gun rights


by CAM EDWARDS,  |  published on February 19, 2013

“Think of the children.” I’ve heard that a lot lately, or variations thereof. One woman recently chided me on Twitter with the following: “Imagine if you had kids! Think about others instead of your pocketbook suffering. You don’t need automatic guns to shoot deer.

I don’t have to imagine having kids. I actually have five of them, from a 26-year old daughter to 7-year old twins. Just like every gun-owning parent I know, I love them more than I love my firearms. And I know first hand that gun control laws like a ban on commonly owned firearms, tough restrictions for legal gun purchases, and even mandatory background checks on all gun sales won’t do a thing to protect my kids. I know this because my oldest two children spent years living in the crime-ridden hellhole of Camden, New Jersey.

I didn’t grow up in a household with guns. My parents divorced when I was eight, and despite my mom growing up in rural Oklahoma, she never expressed an interest in firearms. As a result, I was like most non-gun owners growing up; I didn’t think much about the issue of gun control at all. That changed when I was 22 years old and fell in love with a woman I met online.

Elaine was nine years older than I was, but that didn’t matter to me. She was a single mom of two, and that didn’t bother me either. We would talk on the computer for hours every night, and then spend hours more on the phone before drifting off to sleep for a few precious minutes of sleep. She regaled me with stories of life in Camden; the night a guy named Turtle came to her neighbor’s door and began firing shots randomly while she and the kids huddled on the floor. Elaine called 911 to report Turtle’s rampage, but the police never responded. Ever. Then there was the drugged out neighbor who lived upstairs and calmly sat on one end of her burning couch one afternoon, smoking a cigarette and waiting for the firefighters while the smoke from her smoldering furniture filled the room. It was hard for a guy who grew up in the suburbs of Oklahoma City to truly understand what life was like for her there in Camden… until the night I thought she’d been murdered.

It was a normal evening for us; we’d spent the first part of the night on the computer and then as the hour grew late I called her and lay on my bed as we talked about our future together. We were growing sleepy when I heard something I’d never heard before; the sound of gunshots. I knew they had to be close for me to hear them over the phone, and with some alarm I asked Elaine if she was okay. She didn’t answer.

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