Change Is Hard

…but change is certain.



I don’t want to talk about this and maybe that’s the problem. Maybe no one wants to really talk about this, to leave our own biases behind and talk and then listen without interruption to the other side of the debate.

I wasn’t exposed to guns growing up. My parents didn’t hunt, I didn’t have any friends that hunted. I have cousins that hunt but I was never actively involved. The closest I’ve been was to walk by deer hanging in the back of a pole barn, and though the first time was startling, I didn’t have an objection, knowing they used every possible part of the deer as a food supply for their family and friends.

Tree peony at it’s peak.

Still, I’m not personally comfortable with guns. And sometimes that bothers me, because I don’t know how to understand both sides of the gun debate. I’ve even considered taking a lesson or two, in order to know what it feels like to shoot a gun. Though that feels a bit intimidating.

But I do question the need for the average citizen to own automatic weapons. And yes I know I don’t even know the differences between them. But weapons that allow a shooter to pull off multiple shots a minute, kill and injure so many in the first moments of an attack, well, I just don’t think those should be in the hands of anyone but active military.

Blue thoughts this morning.

We hear the arguments against banning assault rifles every time the topic comes up. The constitution gets waved and we’re reminded it guarantees gun ownership. And besides, we’re told, these weapons are already on the streets and we’d never get them away from the bad guys anyway.

But I don’t think the writers of the constitution, when they were giving us the right to bear arms, knew anything about the devastation created by an assault rifle. I doubt they could even imagine such a thing. Moreover, banning a certain type of weapon or accessory doesn’t ban all weapons, doesn’t take away a person’s right to bear arms.

And if we don’t begin somewhere, don’t attempt to make our country safer, then what?

Geranium looking for a bit of light.

Do we just continue down the road we’re on now, where every few months people, sometimes dozens of people, lose their lives for no apparent reason? People just doing their jobs, running their errands, going to school, seeing a movie, enjoying a concert? Attending their place of worship?

Do we just continue to watch the news, see their faces through a fresh sheen of tears, while inside giving thanks that it wasn’t someone we knew, no one from our family? And do we just keep saying, sometimes out loud, that someone ought to do something? And then let it slide from our mind as we go about our daily lives?

Virginia Beach victims, photo from the internet.

What will it take for people in this country to have an honest discussion about the whole problem. Not just the guns, I realize there’s a problem with our mental health system too, but guns can not be left out of the equation.

What will it take for all of us to leave our comfort zone behind, leave our assumptions and personal histories behind, what will it take for us to face this uncomfortable place where we sit across from family and friends with opposing views and just talk.

And then come up with some viable first step.

My bleeding heart is fading among the forget-me-nots. I am not immune to the irony of that.

Sandy Hook with it’s children and teachers lost should have been everyone’s last straw. That tragedy should have been the catalyst for change, but even that loss wasn’t enough for most of us to be brave.

It’s complicated. Change is hard. But this morning, as I wandered my gardens looking for a peace I didn’t find, I grew convinced we have to try.

Can we find the light?

Because how many lost is the magic number, how many shattered families are too many, what does it take for us to grow up and do the hard work to become a responsible nation?

Can’t we be the adults here and sit down with someone we know holds opposing views and talk? I think we have to.

It would be a start.

Forget-me-nots remind us to never forget.

Author: dawnkinster

I'm a long time banker having worked in banks since the age of 17. I took a break when I turned 50 and went back to school. I graduated right when the economy took a turn for the worst and after a year of library work found myself unemployed. I was lucky that my previous bank employer wanted me back. So here I am again, a long time banker. Change is hard.

36 thoughts on “Conflicted

  1. I have owned guns, shot guns, and even hunted a couple times years ago. And I firmly believe the gun crisis is out of control in this country. When the founding fathers wrote the constitution they had single shot, flintlock guns. It took about a minute to quick load one, and it may or may not fire. Automatic weapons have no place in the hands of the general public, at all. Gun groups, NRA, have a black and white view on this, all guns or no guns. Which is totally wrong. There is a middle ground, but no one seems capable of getting there.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Mary. I had a fear of estranging readers who supported guns by posting anything that might be perceived anti-gun. I’m not anti-gun…just anti-automatic weapons. But I’m open to discussion about even that, if there’s an argument out there in support of them that gives me a light bulb moment. I’m trying to stay open, but it’s hard, as it’s hard for just about anyone to check their preconceived ideas at the door along with their guns in preparation for a legitimate discussion.


