? If a child thinks a toy looks like a gun then he will think a real gun is a toy.

When I got older I was permitted to learn how to handle then shoot a gun. My H.S. even has a rifle range under the gym and it's in DC.

So before you say "No guns, no way" why don't you talk to the people who might own them and ask what their precautions are. And if your kid has toy guns in your house I will never let my son go there.

Posted by: belcharlie | June 30, 2008 12:11 PM | Report abuse

Also listing "facts" without an accompanying argument is also not persuasive.
-------------------------------------------

I was not making an agrument but I was just stating a fact. You can read into what you want.

But I am sure that you have:
(1)fire extinguisters in all appropiate places
(2) an evacuation plan written and posted for all residents of the house
(3)Guests are promptly informed of the plan
(4) a mock exercise is held to verify the functionality of the plan
(5)the fire dept or other trained agency has reviewed your plans and precautions
(6) all in the household have been properly trained on fire extingusiers

(7) and of course your general family plan for emergenices of any type to include evacuation route and methods, communication and notification, preservation and retention of vital records among other considerations.

Posted by: some facts | June 30, 2008 12:16 PM | Report abuse

I wouldn't get a handgun in the home for protection -- that's what shotguns are for. But what about outside the home? I want to get a carry permit. My wife is opposed. Actually, I also want her to get a carry permit. Also opposed.

Does is bother you that people do this? I cringe anytime I see a "no weapons" sign at the mall or the movies or elsewhere. One, it think such places are actually public and they should have to follow local rules. Two, a lot of good that sign and the mall security guard will do in case of emergency. But that's just me. The thing is, I don't think I'm parinoid, but unprepared. Same reason I keep road flares in my trunk.

Posted by: NoVAHockey | June 30, 2008 12:26 PM | Report abuse

i don't like my children to hang around people who kill things as a form of entertainment.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 30, 2008 12:28 PM | Report abuse

i don't like my children to hang around people who kill things as a form of entertainment.

Well, then you would rightly like me as I only kilt critters to feed my family weasel flambeau.

Posted by: Jed Clampett | June 30, 2008 12:31 PM | Report abuse

Donna must be the safest mom in the world (:( I bet Donna doesn't use fertilizer on her lawn in case the chemicals are absorbed through her little one's soles. What am I saying? I bet Donna will never let her children have the joy of running through grass in their bare feet.

Jeez, Donna...won't you ever let your kids grow up?????

Posted by: to Donna | June 30, 2008 12:43 PM | Report abuse

NoVAHockey

"I wouldn't get a handgun in the home for protection -- that's what shotguns are for. "

Correct.

Posted by: Mary Winkler | June 30, 2008 12:44 PM | Report abuse

some facts

"I was not making an agrument but I was just stating a fact. You can read into what you want.

But I am sure that you have:
(1)fire extinguisters in all appropiate places
(2) an evacuation plan written and posted for all residents of the house
(3)Guests are promptly informed of the plan
(4) a mock exercise is held to verify the functionality of the plan
(5)the fire dept or other trained agency has reviewed your plans and precautions
(6) all in the household have been properly trained on fire extingusiers

(7) and of course your general family plan for emergenices of any type to include evacuation route and methods, communication and notification, preservation and retention of vital records among other considerations. "

Spelling Police!
Grammar Police !
AA!

Posted by: Anonymous | June 30, 2008 12:48 PM | Report abuse

belcharlie: I'd be interested to know if you have an elementary-aged (or older) son and how that anti-gun stance is working for you.

I ask because we don't have toy guns around the house. We don't have any shooting video games. And yet, my 6-year-old has still learned to pick up a stick and play Star Wars shooting games with his boy friends. He became Star Wars obsessed from the other boys in kindergarten. We talk with him about the value of life, the dangers of guns and how bad they are and have done so for his entire life. He recognizes the difference between playing Yoda and Darth Vader and reality. It's unrealistic for us to think we can protect him from all the boys at school, at the park, in the neighborhood, etc.

Posted by: Stacey Garfinkle | June 30, 2008 12:50 PM | Report abuse

what are kids in kindgarten doing watching Star Wars?

Posted by: Anonymous | June 30, 2008 12:54 PM | Report abuse

stacy, thank you for your column. well said.

as for guns. when i paid my mortgage by having housemates one housemate i had was a federal police officer. he kept guns in his room. one day he dropped a box of bullets in the living room. i found bullets all over the house for at least a year after that. i'm convinced they were reproducing underneath the couch. i did find that when i had to rent out the other room that it was very handy to be able to tell prospective housemates that the other person living in the house was a cop. i'm sure that weeded out several dodgey characters.

