DEAR AMY: My brother-in-law and I don’t have a particularly good relationship, and one of the sticking points is gun ownership. He believes in the right to carry (openly), and I think guns should be carried only by police. Every time I ask him not to bring guns near our family (we have three young children), he gets unbelievably offended. Is there a polite way to ask him to please leave his guns at home? Among other things, this issue is causing our wives (the sisters) to be unable to spend time together. Any suggestions?
DEAR DAD: Your first job is to try to protect your children, regardless of who might be offended by your effort.
It is a sad and very grim fact that the most likely victims of accidental shootings are children. Children between the ages of 3 and 5 are particularly vulnerable.
According to an investigation by the AP and USA Today Network in 2016 (which analyzed 1,000 children killed or injured through accidental shootings), every other day a young child in America is killed with a gun.
Several years ago, I profiled a dozen young gunshot fatalities (ranging in age from a few months old to 5 years old), interviewing their parents and siblings. Here is the first line from that story: “One thing you notice, as the stories unfold, is how the youngest victims of accidental shootings tend to be shot in the head — how natural it is, when you are a child and playing with a loaded gun, to point it at your friend’s face and go ‘boom.’ ”
All parents should always check to see if another family has unsecured guns in the home before allowing children to visit. Educate your children explicitly about gun danger and gun safety.
I grew up with guns and hunting, and still live in a local culture where some kids (and parents) play hooky for the first day of hunting season. But all responsible gun owners use gun safes, and that is where they keep their deadly weapons — not slung on their hips.
If your brother-in-law refuses to relinquish his weapon, unless he controls his wife’s movements, there is no reason why these two (unarmed) women can’t get together.
DEAR AMY: My husband and I have been married for nine years. He has a 20-year-old son from his first marriage, and we have a daughter together. My husband has remained close with his ex-wife’s family. We have had a good relationship with his ex. She and her four siblings continue to invite us to most family get-togethers, and we’ve spent holidays together. I attend their events with my husband and daughter, and endure it for my stepson and husband’s sake, even though I am quite uncomfortable. Now, my husband’s ex-wife’s niece is getting married. Of course, we will attend the wedding. Her (ladies only) bridal shower is coming up, and my husband is insisting that I attend. Although I know the women in this family, to me, it is torture to have to go to this shower alone. It’s one thing when my husband is there, but without him, I don’t see any reason to go. I would, of course, still send a gift. I have “sucked it up” too many times to count. We have argued about this, and he even went so far as to say that I shouldn’t ask him to do anything with my family anymore. I believe he is disrespecting me for trying to force me to do something I don’t want to do. I am a grown woman, for goodness sake, and I should be allowed to make my own decisions. Your insight?
DEAR DISTRAUGHT: Your husband does not get to tell you to “suck it up” for a wedding shower. People have to suck it up for Thanksgiving dinner, or funerals, but a wedding shower can be a dreadful event, even if you don’t feel awkward and out of place.
If your husband wants a family representative at this shower, maybe you could loan him a nice pair of peau de soie pumps, and he can go in your place.
DEAR AMY: Regarding the letter from “What May I Say?”, who wanted to know whether it was OK to tell her close friends that the reason for her divorce was her husband’s cheating, my advice would have been for her to say, “I wasn’t the perfect wife myself, but he made some conscious, unfortunate choices that the marriage just could not overcome.”
DEAR BEEN THERE: Great response.