JUST WHAT THE DOCTOR ORDERED

docs and gunsSince the tragedy in December at Sandy Hook and the resulting rhetoric from Obama’s gun control proposal allowing physicians to ask about firearms in the home, I have waited for the other shoe to drop each time I visit the doctor.  The proposal stating that a patient could be asked to disclose if they have firearms in their home has left me unsettled.  Will he ask, when will he ask, and just how politely will I be able to say, “It’s none of your business”.

In instances of mental health issues, domestic abuse or circumstances of violent or suicidal inclination, I can see the relevance of such a question.  But, from an everyday stance – I fail to see why a physician should act as a mouthpiece for an overly intrusive political state of gun grabbers.  We go to physicians for advice on health and wellness not to hear their views on firearms.

In the state of Missouri there had been a bill presented to require parents to disclose all firearms to the school districts in which they lived.  For those with concerns about a return of Nazi type tactics to control and suppress the population, this proposal sent up a red flag.  Many immediately balked.  I, in fact, seriously entertained the proposition that if this disclosure was made a requirement to continued enrollment of my children in the school district’s public school system, perhaps my children didn’t need to be part of the public school system after all.

Plenty of people home school, and I am aware of the vast resources available to those who do.  I certainly have the intelligence to plan and teach lessons and there is something to be said for gearing education to the specific learning needs of an individual child – something the public school system cannot do.  But, given the need of children for social interaction and peer groups, I have always set that idea aside.  Luckily, for those of us living in the state of Missouri, it appears as if this bill has all but vanished from the mindset of our legislators.  True, it will probably rear its ugly head once again – but for now it is gone.

With these thoughts of overreaching squarely in the rear-view mirror, I took my son to the pediatrician yesterday.  It was the ordinary stuff.  Eye charts and blood pressure, height and weight – they took all the usual stats and made the calculations, as one would expect.  3.5 inches in a year and 10 pounds since May, my boy is growing!  We discussed school, grades, and interactions with siblings and classmates.

Overall, he’s pretty much a normal kid – in the 60th percentile for height – no burning areas of concern health wise.  No questions, no invasiveness, and no awkward moments where I had to politely tell a man I respect to mind his own business.  We walked out of the office with a five page “after visit summary”.  Safely home, I perused the document.

Much of it was statistics of growth patterns, dietary recommendations, and common sense things that most experienced mothers of three already know and do – except for the final paragraph under safety admonishing me to keep all firearms out of the home.  Further, it stated that if firearms are “necessary” that they should be safely stored, ammo locked separately from firearms.

I am the first parent to say that guns and unsupervised children, and sometimes even supervised ones, don’t mix.  I lost a classmate in grade school when he and a friend, playing with a parent’s loaded revolver, went off.  I have been consistently contentious in teaching my children about firearms in our home and those in their friend’s homes.  And, unfortunately, due to a series of losses – none of which were gun related – my children have a firm understanding of what it means when someone or something you love dies.

When we brought firearms into the home for personal protection, we also bought a safe to go with it – of which only my husband and I have the combination.  We understand and have taken the necessary steps to protect our children from their natural curiosity.

That said, I have taken my children to the same pediatrician for nine years and do not recall ever seeing this particular directive before.  I was appalled, incensed really – define necessary.  Is your definition of necessary different than mine, because I see my firearms as a tool to keep my children safe?  They are necessary BECAUSE I have children, because many times I am home alone, at all hours of the day and night, with my children and I need to be able to defend them.  Because strangers intent on harm will not wait 15 minutes for the police to show up, if indeed they do.  I have had strangers walk onto our property and peer into my dining room window – scaring my 2-year-old child and me out of our wits.  Since he left our property while I was on the phone with the sheriff’s department, the police never even came.

To tell me, as a parent, a directive stating that I shouldn’t have firearms in my home unless they were “necessary” is beyond the pale, invasive and overreaching.  Sorry, Dr. R., this is one order I will not be following.

About the author: Dawn Shockley

As a political science student Dawn Shockley wrote for a number of local and college newspapers and, after college, designed and wrote newsletters and press releases for a variety of jobs and volunteer projects. In addition, she had a few small poetry pieces published, but freely admits to having kept the better stuff to herself in hopes of one day putting together a collection of her poems and short stories. After marriage, when life became busy and messy, writing, a lifetime love and confidant, was often the last on a long list of things be addressed - a devoted, albeit neglected, friend. With a political science background, she is passionate about civil liberties and the preservation of our national ideals, rights and history, for herself and for the generations to come; and has found her writing to be a great tool in forwarding that passion. She is a mother of three children and lives in Missouri with her husband, her children and their five dogs.

View all articles by Dawn Shockley
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