Posted by: quark | June 30, 2008 12:55 PM | Report abuse

Kids will make weapons out of anything, including their fingers, log cabin sticks, Duplos, etc., in spite of everything. I sorry, but you parents who believe some pacifist mumbo-jumbo will turn your kids into Quakers are fooling themselves.

Posted by: my kids have duplos | June 30, 2008 12:57 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for the compliment. I like to think that my house is safe for all kids.
I don't know anything about fertilizer since my husband does all the outside work. We have a deal - he takes care of the yard and cars and bills and I take care of everything inside the house, cooking, shopping and cleaning. And the kids of course.
He loves them but says that after a long day at work and the commute home he needs some quiet time. They can be loud you know.
I cook their dinner and feed them first, then he and I eat. He isn't comfortable eating with them because sometimes they make a mess.

Posted by: Donna | June 30, 2008 12:58 PM | Report abuse

you realize a gun would keep your kids quiet when Dad gets home

Posted by: to Donna | June 30, 2008 1:01 PM | Report abuse

Just to make you happy, 12:48, I have (hopefully) corrected spelling and grammar errors. Now, do you have anything to say about the content?


Also listing "facts" without an accompanying argument is also not persuasive.
-------------------------------------------
I was not making an argument but I was just stating a fact. You can read into what you want.
But I am sure that you have:
(1) fire extinguishers in all appropriate places.
(2) an evacuation plan written and posted for all residents of the house.
(3) informed all guests of the plan.
(4) held a mock exercise to verify the functionality of the plan.
(5) had the fire dept or other trained agency has reviewed your plans and precautions.
(6) had all in the household have been properly trained on fire extinguishers.

Beyond these steps, I am sure that your general family plan for emergencies of any type is in place to include evacuation route and methods, communication and notification, preservation and retention of vital records, among other considerations.

Posted by: some facts | June 30, 2008 1:03 PM | Report abuse

Frink: I first observed this technology at the airport gift shop. [claps, can dances] As you see, it responds to any percussive sound with an exuberant shaking of its groove thing, yeah, yeah.
Lisa: Most entertaining, but how does that help me?
Frink: Observe. [removes the switch plate from the dancing can, places it in
the heel of Lisa's shoe, and turns it on. Lisa's foot then moves in
time with Frink's clapping]
Lisa: Ooh! That's brilliant, professor! What will you think of next?
Frink: Well, I also found this at the gift shop. [a weasel attached to a ball]
Isn't it cute? [places it on the ground, where it bounces around] I'm hoping to turn it into a weapon. [Frink noises] It'll kill ya!
Lisa: I've got to go now. [backs out]

Posted by: Dr. Frink | June 30, 2008 1:03 PM | Report abuse

Donna

"I cook their dinner and feed them first, then he and I eat. He isn't comfortable eating with them because sometimes they make a mess. "

When the hell is this bozo going to be comfortable eating with his OWN kids?????

Posted by: WTF? | June 30, 2008 1:04 PM | Report abuse

I don't want my children killed by a fire or an accidental discharge of a gun. I'll take precautions to prevent both.

Posted by: Jim | June 30, 2008 12:04 PM

What precautions do you intend to take to prevent the death of your children in a fire?

Do you vet the homes of your children's friends with that in mind?

Would you have read or posted on a blog on that topic?

Posted by: Sheryll | June 30, 2008 1:07 PM | Report abuse

Stacey,

My son is just turning 1 (next Monday!)and so I still have time to think about what I would do. I don't have any guns in the house now but that's because we've moved around a lot so my parents still have my rifle that I bought with my own money when I was 13.

I'm 29 so I still can look back and remember how my parents brought us children up. I think it has to do with the over all household. I remember every November my father and older brothers going up to western MD for a week every year for deer hunting and waiting till I was old enough / big enough to go too. (It did help that I was the youngest) My mother was actually the strictest about keeping toy guns out of our hands. I remember thinking how some water guns didn't even look like real guns but we still were not allowed to have them or play with them. If a child started playing with a toy (anything really) like a gun it was taken from them.

As for your little ones mimic-ing Star Wars I don't have any suggestions except saying "No guns means No guns" or anything that shoots. I do think it helped knowing that eventually I would be able to shoot a real gun when I got older like my dad and brothers & sisters that I didn't see the need for pretend guns. I guess like always, it's what the family environment is like.

Posted by: belcharlie | June 30, 2008 1:10 PM | Report abuse

To the person who wrote to me at 1:01,
I think you are trying to be funny but it isn't coming across that way. I have already spent quite a bit of time telling you that I have a safe house and there are not and never will be any guns in my house. I don't understand why some people are so hurtful here. I read and write to try to engage people in honest discussion about the most important job in the world - being a parent - only to have some obviously child haters become spiteful. I guess they are jealous. I will keep you in my thoughts and hope that you can some day find happiness like I have.

