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Huckleberries Online

Madsen: US should educate about guns like it does about safe sex

Sue Lani Madsen (SR photo)
Sue Lani Madsen (SR photo)

We’ve just had another round of the same old useless shouting match about guns and gun control. Let’s pause the non-conversation and look at gun violence as a public health issue, like other matters of life and death.

Like sex, for example.

Children are naturally curious about sex. They see sexual activity portrayed onscreen in ways beyond their full comprehension. Much of it is wrong, or misleading. How many times in a movie or video series have you seen anyone pull out a condom before a casual hookup?

Advocates for Youth is a typical public health nonprofit that believes “adolescents have a fundamental human right to accurate and comprehensive sexual health information.” They publish a guide for parents called “Talking with TV” to help parents provide context, correct what’s shown on the screen and teach their family’s values. They believe in teaching rights, respect and responsibilities.

But not every family takes advantage of educational resources or has those difficult conversations. Most school districts fill the gap by providing sex education as part of the health curriculum.

If parents think they have the bases covered or object to their children being educated on the mechanics of sex, they can excuse their children from class.

What if we took the same approach with guns?

Craver Middle School in Colorado City made headlines when they provided a three-day firearms education course in the classroom. Students learned the history of firearms and the Second Amendment, how to use different types, when to use them, and safety rules for handling firearms. The third day was spent at a firing range, taking away the mystery and teaching rights, respect and responsibilities.

Just as with sex education, the best training begins at home. More from Sue Lani Madsen (subscription required).



Huckleberries Online

D.F. Oliveria started Huckleberries Online on Feb. 16, 2004. Oliveria's Sunday print Huckleberries is a past winner of the national Herb Caen Memorial Column contest.