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.