Posted by: Donna | June 30, 2008 1:11 PM | Report abuse

Your husband isn't comfortable eating dinner with your (and his) children? Ay yy

Posted by: OldPhil | June 30, 2008 1:12 PM | Report abuse

happiness is having a husband who neglects your kids? wow, simply wow

Posted by: to Donna | June 30, 2008 1:14 PM | Report abuse

Please God let Donna be a Trojan Lizard.

Posted by: atb | June 30, 2008 1:18 PM | Report abuse

This is to the person who wrote to me at 1:14,
My husband does not neglect his children. He works very hard to support them. If that means that he is tired at the end of a long, hard day and needs a break I wholly support that. He deserves it. Please do not criticize a life style just because you don't understand it. We are very happy - all of us.

Posted by: Donna | June 30, 2008 1:18 PM | Report abuse

I think that we have "inherited" a group of OB malcontents. I can understand why Leslie gave up on them and left.

Posted by: OB, OB go away | June 30, 2008 1:19 PM | Report abuse

Donna,

At what age does your husband plan to eat with the kiddies?

Posted by: Anonymous | June 30, 2008 1:28 PM | Report abuse

Or does Donna's husband plan to eat the kiddies?

Posted by: Pillsbury Doughboy | June 30, 2008 1:32 PM | Report abuse

Donna

"I read and write to try to engage people in honest discussion about the most important job in the world - being a parent - only to have some obviously child haters become spiteful. I guess they are jealous"

"Spiteful" & "jealous" are high school. "Child hater" is middle school. Try reading a couple of books to expand you vocabulary. God help your kids!!!

Posted by: Difficult to believe someone is so undereducated | June 30, 2008 1:33 PM | Report abuse

I'm pretty certain "Donna" is a completely fictional character baiting everyone. That being said, it's pretty entertaining.

I suspected it from the first post, but the "he doesn't like to eat with the kids" was over the top.

Posted by: 123 | June 30, 2008 1:35 PM | Report abuse

Donna


Correction to 1:33pm pst

Try reading a couple of books to expand YOUR vocabulary. God help your kids.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 30, 2008 1:37 PM | Report abuse

I believe the Dc law only related to HANDGUNS-- and really, to protect your family at home, a shotgun is far superior anyway. You hear a burgular walking up your stairs, you get out the shotgun under your bed, make a loud ratchet noise as if you are cocking the gun and tell them to get out now-- and they will! If you need to shoot someone in the dark, a shot gun is the way to go, not a handgun. The beauty of this is that the shotgun doesn't even need to be loaded-- it is just the threat and the noise that will do the trick. Bonus that it can actually be used for something besides hurting people if you even find the time to go hunting!

Posted by: cal girl | June 30, 2008 1:40 PM | Report abuse

i see the bubblewrap parents are out in force. I am sure that you also don't let your kids go to houses with a pool right? The number one killer of children? Hello? hmm very silent. anyone there? oh right it's ok to drown but not to be shot. That's it huh?

Posted by: sahm silliness | June 30, 2008 1:41 PM | Report abuse

"The beauty of this is that the shotgun doesn't even need to be loaded-- it is just the threat and the noise that will do the trick. Bonus that it can actually be used for something besides hurting people if you even find the time to go hunting!"

I agree but don't ever point an empty weapon, if it merits pointing, it merits shooting. Bluffing in life and death situations is foolish.

Posted by: yes,but | June 30, 2008 1:43 PM | Report abuse


not a victim

"If someone breaks in, they will have a nasty surprise. You other female posters will have a nasty surprise too if you are raped by some scumball while your kids watch. Then maybe you will think of this blog and how foolish you felt"

This is surely a Christian.

Posted by: PTL | June 30, 2008 1:46 PM | Report abuse

To the person who called me "undereducated",
Firstly - are you sure you don't mean "uneducated"? Undereducated is such an odd term.
I guess you can say that I am undereducated for where I wanted to be in my life by now. I have only a Masters in Education and taught for 4 years before I had my children. My goal has always been a PhD but now I will wait until my children are grown.

Posted by: Donna | June 30, 2008 1:48 PM | Report abuse

Donna, is your last name Reed?

Posted by: Anonymous | June 30, 2008 1:50 PM | Report abuse

Here are some "safety barometer" tools I have used for playdates:

1. Gut. What is the parent (or parents) of my child's friend like? Do they have (or appear to have) the same sort of values and care about child safety the way you do? What do you feel when you talk with this parent? It's best to make sure you meet them in person and chat with them to pick up these vibes.

2. Accopany the child to at least the first playdate. Are the kids supervised, or at least checked on by the host parents? Is there enough for them to do to avoid boredom (and then being tempted to play with forbidden things). Do you get a good feeling at the house?

