Folks, I need a reality check again. You’ve been great in the past, so I’m turning to the collective wisdom of the dope once again. Here’s my dilemma:
I’m a stay at home dad and getting involved in my son’s new school. He’s 6 and just starting first grade. I’m getting to know other parents, volunteering in the classroom, that sort of thing. When he was three, trusquirt was diagnosed as being on the Autism spectrum. Through therapy and a wonderful specialized pre-school & kindergarten, he has progressed incredibly well. He is now age appropriate for speech, and doing well in a regular community school with some additional support to help him learn social skills, especially with peers, as he is an only child. We’ve done a lot of work with him to help him learn to be a good friend & play partner. So far, he seems to be getting along with his classmates, who have shrugged off moments of less typical behavior, and I’m hoping he may make some friends with whom he can play after school, especially since there are no kids his age on our street. As part of this, I’m being very careful to get off on a good footing with parents of kids in my son’s class.
Now the crux of the issue: so far, I have kept the fact that I shoot guns for a hobby deeply hidden, especially in circles where it might be learned by someone at school… This is out of fear that other parents may decide to prevent their kids from associating and playing with my son. If someone decides they want nothing to do with me because I shoot, that’s fine with me, but I don’t want this to hurt my son in an area where he is is already more vulnerable. The matter is not helped by the fact I shoot handguns, which have an even worse image in Canada, and am considering doing so competitively next summer.
The matter was brought to a kind of head this week, when I returned from a shooting course my lovely wife offered me near Las Vegas. I wrestled with how to talk about my absence with the group of parents I see when I drop my son off at school. In the end, I opted to keep the genie in the bottle and lied, saying I was on a golf training course. That bugged me. I try to avoid lying as much as possible, and it felt wrong and cowardly, but I would do much to protect my son.
I know that the cat will come out of the bag one day, if only because my son will tell a friend. I hope that will be after we have had some time to establish some relationships between the families, and the other parents will have gotten a chance to know me a little better. Right now, our son isn’t very interested in shooting, and, while I haven’t lied to him about it, I have kept it very low-profile, being careful not to excite his curiosity too much. He asked if I would teach him one day, and I promised I would when he is old enough, just like I will teach him to use the lawn-mower and the sharp kitchen knives to cut vegetables. His interest in all three of these activities appears to be about the same, which it to say, very mild, and that’s fine with me right now.
I am very strict about firearm safety, and comply with all the Canadian storage laws. My guns are kept unloaded, trigger-locked, and in a safe. Reasonable concerns expressed by other parents who want to make sure their kids are safe if they come over do not worry me. In fact, I would welcome them as a sign these parents are on the ball. However, the gun forums I read are replete with stories of ostracism and shunning of gun owners and their kids. Now these forums obviously have an agenda and are quite conservative, hence the need for a reality check.
Especially if you are Canadian, or an American who otherwise considers yourself to be socially liberal, or have no personal history with firearms, can you tell me how YOU would react, if you learned that one of your kids friend’s father was into shooting handguns as a hobby?
How much do I need to stay in the gun closet?
Please be honest. If you would tell your kid not to play with that child anymore, you would do me a great service if you told me so.