A Facebook friend posted the questions her pediatrician asked at the kids' annual check up. Along with the usual how are you feeling issues, the doctor asked if there were firearms in the home, and, if so, how they were kept safe. Was there a locked gun cabinet?
Imagine if the Newtown shooter's mother had been asked that question. Twenty six innocents would have celebrated the holidays with their families if minimal safety precautions had been followed in that home. With all I imagine she had on her plate, perhaps that mother just couldn't deal with one more purchase, with one more errand, with one more thing to remember.
What if her family doctor or gynecologist had asked those two simple questions at her regular appointment? The guns would have been seen as health threats, as well as
More important, would she have looked at the weapons in a different light? Would their appearance in the doctor's visit have opened her eyes to the damage they might cause? Couched in the language of the Constitution, of the legal system, of rights and governmental interference, the death dealing nature of the objects is often lost. Talking about safety while wearing a flimsy paper gown might bring the reality home in a new way.
A friend is involved with Tucson's Healthy You Network, an outreach organization designed to move America's palate to a plant based diet. He's energized and exuding health; there's nothing pale and weak about him. We talked about childhood obesity and variety in the American child's food options and mostly we talked about how very very sad it all is. I told him about eating spinach with the Prince Elementary kids and we sighed.... how does one get to be eight years old without ever having seen a spinach leaf?
Remember Wonder Bread builds healthy bodies 12 different ways? There may have been more hyperbole than truth in that advertising slogan, but the message was profound: what goes inside shapes the outside. I'm not finding that message as ubiquitous these days.
Instead, we have arguments over whether the First Lady should be haranguing the citizenry about broccoli. We argue governmental interference or indifference. We get nothing done. Perhaps it is time to change our focus, to bring the conversation back to those things we can control when we wonder if our children are healthy and safe.
We can't exclude all the bad stuff from their lives, but we can make a start. We can accept responsibility within our own families to insure that it takes the bad things just a little bit longer to happen, that we're conscious of the risks and we're mindful of them each and every day.
An apple a day keeps the doctor away is a, now that I think about it, relatively snarky rhyme which is permanently embedded in my brain. Food pyramids or plates or calorie counts on the menu are less important to my behavior than that message, a part of my growing up, which empowered me to control my destiny.
Can it be that all we need is a slogan? Probably not..... but it couldn't hurt. Until we decide on a good one, I'm going to aim some thought towards influencing ObamaCare's Best Practices Board to include gun safety questions in their "How to Interview a Patient" brochure.