3. Have playdates at a park or other similar venue. That way, both kids' parents attend, and you don't have to worry about guns, chemicals, etc.

4. Limit the playdate -- to two hours max. That's still a long time, but the shorter the better for kids who may get bored and then get curious.

I've hosted one playdate without the child's parent and sent my son on another
playdate without me. But that was after accompanying my son on the first playdate.

Here's one I just thought of and haven't tried:

1. Teach your child to have a calm, friendly conversation with his or her friend. Your child can calmly and casually ask if there are guns in the home. It's likely the other child won't lie. And it can be very empowering for your child to begin looking after himself the way you are looking after him.

Of course none of these are fail-safe, but they could empower parents and kids to exercise some judgment of character, values and similar traits.

I think supervision is the key to a safe playdate. I know parents don't want to hover over the kids every minute. But sometimes they just need to check. Some kids have time to get into playing "house" or "doctor" (and the the accompanying sexual behavior) or go get the Playboys and look through them because the parents are not supervising them.


Posted by: theoriginalmomof2 | June 30, 2008 1:52 PM | Report abuse

Donna

"I guess you can say that I am undereducated for where I wanted to be in my life by now. I have only a Masters in Education and taught for 4 years before I had my children. My goal has always been a PhD but now I will wait until my children are grown. "

Again, God help your kids... and this country if you what you say is true.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 30, 2008 1:54 PM | Report abuse

I knew a few families of police officers both where I lived and more in cousin's and grandparents' neighborhoods.

Let's start the anecdotes. My friend James from my grandmother's neighborhood was the son of a cop, took his dad's keys from his dad's patrol belt while he was asleep on the couch, opened the gun safe, took out a pistol, took out ammunition and I ran out of the house. He and his friends went out to the woods and shot soda cans, then apparently he snuck the gun back in the house, locked the cabinet and put his dad's keys away without being noticed- he said it was true and I believe him, except I can't ask him now...

After his father was killed in the line of duty James' life went to hell. When he was about 19 and had no job, he banged on his girlfriend's door in the middle of the night, her father answered the door and the shotgun he was holding "accidentally" went off in James's face at point blank range.

James was decapitated.

My cousins showed me their dad's hunting rifles, sometimes where they unlocked cabinets and sometimes where they just sat on shelves in the basement. I remember that when I knew someone's father had a gun, I asked and got to hold that gun every single time. I don't know of ANY of my friends whose fathers owned guns where I didn't get to see the guns.

My cousin's older cousin was a cop and they had many stories where he would stop by their house for lunch, lay his service revolver on a bookcase or some place and when the subway train went by it would jostle the gun and cause it to go off. I am NOT kidding and there were two gunshot holes in different walls of their house and his Mom had the spent bullets on a shelf in the kitchen because everyone thought it was funny.

When I was a kid my friend's little brother, about age 14, unlocked Dad's gun cabinet and killed himself. Then 6 months later a teacher also took his gun and shot himself. After that we heard of several people who intervened with their children's suicidal behavior, but since THEY DIDN'T OWN GUNS that they had more time to find a kid hoarding pills or trying to set up something that doesn't take 15 seconds to do like a gun would.

Lastly, when it comes to people who talk about their guns at work, again, 100% of the time, if they talk about their guns at work, they threaten me verbally with their guns. They always have a joke like, "keep that up and I'll bring it into work" or some similar threat of violence they think is funny. This has happened half a dozen times.

So, as long as parents know that their kids will get into the gun cabinet and unlock the guns 100% of the time, then they should be fine. If they make the mistake in thinking that the gun locks will keep the guns out of kids' hands then that's just ignorant. No such lock exists.

Posted by: DCer | June 30, 2008 1:57 PM | Report abuse

To the person who wrote at 1:54,
Why do you think my children and this country need help just because I have an advanced teaching degree? What bitterness surrounds you that you feel it is appropriate to attack a total stranger this way?

Posted by: Donna | June 30, 2008 1:58 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: PTL | June 30, 2008 1:46 PM

This is surely a fool......

Posted by: Anonymous | June 30, 2008 1:58 PM | Report abuse

Donna, you are a girl after my own heart. I too, would never, ever let a gun into my house for obvious reasons.

thanks for showing all the girls on this blog how to treat a decent husband. I can tell that you love your husband, obviously a real man, very dearly. Good for you!

Posted by: Father of 4 | June 30, 2008 1:59 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: DCer | June 30, 2008 1:57 PM

Oh great mr. duller than dull has arrived. be prepared to be bored to death.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 30, 2008 2:00 PM | Report abuse

Oh great mr. duller than dull has arrived. be prepared to be bored to death.
------------

I've got you wrapped around my finger. I say jump and you ask "how high?"

