I’ve Waited Five Years to Feel Safe Enough to Send My Son to Kindergarten.

Originally featured in the ADN May 25, 2022

I grew up shooting guns. We had family safety classes and strict gun rules. I went on hunts. I practiced shooting a .22 and a .410 and pistols. There were guns under my mom and stepdad’s bed in my childhood home. They were propped against the wall next to the wood stove during caribou, sheep, moose and trapping seasons. There was always a case of bullet casings to be refilled on the kitchen table. There were rifles behind Carhartt shirts in the closet. Since my grandfather’s passing, my family is still parceling out guns that have been in my family for generations.

I understand guns and I dearly love people who have them — in their trucks ready to hunt a spruce grouse at a moment’s notice. In their gun safes. In their homes.

I’ve also spent a lot of time away from my hometown of Palmer. I’ve traveled the Tube in London before and after the bombings on July 7, 2005. I dined in the Leopold Café and wandered through the Taj Palace Hotel in Mumbai a few months before the bombing and hostage crisis. I regularly visit Belfast, where my husband grew up during the violence of the Troubles, including current periodic flashpoints.

And never have I felt more terrified to be in public and private spaces than in my own home country. I live two doors down from a home where a mother and two of her young children were shot and murdered in their beds.

My son starts kindergarten in August. You know what my top consideration is for choosing a school?

Read the entire commentary here.

The Cult of “Not our Responsibility” Isn’t Alaskan.

Originally featured in the ADN July 11, 2019

“Alaskans are generous.

At any given moment, I know at least 15 people who would be willing to drop what they’re currently doing and come dig my car out of my driveway. Or better yet, be the random stranger who stops to help dig me out of the ditch. Or in this heat, lend me a paddling pool and some frozen moose steaks to ease my flaming sunburn.

And these aren’t just people with whom I share bits of DNA. To be Alaskan is to be family in the best sense of the word. It’s bigger than blood. Bigger than surnames. Bigger than bumper stickers and vehicle models.

Read the entire commentary here.