Heartbreaking and Heartening


by Karen Topakian

I bolted out the door a few minutes before 10 this morning to cheer on the students at Mission High, whom I thought would be walking out to support gun control.

Before I could cross Dolores street, I found a lively group of about 30 8th graders from the Children’s Day School, occupying the median strip on Dolores Street.

They chanted and held up signs with vigor and seriousness. They asked me to sign their petition, which they will deliver to Rep. Nancy Pelosi on their class trip to Washington D.C.

I asked permission to stand with them and hold up my RESIST banner. They agreed. After a few moments, I decided the students needed to own this event, so I crossed to the corner to join other adults, mostly parents and teachers, standing in solidarity.

Horns tooted from passing trucks and cars. Pedestrians chanted along and dog walkers remained for a moment or two in support.

As I stood watching them capture our hearts and minds, I found myself feeling two disparate emotions: a heartening spirit and a heartbreaking reality.

These students were not protesting actions and activities in a foreign land or to support a big concept like science. They were protesting to protect their own lives.

Though gun violence in schools, accounts for a small proportion of gun deaths. One is too many. These people are the target audience.

I don’t go to work in fear that someone will burst into my home office with a gun and shoot me. However, students may and do. It’s real for them. Very real. This is the part I find most heartbreaking – this reality in which they live. In which, we have not protected them.

The heartening part lies in their actions. Their organizing. Their use of social media. Their passion and solidarity. Their commitment to solutions. Their hashtag #NeverAgain.

Anti-choice laws for gun buyers


By Karen Topakian

In the wake of the Newtown, CT shootings, many people and politicians are calling for serious gun control laws.  I suggest that we look to abortion laws for guidance on possible gun control laws. Here are a few to consider:

1. Require a gun seeker to wait a specified period of time usually 24 hours between receiving counseling and the actual purchase.

2. Mandatory counseling before purchasing a gun including information on at least one of the following purported links between gun ownership and death to a family member, friend or unknown person, negative psychological effect from the loss of life associated with use of the firearm.

3. Parental involvement in a minor’s decision to purchase a gun. Require one or both parents to consent to the purchase. Notify one or both parents of the intended purchase.

4. Gun purchases must be made through a licensed gun dealer

5. Gun purchases must be made in a licensed gun business

6. A second gun dealer must be present

7. Gun purchases are prohibited except in cases of life or health endangerment

8. No public funding may be involved in the purchasing of a gun

9. Gun dealers may refuse to sell a gun to an individual or an institution.

10. Gun dealers may refuse to sell a gun for religious reasons.