Posted by: DCer | June 30, 2008 2:05 PM | Report abuse

I'm torn on this subject. I grew up in a house with guns (in a rural community, where it was the norm), and we never got into trouble with them. I have a healthy fear of guns, even though I know how to shoot (now that I'm on my own, I don't own one). I never heard of people in my community being shot by accident, either. But I don't think my anecdote is probative of anything--while I was never tempted to play with or use the guns, I sometimes lay awake at night with fear that my troubled stepsister would be. I have no idea if she ever played with them, though; as far as I know, she never did.

Posted by: Mona | June 30, 2008 2:05 PM | Report abuse

DCer is like Chicken Little - The sky is falling - the sky is falling.

Posted by: Foxey Loxey | June 30, 2008 2:06 PM | Report abuse

Obviously DCer is the source of all those rumors about Obama and McCain.

Posted by: Pillsbury Doughboy | June 30, 2008 2:13 PM | Report abuse

who is the chicken little, the one who thinks a gun is dangerous around children or the wacko who thinks someone is going to break into their home and murder them all?

Posted by: Anonymous | June 30, 2008 2:31 PM | Report abuse

"Oh great mr. duller than dull has arrived. be prepared to be bored to death"

By AB
Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Is he this dull in the sack?

Posted by: Does anyone know how to write? | June 30, 2008 2:32 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for the kind words Father of 4. It is nice to know that somebody understands. I am sure you are a wonderful father to your children and they are very lucky to have you as their dad.

Posted by: Donna | June 30, 2008 2:34 PM | Report abuse

who is the chicken little, the one who thinks a gun is dangerous around children or the wacko who thinks someone is going to break into their home and murder them all?

They both are.

Posted by: Foxey Loxey | June 30, 2008 2:35 PM | Report abuse

Father of 4 - Why is Donna's husband "obviously a real man"? I think of my husband as a real man because he WANTS to spend time with our child after work.

1:19 - Aren't you tired of proclaiming this every day? Those of us who actually use a consistent handle have been here a long time. Everyone else, yourself included, is just an anonymous troll.

--------------------------------------
I think that we have "inherited" a group of OB malcontents. I can understand why Leslie gave up on them and left.

Posted by: OB, OB go away | June 30, 2008 1:19 PM

Posted by: atb | June 30, 2008 2:38 PM | Report abuse

I love how everyone just assumes that anybody who cares about guns does not, could not, also take the same level of caution about pools. Hello, you're not the only person to discovery Freakonomics, so get over yourselves. It's really easy to answer your own question rather than thinking that maybe the people you disagree with actually may be consistently paranoid/cautious. Losers.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 30, 2008 2:48 PM | Report abuse

Having a gun is like having auto insurance. Hope you don't need them but when you do, you REALLY do. Guess we are all chicken littles for carrying auto insurance huh? Not!

Posted by: a failure to plan, is a plan to fail | June 30, 2008 2:49 PM | Report abuse

Donna

"Thanks for the kind words Father of 4. It is nice to know that somebody understands. I am sure you are a wonderful father to your children and they are very lucky to have you as their dad."

How can you possibly know whether or not a boozer cyberstranger is a "wonderful father"? Were you really a teacher? Sheesh.

Posted by: What a nitwit! | June 30, 2008 2:55 PM | Report abuse

"Why is Donna's husband "obviously a real man"?"

Because there is no wife that enjoys waiting on their husband hand and foot who is married to a dweeb.

Same here at the fo4 household. DW likes doing things like trimming my toenails and getting a Q-Tip to get the wax out of my ears. Of course, she loves tickling my feet and she'll do anything it takes so I can listen to her better. LOL!

But to answer your question, Having fathered 4 kids, I know a real man when I see one!

Posted by: Father of 4 | June 30, 2008 2:55 PM | Report abuse

My husband is a real man in every sense of the word. I never said he doesn't spend time with our children, just that he prefers not to eat with them. He does other things with them (he took our son to his office softball game just last month) and took both children to play putt putt in April when I was too sick to go (I had promised them an outing).

Posted by: Donna | June 30, 2008 2:58 PM | Report abuse

Father of 4

"But to answer your question, Having fathered 4 kids, I know a real man when I see one!"

Oh, brother! Do you run into these "real men" at AA meetings?

Posted by: Anonymous | June 30, 2008 3:00 PM | Report abuse

How are things going Mona?

Posted by: to Mona | June 30, 2008 3:13 PM | Report abuse

Donna

"I never said he doesn't spend time with our children, just that he prefers not to eat with them."

Weird and creepy, creepy and weird. Have the kids ever asked why your husband doesn't eat with them?

Posted by: Anonymous | June 30, 2008 3:14 PM | Report abuse

Aren't we sensitive, perhaps it hits too close for home?

