Guns and You – it’s not red and blue!

America, this is reality calling, please wake up!

Seriously. You are heading for civil war. There is no black and white in all things up for debate right now, only grey.

My daughter went to school on March 14, 2018 and went outside for 17 minutes of silence, to remember the 17 victims of last month’s massacre in Florida, when she returned to her classes, some of her friends were extremely rude to her, thinking she had walked out protesting gun laws. Now don’t get me wrong, she will be doing this (of her own accord) on March 24th at the Marching for Our Lives Protest, she will also be walking out of school on April 20, the 19th anniversary of the Columbine massacre. Her school has actually communicated with both parents and students in regards to this walkout and they have offered students a safe area (on school grounds) where they can peacefully protest, they have also offered students the choice on the protesting and said to them that it is completely of their own decision making. Students who remain in class will have time to read or do something of their own selection. Whilst those outside (teachers included) are able to safely protest current gun laws. No parents are allowed to be involved (unfortunately for me, but I completely understand why because of the safety aspect).

I digress, back to March 14; the school had asked if any students wanted to protest and were given a solid answer of April 20th being their day, obviously there was mention of some sort of remembrance ceremony though. My daughter joined many others that walked out of their classroom and stood outside in a circle around 17 pairs of shoes and silently remembered those 17 unknown students who had died just one month before, some of them whilst buying roses in their cafeteria for the one they admired; celebrating Valentine’s Day.

When she sat down with her supposed friends at lunch, two of them belittled her for walking out. They called her names and told her she was a coward for doing so. They started lecturing her on the fact that everyone has a right to own guns, who was she to say no one could have guns! She tried to tell them firstly that it wasn’t a protest and secondly that she wasn’t trying to take guns away from people, but it was all to no avail, she couldn’t get a word in. Her ‘friends’ wouldn’t or couldn’t listen to any other opinion. They had already been judge, jury and executioner. They are all 13 years old.

Here we are, a group of people trying to remember the kids/young adults who were all murdered just over a month ago by a psycho who had spent some time planning his attack on kids at school, whilst kids at school are so worried about losing their 2nd amendment rights (do they even have them yet or is this pure parent talk) that they are judging others because they thought they were outside protesting said rights! How can any of this make sense to anyone?

My world inadvertently involves guns. My husband is in the military. We have lived on base/post throughout various times in our many years of military life. We have plenty of friends that love their guns. My husband owns a gun. He is also extremely well-trained in guns. He doesn’t have a temper. He is very sound of mind and full of common sense; the complete opposite of me, lol! He is one of the people who could own a gun and society wouldn’t have to worry that he is going to go all nut jobs on everyone! He also doesn’t believe that assault rifles belong in the hands of society members. He understands the need for common sense gun laws. When he got his gun and the background check took 15 minutes, both he and I were in shock! 15 minutes to check someone’s background to make sure they were of the mental capacity fit to own a gun. He bought a second one in the time it took for his background check to complete. How can that be ok? And you can buy bullets at the same time!!! What! So someone has really pissed you off and in a crazy temper you walk into a gun store, get your gun and bullets within 15 minutes and go and take care of the person/people who have pissed you off? All whilst still in your temper! You may have cooled down had you been given a few days to chew over what it was they did to you (you may not too but that’s where psychological tests come into play). Surely to god every upstanding citizen out there doesn’t want innocent lives taken? Surely.

I’m Australian, I was living in Australia and very well remember the day the massacre occurred in Tasmania (28 April, 1996), the day everything changed in Australia, the day Martin Bryant murdered 35 people and injured 23 others, the day that shocked Australia so much that we knew it must never happen again! That was the day radical gun reform began in Australia. The government immediately enacted strict gun laws and issued a buyback program. The Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) summed it up well:

The National Agreement on Firearms all but prohibited automatic and semiautomatic assault rifles, stiffened licensing and ownership rules, and instituted a temporary gun buyback program that took some 650,000 assault weapons (about one-sixth of the national stock) out of public circulation. Among other things, the law also required licensees to demonstrate a “genuine need” for a particular type of gun and take a firearm safety course.