    • We need more sensible people like Mary, who understand guns, making their voices heard. Right now, all we hear are the screamers at the fringes.


  2. Beautiful post with beautiful images, Dawn. I agree with you (no surprises there, I imagine). I don’t understand why gun owners get so angry about the prospect of regulating guns that no one outside of the military should own. My husband and I were discussing the NRA the other day. He used to hunt with his grandpa when he was a boy, and he said at that time the NRA was all about gun safety issues. They had safety classes and actually worked with Congress on regulating guns (as well as laws requiring permits). Anyhow. M said he can’t figure out what the NRA has become other than a gun pusher for the gun lobby and gun companies.


    • I seriously think it’s all about the money. But I agree there should be more regulations, and even then we’d still allow citizens who can pass the background check to own just about any gun, just not the automated ones.


  3. I have had this discussion so many times with friends with opposing views, and we never manage to reach an agreement. It’s the same on so many topics now — abortion, guns, immigrants – we no longer are willing to think through topics or make considered decisions. It does not help that our government cannot see beyond its party lines for long enough to discuss, reason, be rational, and do something that would be good. I own a 22 rifle, which I have used for target practice, but lives mainly put away securely because I don’t want the risk of something bad happening. I doubt I could ever shoot something with eyes, and I have no desire to.


    • I would have a very hard time shooting anything either. Even if I was in danger. I’d have had to practice a whole lot before I’d be able to do that. I hope I never have to learn. I’m glad you’ve had the discussion, I think it takes lots and lots of discussions for any of us to open our minds to an opposing viewpoint. I think we have to be ready to compromise ourselves if we expect compromise from others. I don’t think we can leave it up to government. My experience with government is that it’s like talking to a wall. Literally.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. It is a conversation we must have as a country. I may say more later, but for now, I agree that military style weapons do not belong in the hands of normal people. The problem is, if you do enough digging, it comes down to who is making money and from what weapons, not anything about freedoms.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Ditto on the military style guns. Also people must pass a test and get a license to own a car; they should at least be required to do that for weapons, which are designed to be deadly. And background checks make sense for the same reason. I really can’t find a way to understand the resistance to all of these. My dad had guns always. He took at least a couple of us to shooting ranges to learn how to use them. We had a BB gun when I was younger and I practiced target shooting in the yard, never ever hunting. My dad had a temper. One day–I was long since out of the house and married–my youngest sister got into huge trouble with the law, again, and he grabbed one of his guns from the gun rack, terrified my sister (and mom who was standing there)– and the next day got rid of all of them. I don’t think he’d have ever really pulled the trigger, and I don’t know whether he loaded it, but, yeah, they’re dangerous things to have around at all. Good friend’s son killed himself in college with a gun that he’d just bought. I don’t know more about it than that. That doesn’t mean that I think all guns should be banned. Just, so easy to use when emotions are out of control. I wonder whether any of your friends disagree with anything any of us have said and would be willing to post. I have friends who disagree with me on this.


    • I said “got rid of all of them,” I meant the guns, not my sister and mom. 😉 In case anyone was puzzled.


    • I welcome someone with an opposing view, to start a conversation. Having a temper and having guns could be a lethal combination. I have a friend whose husband killed himself a couple years ago after an argument with her. Tragic. It’s complex, and won’t be easy to make inroads, but seems like it’s worth trying.


  6. It’s funny that you should post this now. I was out driving around today, and composing in my head a blog on “What I believe”, which includes additional controversial items besides guns. I hate that we’ve become so polarized–although I think we always were, it was just often cloaked in civility.