Posted by: pfff this | June 30, 2008 3:07 PM

Interesting moral compass

Posted by: huh? | June 30, 2008 3:18 PM | Report abuse

"You agree not to submit inappropriate content. Inappropriate content includes any content that:
. . .
is obscene, pornographic, or sexually explicit
degrades others on the basis of gender. . .
is predatory, hateful, or intended to intimidate or harass".

You call it sensitive. I call the above post hitting the trifecta of posts barred by WaPo's full user rules, if only they were enforced. Thanks for your noble attempt at adding to that special sense of community, though!

Posted by: MN | June 30, 2008 3:26 PM | Report abuse

Fo4- Oh, I see. Being able to get a woman pregnant and convince her to wait on you hand and foot and keep the kids out of sight makes for a real man. Gotcha. I guess I'm just married to a caring partner and father and all-around great guy. What a loser!

Posted by: atb | June 30, 2008 3:43 PM | Report abuse

My kids are still pretty young, so I agree with whoever said supervision is the key. I don't leave my kids at a playmate's house without me until I"ve spent enough time there with them that I feel like I know how they do things and am comfortable with it. Conversations about guns are fine, if that's your big concern, but the family interaction tells you a lot more, I think. And I'd never leave my kid somewhere with a pool right now, not while they're still so little.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 30, 2008 3:44 PM | Report abuse

Is anyone on here a real person anymore or is it all make-believe? Is Donna the same person whose therapist convinced her that her husband's chore list was her duty to follow? This is all getting to be silly.

Posted by: atb | June 30, 2008 3:45 PM | Report abuse

ATB, this is the question:

Is your husband man enough that you enjoy waiting on him hand and foot? Do you love him that much?

Posted by: Father of 4 | June 30, 2008 3:52 PM | Report abuse

Are YOU a real person?

Posted by: to ATB | June 30, 2008 3:59 PM | Report abuse

Personally, I'm fake; but then I've never pretended to be real. Good luck on your quest, ATB.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 30, 2008 4:04 PM | Report abuse

What's my quest? I didn't know I had one. I think I'm real, but who knows? I know I don't make up outlandish stories, though I do intentionally rock the boat sometimes.

Fo4- I just threw up in my mouth a little.

Posted by: atb | June 30, 2008 4:09 PM | Report abuse

I am not the person who wrote about her husband making lists. I make my own lists thank you but only things that are out of the ordinary - things that I might forget if they are not written down. As I have said before, I run the inside of the house and my husband cares for the rest. There is no need for him to tell me what to do inside. It would be like me telling him what kind of mulch to put on the garden.

Posted by: Donna | June 30, 2008 4:16 PM | Report abuse

Lol @ asking parents "do you have a gun in the house?" Do you really think the majority are going to respond "why yes, yes I do!!" What better way to get a gun stolen than to advertise both ownership and whereabouts. You are very, very naive if you are told that and believe it.

Posted by: Lol | June 30, 2008 4:16 PM | Report abuse

Well, I am a long time lurker and real person. My husband is in law enforcement but I can't say which agency for which he works.

I am so afraid of weapons that I have him lock his weapon in his official car when he is home.

I also make sure that our little child never is allowed to play with anything which might resemble a weapon. Before I allow my little precious one to view any magazine, book or paper, I cut out all images of weapons. Of course there is no TV in our household.

Posted by: Cecilia | June 30, 2008 4:19 PM | Report abuse

Cecilia, you should do what I do, and make all your own toys and entertainment content. My little one only sees what I have made for her, that way I know she gets only the information and ideas that I think are safe! You'd be amazed how easy it is to make your own children's books and cartoons.

Posted by: SW | June 30, 2008 4:28 PM | Report abuse

SW, Cecilia: I can't wait until you folks make your own Internet with no news of war, weapons, crime, violence, etc. so that your little ones never have to experience anything like real life.

Lock a gun in a car? Of course it's safer there than in the house - why of course it is!

Posted by: Polly Anna | June 30, 2008 4:31 PM | Report abuse

Guys, Cecilia is obviously a joke .... or at least I hope so!! LOLOL

Posted by: Lol | June 30, 2008 4:34 PM | Report abuse

SW, why do you mock me? My little precious certainly has toys and entertainment from outside. I just make sure that anything having violent content is not brought into the home.

I do understand that weapons have their place in an orderly society but only in the hands of competent law enforcement and the military as prescribed by the federal, state and local governments.

Posted by: Cecilia | June 30, 2008 4:36 PM | Report abuse

I love to do crafts with my children. They have a box of rubber stamps and we make all our own cards for holidays and birthdays. We tried glitter once but it got all over the floor and was very hard to clean up. The stickers work well and there are so many to choose from.