Now at this point in time, a National buyback program wouldn’t work here in the United States a: because very few people would voluntarily give up their guns and b: because it would cost an absolute fortune to compensate for said guns. As of 2017 in the USA, “there were no federal laws banning semiautomatic assault weapons, military-style .50 caliber rifles, handguns, or large-capacity magazines. There was a federal prohibition on assault weapons and large-capacity magazines between 1994 and 2004, but Congress allowed these restrictions to expire”. (CFR) After every mass shooting, particularly the one in Las Vegas, in October, 2017 and after the Parkland school shooting, “some lawmakers expressed provisional support for a federal prohibition of so-called bump fire stocks, devices that allow semiautomatic guns to fire at a rate approaching that of automatic weapons”. (CFR).

On March 24, students and parents alike, will ‘March for our Lives’ in Washington D.C. and throughout the country. My daughter and I will march. How can we not? There has been plenty of talk about the “Walk Up not out” movement being a great way to walk up to those kids who are sitting by themselves or those students who are being bullied. Firstly, how about we practice being nice and including all those who are different every single day? Why is it ‘walk up’ on that day only? How can things change without some sort of dramatic uprising? The massacres are not stopping! The school shootings continue. Something has to dramatically change! Teach your children to be inclusive, teach them to love, teach them to treat others the way they would like to be treated, make that an every day occurrence. But, do not ask my daughter to walk up to the psychotic kid that has spent his whole life torturing animals, the one who has shown every sign of becoming the school shooter. Don’t expect her to show kindness to him when he has nothing but animosity for every living thing out there and is looking for someone to start with. Don’t tell the wife of a brutal husband that beats her whenever he feels like it, that she should ‘walk up’ and be nice to him, that will make everything better! Stop it! You are being naive. Sometimes, there is no other way than to ensure the person cannot have access to the tools (normally guns particularly when one is looking to cause as much carnage as possible) one craves to cause damage.

Yes, the pro gun, anti gun legislation, people will argue that people cause carnage with knives (the eight (8) men in China that killed 29 people and injured 130 more). Now imagine if those EIGHT men had guns; assault rifles even. How much more carnage would they have done?

Yes the pro gun, anti gun legislation, people will argue that you can cause carnage with cars (the vehicle attacks throughout the UK and Europe in 2017 are devastating, many were killed and injured) again though, I ask, imagine the greater casualties had those men had assault rifles? Many more would have died, there is no disputing that.

Yes the pro gun, anti gun legislation, people will argue that criminals can easily access guns on the black market; it’s not normally regular ‘criminals’ causing this mass carnage in the USA, it’s every day white males aged between 17 and 50. It’s not normally terrorists, it’s men who are psychotic in nature or who have flipped a switch and literally gone loco.

Basically, stop worrying about your 2nd amendment rights. If you’ve got nothing to hide, you’ve got nothing to worry about! I heard a great quote the other day, “the 2nd amendment has been bastardized”. The forefathers couldn’t have foreseen the carnage today’s weapons would cause and the number of innocent children taken far too early by them. They wouldn’t have agreed with that! They set these amendments in place to protect ‘Americans’, not so they could be used to kill the most innocent.

This fight isn’t black and white. This fight is full of grey. The one thing we all have to agree upon though is that too many children are dying in the USA at the hands of guns. It has to be time for change otherwise what sort of future do we have?

The Big Talk

So today we sat our kids down and had the ‘talk’. No, not what you’re thinking, get your mind off that for just a moment 🙂 the talk about money. About saving. About giving. I never got pocket money when I was growing up and I’m pretty tight with giving pocket money as I don’t believe in something for nothing and I don’t believe kids should just get money for the sake of it. My kids, well two of them anyway, have to do some very basic chores every week. They include feeding the dog and cat daily, folding their own clothes after the washing is done, they have to pick up the dog poo, keep their rooms clean and the eldest one has to take our dog walking on the weekends. All these jobs amount to $1.00 each although we’ve just added the dog walking on the weekends to the eldest one (11) so we will increase hers to $1.50 starting next week. Like I said, we are not overly generous, nor do we demand too much.
We also save money for each of our children, it started with $1.00/day from the moment I found out I was pregnant (we made sure all of them started from the same moment in their lives). Then it went to $1.50/day at 5 years then $2.00/day at 8 years, $2.50/day at 10 and will increase once again to $3.00/day at 12 years. From then on, we haven’t worked it out, but we’re trying to ensure we can give our kids a start in life. As soon as their savings hit $3000.00 we start putting it into a mutual fund account (whilst continuing to deposit money into it) where we have stipulated the projected date we need the money and leave the rest to the professionals who manage these sort of accounts taking into account that date, as far as risk is concerned -for more info on these sorts of accounts you can go to websites such as:


Anyway, back to the ‘talk’. I read this great article the other day (unfortunately I have just spent the last hour searching for said article on Facebook and cannot find it; lesson learnt: if you want to refer to something interesting you read as a blogger, take a note of it immediately so you can share it) where the principles really hit me. He or she (again I would know had I taken note) talk about involving your children in your money-making decisions and we’ve never done that before but as I read the article, it made complete sense. Why wouldn’t you involve them if you want them to be responsible and make good choices when it comes to money? If that is the end goal to raising a well-adapted, smart, kind, responsible child, then one doesn’t even need to question the motivation behind it. 
So we sat the kids down this morning as we gave them their pocket money and asked them to get all the money they have earned (& haven’t yet spent of course). We talked about how everything requires money and they need to start saving, perhaps for a car (particularly the older one). We also talked about gifts and giving/donating. My husband has this great saying he always says to our kids: “Do you want to be the person on the street begging for money, or do you want to be the person on the street giving the money?” Their answer is always the same, they want to be able to give the money. Therefore, they need to make smart money choices. Today has in fact been all about money. We spent half of our car trip on the way to Osan (from Camp Humphreys, South Korea- about 1/2hour as long as there’s no traffic) discussing money decisions including but not limited to investing, car payments, regular household expenses, college, first jobs, employment goals and so much more. It was truly great as the girls kept asking us questions about career decisions, about what a car payment is, about credit cards, about our regrets, even about re-dos (you know, where if you could do something all over again, what would it be). In the store it became a discussion of mathematics and if I buy this, how much would I have left over and is it a good investment/decision? I’ll come back to that though as firstly I need to get back to the most important point of this talk.
I asked them to collect all of their money, then we explained that before they pay anyone else, they must pay themselves in the form of saving 25% of their income. We used some great mathematical equations to arrive at the amount that equaled 25% of their total money (my favorite being 1 quarter out of every $1.00 needed to be put aside and totaling that up for the 7y.o.). The 7y.o. Was so excited because of the way I worded it, she seriously said something along the lines of, “so this belongs to me and no one else? No one else can take it from me or use it?” I told her that this was hers to put aside to save for something big, something she needed like a house or a car or even both. The excitement in her was uncontainable! I loved it! Now, I was a little more concerned about 11y.o. DD, she was a different kettle of fish, but to my surprise, she was actually quite excited too, especially when I talked about the fact she will need a car in 5 years and perhaps we could match her dollar value in a car, then hubby chimed in with “well up to $1000.00 anyway.” And he has a point. She will be 16, she needs a reliable beater, if there is such a thing, and not some fancy car. In my opinion, here in the States anyway, she shouldn’t be driving anything over $2000.00 anyway. So if she’s capable of saving $1000.00+ by that time! then I would only ask her to put $1000.00 towards a car. The rest she can save up for a house, travel, college tuition, you know, all those things that suck away our money otherwise known as life and/or debt. 
As far as good investments go, well at this age it’s very subjective. Hubby was all about letting them spend their money on whatever they wanted to and they would soon learn when they made bad decisions and didn’t have any money left over for when they saw something they really wanted, but I couldn’t let them spend $9 on a giant bag of candy! Firstly, we’re already at the dentist enough, secondly, the Mummy in me just says a big fat no to that for all sorts of reasons and thirdly, what a terrible decision! They both got a bit cranky with me and I was definitely the ‘bad’ guy but I was ok with it. Then they wanted to buy nightlights of all things, but I told them they already had nightlights and would it really make them happy to have another nightlight? Is that really a good investment or could they just make do with what they’ve got and perhaps keep their money for something they want even more? In the end, they each bought a small bag of lollies (candy) for $1 and came home with money burning in their wallets. 
The great thing about kids is they forget they’ve got money burning until the next time you go to the store, so next time we go, we’ll deal with that problem. Until then, I’ve got another small amount of pocket money to give them next ‘pay day’ and this time, I’ve got it in change so they can immediately put away 25% into their newly decorated ‘savings’ containers. As far as the 10% giving part of it, we’ll save that for another blog all of it’s own.