I had an experience Saturday that has happened before but I find myself wondering. First, what happened is that I was in a fast-food restaurant and someone came up to me and told me that he admires my bravery for wearing the shirt I had on. It was a t-shirt that said,”One Tough Mother” on the front and “Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America” on the back.
Now, I feel validated to have had not one but two people, in two separate locations, at two widely spaced times come up to me and tell me that they admire me for wearing the t-shirt that speaks up for common sense gun laws. By the way, the first time it happened, I was wearing a shirt that said “Be Nice to Each Other It’s Really All That Matters” on the front and the same “Moms Demand Action…” on the back. It’s good to know that some people are looking at the message I’m wearing. It’s even better to know that some people agree with the message. And even better than that, is that some people feel so strongly about the issue that they are empowered to speak to a complete stranger about the issue.
Still, the part that troubles me is that these people think I’m “brave” because I am wearing a t-shirt with a specific message. Brave? How? Am I somehow risking my life, my health, my loved ones because I choose to wear a message that I have strong feelings about? I certainly hope my fellow citizens have not sunk to a level wear it is dangerous to wear a t-shirt with a message with which they may not agree.
My reason for wearing these t-shirts, and for ordering another which hasn’t arrived yet, is that I feel the message needs to be repeated, shared, repeated, spread, and repeated until the laws in this country are changed and enforced to protect innocents from the danger of injury or death from guns. I think that perhaps, if everyone who believes that we need to change the laws to protect the innocent from slaughter wore a t-shirt like mine, we’d see these shirts everywhere.
So, I’m happy that people speak to me about my t-shirt’s message. I feel validated by their words. But I’m not brave. No, the children and teachers in every school every day who have to wonder if this is the day that a crazy person comes in to kill them with a gun, they are the brave ones. The members and families of the LGBT community who have to fear that going out to a public place could result in their deaths at the hands of a maniac with a gun, they are the brave ones. The members of law enforcement who face the insane and uncivilized law-breakers while trying to keep or make us safe and find themselves out-gunned, they are the brave ones.
For now, all I can do is vote, vote, vote! All I can do is write my blog and letters to the editor of my newspaper, and post on Facebook. All I can do is speak up whenever and wherever I hope to make a difference. All I can do is wear my t-shirts proudly and hope my message reaches someone who can make a difference.