Posted by: Donna | June 30, 2008 4:36 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: Donna | June 30, 2008 4:36 PM

You seem like a nie person, don't let the trolls get you down. It's just a blog.

Posted by: Hi Donna | June 30, 2008 4:40 PM | Report abuse

sorry i meant nice not nie

Posted by: Anonymous | June 30, 2008 4:41 PM | Report abuse

For those who actually own a gun for protection and have young children I have a serious question. How do you keep the gun loaded but ensure your toddlers never find it? I agree with educating older children but I'm afraid my 3 and 4 year olds are too young to really comprehend. My concern with keeping the bullet and gun seperate and locked up defeats the purpose of having it for intruders. How would I get the keys, unlock the boxes, load the gun and then protect myself all before the person gets to my bedroom?

Posted by: Considering a gun | June 30, 2008 4:50 PM | Report abuse

Donna, if you truly have a Masters in Education, then you should know the term "undereducated". Its a very common term.

http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/undereducated

Posted by: Anonymous | June 30, 2008 4:56 PM | Report abuse

Yowza! hot topic and interlopers abound!

FWIW, no hand guns in our home; however, my kids spend time with family who do have hand guns, not to mention their grandparents who also have handguns. Never gave it that much thought because the hand guns are in areas that are off-limits to the kids (adult bedrooms), and I'm usually supervising the kids anyways.

Posted by: con-e | June 30, 2008 5:04 PM | Report abuse

Don't get a key lock, get something with a code. Why anyone would want to fumble around looking for keys in an emergency is beyond my comprehension!

Posted by: To considering a gun | June 30, 2008 5:04 PM | Report abuse

Cecilia, how old is your child and what types of magazines and newspapers are you cutting up?

Posted by: Anonymous | June 30, 2008 5:05 PM | Report abuse

P.S. Child rapists need a punishment to fit the crime. If you ask me, the death penalty is too forgiving for criminals of their ilk.

Posted by: con-e | June 30, 2008 5:07 PM | Report abuse

From: AP

Surprising fact: Half of gun deaths are suicides

http://ap.google.com/article/ALeqM5hCxcKGSQ7r7ORZNySqR3F0kP5rOgD91KJFCO2

Posted by: Some fuel for the fire... | June 30, 2008 5:08 PM | Report abuse

(To) To considering a gun -

So do you keep the gun in the key locked box loaded or do you keep the bullets seperate. The key lock makes a lot more sense. I'm assuming you keep it under your bed or in your bedside table for easy access?

Posted by: Considering a gun | June 30, 2008 5:09 PM | Report abuse

I guess I'm just married to a caring partner and father and all-around great guy.

Posted by: atb | June 30, 2008 3:43 PM

Show of hands for anyone who believes this describes her husband.

Posted by: huh? | June 30, 2008 5:14 PM | Report abuse

I didn't say I don't know the word, what I said is that is an odd one to use as I don't believe it is as common as you might think (and I am sorry to say this but I also don't think you are nearly as clever as you think you are).

Posted by: Donna | June 30, 2008 5:32 PM | Report abuse

who cares? it describes my husgand.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 30, 2008 6:00 PM | Report abuse

Does husgand mean weasel in Uzbek?

Posted by: hmmmmm | June 30, 2008 6:10 PM | Report abuse

husgand is badger
ex-husgand is weasel

Posted by: hmmmmm2 | June 30, 2008 6:14 PM | Report abuse

DCer, your stories are full of crap. You may want to prove a point, but when you make light of a LEO getting killed in the line of duty and people getting accidently shot you have gone too far.

I call BS on your stories and suggest you be careful with your posts.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 30, 2008 6:52 PM | Report abuse

Funny, looks remarkably like you, a$$hat.

Posted by: | June 30, 2008 6:39 PM

Thanks for providing another example of your impressive command of the English language.

You have homework. Compare and contrast between the contexts in which it is appropriate to use "undereducated" vs. "uneducated". You have a big surprise ahead of you.

Posted by: TRT156 | June 30, 2008 7:01 PM | Report abuse

Finally, we will take steps to block users who violate any of our posting standards, terms of use or privacy policies or any other policies governing this site.
-WashingtonPost

I will see you, 6:52, and raise you a BS on the above statement. A blog addressing an issue as important as this one merited an editor interested in enforcing WaPO policy.

Posted by: MN | June 30, 2008 7:09 PM | Report abuse

Agreed MN.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 30, 2008 7:21 PM | Report abuse

You may want to prove a point, but when you make light of a LEO getting killed in the line of duty and people getting accidently shot you have gone too far.
--------------

I would never, under any circumstances make fun of the death of my friend James's father and under no circumstances have I done so today, TROLL. Your post is a pure fantasy and frankly, you're just plain sick.