  7. I think there is a tipping point….a time before when the problem is solvable and the time after where it isn’t. I believe we are sadly in the time after already.

    There are just so many guns out there now how could you possibly enforce people willingly giving them up? And even if people did …it would be the ones that never would of used them in a criminal way …that did. The ones we really need to get the guns away from are the criminals who would never willingly give them up. So what is the answer…do we send send police and military in to confiscate them….can you you imagine the blood shed then? Kind of an irony….we are going to take your guns away but using guns.

    And what about planes…I am sure the 3000 people who lost their lives in the twin towers wish planes never existed. What about the thousands who die in bomb attacks…knife attacks ….and the biggest killer by far…cars and trucks …do we take all those away too?

    I spend a lot of time alone so I ponder this all the time and it is sad but I believe the tipping point has passed on a great many things and the only way I believe we will ever come together and really work on these issues is if we have a global threat ….something that will scare the living daylights out of every single human living on this planet at the same time. I don’t know what that could be…perhaps the realization we are not alone in the universe and others want our world…or a global pandemic …..what ever it is …it needs to be huge enough to make the whole world stop and take notice.

    But in the mean time ….the only thing I can do …is to go walk on my beach….ponder on the ripples in the sand and try to be the best person I can be and do no harm to others.


    • I agree there’s a point where things are so out of control it gets harder to make changes, and I agree that we’re past that point. But I still don’t see why we can’t outlaw automatic guns, and as they turn up, they get confiscated…or exchanged for something else…or something. I know it will be way beyond my lifetime that they’re all collected…but I think we have to start somewhere.

      I don’t think we take away things like planes and trucks and knives, I think those are in a different category of dangerous. I think bombs are in the same category as assault weapons and should be outlawed and maybe already are.

      It’s complicated…but I still think we shouldn’t give up trying to make things safer.


  8. I feel a lot like you do. Automatic guns should not be for sale for the general public. I do understand that people might need a gun to protect their property but there should be a limit to how many guns a person can have in a household. My dad deer hunted and had guns when I was growing up but we were scared of the guns. He taught us to shoot one that really kicked hard I think it was a shotgun but I can not remember for sure.
    In his later years he no longer hunted but just enjoyed watching the wildlife. It bothers me that so many people are carrying guns now and I know in some cases it has saved lives but is has also cost many lives.
    We can not always be in fear of the person standing next to us but there has to be away to be able to protect our families.


    • I try not to think about how many guns actually surround me when I’m out and about. I remember I was doing a mortgage application once, sitting in my office, and the client on the other side of the desk was an FBI agent. When he opened his briefcase to get his documents there was one of the biggest guns I had ever seen. I jumped. Actually it might have been the first gun I’ve ever seen in real life. He left his briefcase open while we continued, until I finally told him I’d feel a lot better if he closed it…and he laughed and did. I guess he was used to it, but I sure wasn’t.


  9. Well, Dawn, good for you, opening this discussion. You’re right — it’s complicated, and it’s hard as hell. I wrote about it myself after an incident years back, but they just keep coming, don’t they? was what I had to say back then.

    One pro-military-weapons-for-civilians argument that seems especially weak to me is that Americans may need to protect their homes against the government. Guns against planes, helicopters, etc., etc.? Not gonna work. We can’t trust blindly in our government, it’s true — but we have to BE our government! And that goes for reasonable laws.

    And yes, follow the money. It’s big monied interests being protected, not law-abiding Americans.
    As a general rule, anyway, though always with exceptions….


    • I wrote a blog post in 2015, happened on it looking for something else, with “Conflicted” as a title and it basically says the same thing I’ve said here and what you’ve said in your two blogs. Sad that we are writing the exact same thing so many years later.


  10. What beautiful photos amid such a timely topic, Dawn. I’ve owned a gun for years. I don’t shoot big or little animals, and the only time I can imagine myself using it is if my life (or the life of a loved one) was in danger. That said, you’re absolutely right — NOBODY needs an assault rifle (except the military in our country’s defense). Here in downstate Illinois, we’re more rural, and I think a lot of people fear that, if assault rifles are banned, private gun ownership will be next. That’s a scary thing because it leaves the average citizen without protection at all if protection should become necessary.

