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Recent events remind us we can’t worry about tomorrow

When my son was born nearly four years ago, I would find myself standing by his crib staring at him as he slept.

And I would worry — worry about whether we were doing the right things to keep him from harm’s way.

In those days, chemicals, germs, small toys and electrical outlets were things that worried me the most.

These days I stand by his bed and I worry about other things — strangers bursting into school buildings with semi-automatic weapons and pressure cookers filled with nails exploding in the streets.

I try not to think about such things when I kiss him good night. Gibson likes to sleep with his head resting on his hands with his arm folded backwards and his legs crossed, It is a position that makes him look like he is totally at peace — totally unaware of the dangers that may lurk just down the street.

Over the past few weeks, I have listened carefully to the voices of people who think they have the answer to what will make our communities safe.

Many of those standing up for the right to bear arms, promised to all Americans in the second amendment, think they have the answer.

For them, an armed guard at each and every schoolhouse door is what parents need to feel like their children are safe when they go to class.

Others have a very different vision.

Those who want to see guns banned to the trash pile think they have the answer, too. Get rid of semi-automatic rifles, they say. Get rid of the magazines that hold the bullets. Until the guns are gone, parents will not feel that their children are safe, they advocate.

No matter our political persuasion, we look to our elected leaders to bring back remembered or misremembered days of innocence when we didn’t have to lock our doors at night. We look for them to legislate the return of our safety.

As a parent, I wonder if any legislation is the answer at all.

This week we saw a group of teens board a Concordia Parish School bus brandishing fake guns and shooting school children with pellets.

I am thankful that the guns were not real, but if they were, all of those armed guards standing at the schoolhouse entrances would not be able to come to the aide of a bus under attack.

Those who think getting rid of guns is the answer only have to look at the Boston Marathon bombing to realize that a couple of teens armed with pressure cookers can kill and maim as much as any rifle or gun.

As one parent told me last week, “There is much to be worried about (as a parent these days).”

Another friend mentioned on the day of the Boston Marathon bombings that she would never go back to visit a big city again.

These days when cellphones beep and chime with the latest news alerts from across the world, running and hiding is almost reflexive.

I would like to place my son in a bubble and keep him safe from all of the life dangers.

But what kind of life are we left with if we are constantly worrying and hiding from fear?

Time spent worrying about tomorrow is time spent not living today.

It is something I try to remind myself when I tuck my child into bed each night.


Ben Hillyer is the design editor of The Natchez Democrat. He can be reached at 601-445-3540 or by e-mail at ben.hillyer@natchezdemocrat.com.