Posted by: DCer | June 30, 2008 8:00 PM | Report abuse

And I know I hit a raw nerve with those stories from my youth because those who were around hunters and cops know they aren't that uncommon even if they were just personal stories.

Posted by: DCer | June 30, 2008 8:09 PM | Report abuse

Usually I just lurk and scan the beginnings of the discussions here but the absurdness of Donna's first post drew me in. And her humorous statements just got better and better as the thread progressed. Thanks for the laughs!

Posted by: She can't possibly be real ... | June 30, 2008 9:39 PM | Report abuse

I'm not sure. Billie_R's story was way way out there (with the ex and the money, the ex, money, ex, money). So was Mona's. I mean, Donna's is more believable than either.

Posted by: also a lurker | June 30, 2008 10:00 PM | Report abuse

Germane Comments: 12
Troll Barf: 158
Censored: Unknown at this time.

Posted by: Today's Count | June 30, 2008 10:46 PM | Report abuse

DCer, your post was flip and trite.

No one I know that has lost family and friends to gun violence, esp LEO and their families, recounts stories with such ease on a Wash Post blog.

You can call me a troll if you wish, but I call you an exaggerator and opportunist. You smack of know it allness, and it is not appreciated by those that have lived through gun violence.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 1, 2008 8:54 AM | Report abuse

(amended)
Germane Comments: 12
Troll Barf: 158
Censored: at least 1

Posted by: Today's Count | July 1, 2008 9:06 AM | Report abuse

And I know I hit a raw nerve with those stories from my youth because those who were around hunters and cops know they aren't that uncommon even if they were just personal stories.

Posted by: DCer | June 30, 2008 8:09 PM

These stories are extremely uncommon, which shows what bull your stories are. You are perpetuating myths and I believe using urban legends to prove a point.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 1, 2008 9:11 AM | Report abuse

No one I know that has lost family and friends to gun violence, esp LEO and their families, recounts stories with such ease on a Wash Post blog.
-----

My post was filled with sadness and nowhere in it did I advocate a pro or anti gun view. You are living in a fantasy world of your own making if you think my post was trite in the least. I am definitely insulted by your post, but I have faith that you merely are lashing out at things you don't understand in the world.

I loved guns and took shooting lessons with the boy scouts. But also as a kid, with that gun obsession, came unsafe gun practices. for any parent to think that you can have a gun and that keys will keep them from prying eyes or that suicide clusters don't exist in ways that guns assist, well then, I hope my stories made sense.

Posted by: DCer | July 1, 2008 1:31 PM | Report abuse

These stories are extremely uncommon, which shows what bull your stories are. You are perpetuating myths and I believe using urban legends to prove a point.
------

Again, you live in a fantasy world where my stories are not common. I posted anecdotes from my childhood, they may or may not reflect life in 2008 (they all happened in the 1960s-80s) but they are most certainly reality. James isn't coming back to life and anyone who wants to search the obituaries for Erie County, PA circa 1984-86 will find him.

Posted by: DCer | July 1, 2008 1:34 PM | Report abuse

No one I know that has lost family and friends to gun violence, esp LEO
-----

James's father was not shot. Just so your misread of my post is clearly pointed out. I cannot argue with someone who makes up details about what really happened. My grandmother told me he was hit by a car while writing a ticket- at least that's how I remember it, it was at least 25 years ago if not closer to 30.

Posted by: DCer | July 1, 2008 1:42 PM | Report abuse

Sorry DCer, now suddenly your grandmother's stories are handed down and you post them on a blog as fact - these are called stories or urban legends.

You have no idea who you are talking to, just like I don't know you from a hole in the wall, but I will finish with this: Your post listed gun deaths like a recipe. I don't believe your handed down stories and it doesn't sound real. I don't have to be a detective to say it they are fishy, at best.

Good luck peddling your stories (which is what they are) to other folk, I am not buying it.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 1, 2008 5:47 PM | Report abuse

We have guns in our house. I hate them, but we have them. We have two children. They have been taught already about gun safety. The guns are unloaded and locked away in two different safes. You wouldn't know where to find them and I don't even know the combo for them. You can say you won't let your kids to someone's house that has guns, but it's not about the guns. If you trust the people who you send your kids to play with--which you should--then it doesn't matter. Responsible parents--gun or no gun--are not going to establish an unsafe environment for their own kids. Yes, pools and kitchen knives prove harmful for children as well. A house without a pool is a safer house. But if the pool has a gate and children are taught about water safety and the parents are reasponsible then it's not a problem.

I'm happy if someone asks me about the guns and where they are. All, thankfully, locked up.

Posted by: Linda | July 5, 2008 10:13 AM | Report abuse

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