    Yes, it’s a complicated topic, made more difficult by the powerful lobbyists on both sides. I never feared for my safety when I was in school, and it saddens me how many kids now do. But seriously, shouldn’t we as a people be able to compromise??


  11. You are courageous to take up this topic. As long as I can remember (we lived in Holland) no one had a gun. Even the police did not carry one, only a club (a small baseball kind of bat). Agree that the constitution was written in a different time.
    The controversy remains though, because it’ s the criminals who abuse the assault rifles. Now, for the past 5 years I live in an area surrounded by vets. Everyone has a few “somethings.” I don’t feel less safe though, actually safer, because I know they would defend me and hubby with their life.
    If we ban assault rifles, it’s still the criminals who will get hold of it on the black market, while normal citizen’s cannot defend themselves! That side trips me up!
    Thanks for your visit on my blog:)
    Oh, am also inviting you to link your stories to All Seasons, a photolink open from Sunday – Friday noon – I think you will like it, because you are writing about experiences. To give you an idea, this link (it’s not from this week. the title always starts with All Seasons – ….


    • Do the police in Holland have guns now? Or are they still using the club? I don’t agree that if we ban assault rifles the normal citizen wouldn’t be able to defend themselves. I do agree that it would be very difficult to keep the guns that already exist out of the hands of the bad guys. I also think it’s possible all the vets around you who have a little something don’t necessarily have automated rifles. But maybe they do, I really have no experience. I’d enjoy (or maybe not enjoy, that’s not the right word) talking to retired vets about this. I would imagine they are not all on the same page either. Thanks for your input! I agree with quite a bit of it!


  12. Well everyone, thank you for your thought provoking comments. Some of you have sent me articles and ideas outside the comment section of this blog. That’s good too. I’m trying to get to everything. Maybe I’ll consolidate it all and write another blog post in the near future.

    For now, Katie and I are going camping for a few days so I’ll be away from the blog. I didn’t want you to think I was ignoring the topic or you. We’re just taking a break. We’ll be back and I’m pretty sure Katie will have a lot to say.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Hi – I feel as if you are right in that people should not own those really war-like
    Guns –
    And also agree with the mental health aspect underpinning –
    Anyhow – hope your camping days are peaceful and prayers
    and good thoughts to all
    Of those impacted by the recent gun violence


    • Thank you for commenting, maybe most of the country feels like a middle ground compromise would work…it’s the fringes that are so steeped in their fear that won’t allow any movement toward the center. As in many things, when you think about it.

      Liked by 1 person

  14. Beautifully written Dawn, with images. Assault rifles have no place in the hands of average citizens, and background checks are also to blame. It does come down to money. Over lives.


  15. Sorry to be slow in replying to this, but I do want to comment. I believe there is a healthy middle ground between “don’t take my guns” and “the guns must go.” The problem is that interest groups harden the viewpoints until it seems there is no middle ground. The issue becomes one of ego and self identity rather than one of a balance of constitutional freedoms and public safety.

    For instance, almost everyone owns a car, and owning and driving a car entails testing and licensing, and plenty of restrictions of use–speed, signaling, direction, and many more restrictions. People live with these restrictions, though, because they see the utility of the rules. We are safer; fewer people die, including people we know. If people repeatedly don’t follow driving laws, they are denied the right to drive.

    Yet because of the hardening of viewpoints and the deliberate inflaming of fear, such a dialogue as at one time took place regarding automobile traffic and regulation does not happen. Truly, in the early years of automobiles, there were no rules of the road. People had to sit down and talk it through.

    I hope our nation reaches a point where we can approach the topic of gun regulation with the same practical perspective that we have about regulating the use of cars.


  16. I am not sure what the answer is. I have a permit to carry. I have my own firearm. I know how to shoot it…and I have pretty good aim. Perhaps someone with a permit to carry will end up protecting some people from a mad man. Who knows:)


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