I feel very bad for any parent that loses a child, especially in a school shooting.
I have two children and I love them. I cannot imagine the grief that would come from losing one and the sense of betrayal that would come from one being murdered in school, where they are supposed to be safe.
If the loss of a child motivates you to make changes and engage in politics, that is completely fair.
What I have a hard time with is other parents using that grief to lecture those not responsible for their child’s death.
We’ve seen this countless times, where the parents of school shootings victims don’t work for safer schools but attack law-abiding gun owners and the NRA.
The LA Times published such an opinion. That’s not a shocker.
It was the person who wrote the opinion and the line of attack they chose that pissed me off.
A foreigner not familiar with America’s gun culture is going to attack American’s gun culture.
Where is this parent from that doesn’t have a gun culture? The UK? Australia? Japan?
When we sent our daughter Sabika to study in the United States from Pakistan, we were not fully aware of the gun culture there. That’s not something the exchange program warned us about. We thought she would be safe.
Instead, a few days before she was scheduled to return from her year abroad in Houston, Texas, she was one of 10 people shot and killed by a classmate in the Santa Fe High School shooting in May of 2018. We were devastated.
It’s not as if we don’t have violence in Pakistan. In 2014 we had a horrific school shooting in Peshawar. A total of 141 students and faculty were massacred in what was, for me, the darkest moment in my country’s history. But all of the shooters were foreign terrorists, and since then, heightened security and restricted access to guns has helped ensure that nothing like that has happened again.
I’m going to stop you right there.
The terrorist cell that attacked the Peshawar school was Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), the Pakistani branch of the Taliban. So while the attackers might have been foreign nationals, they were part of the Pakistani terrorist group that is trying to impose radical Islamist control on the country.
As for Pakistani gun control and everything else in she is about to say, let me retort.
First of all, while Pakistan might not have the school shootings that we do, they have far more Islamic terrorist bombings with much higher body counts than we do.
But bombings are just the tip of the Pakistani cultural differences iceberg.
From Deutsche Welle:
Violence against women on the rise in Pakistan
Pakistan ranks as the sixth most dangerous country in the world for women, with cases of sexual crimes and domestic violence recording a rapid rise. Activists blame society’s patriarchal attitudes for the problem
From The Express Tribune:
KARACHI: Pakistan is among those countries where 70% women and girls experience physical or sexual violence in their lifetime by their intimate partners and 93% women experience some form of sexual violence in public places in their lifetime.
More than 100,000 cases of human rights violations have been reported across Pakistan over the past five years, according to the country’s National Police Bureau. The crimes include murders, honor killing, sexual assault, acid attacks and violence against women and children.
The data was collected by Pakistan’s Ministry of Human Rights and police officials, according to reports released Tuesday. The numbers reflect only crimes that were reported and investigated by the police, and it is likely that these numbers paint an incomplete picture of the crimes taking place in Pakistan.
The data was released shortly after the rape and murder of a seven-year-old girl in the city of Kasur sparked a national debate about sexual assault and violence in the country. Zainab Ansari, a child whose body was discovered in a garbage dump in January, was killed by a sexual predator who allegedly had a history of child abuse. Analysts say the case called attention to a culture of silence around sexual abuse in the country.
There is an Oscar-winning documentary, available on YouTube, that follows a plastic surgeon that has done helped more than 150 women who were disfigured in acid attacks in Pakistan.
According to the Human Rights Watch World Report for 2019:
Violence against women and girls—including rape, so-called honor killings, acid attacks, domestic violence, and forced marriage—remains a serious problem. Pakistani activists estimate that there are about 1,000 “honor” killings every year.
In June, the murder of 19-year-old Mahwish Arshad in Faisalabad district, Punjab, for refusing a marriage proposal gained national attention. According to media reports, at least 66 women were murdered in Faisalabad district in the first six months of 2018, the majority in the name of “honor.”
Back to the LA Times OpEd:
Earlier this year, my husband and I visited Houston with our three remaining children to see the school she had loved and meet her host families. It was a difficult trip. During a layover in Istanbul on our way to Texas, one of our children begged us to abandon our plans and go back to Karachi.
Because Texas is much more dangerous than Pakistan…
On our flight from Houston, Sania sat next to an older passenger and started talking to her. She shared the story of Sabika’s death, and this woman told her that she lost her 44-year-old son to gun violence, leaving her three grandchildren with no father. My daughter and this complete stranger began crying together. She told Sania that more measures need to be taken to limit access to guns. I can’t understand why more Americans don’t see that need.
What kind of access limitations. the Santa Fe shooter was 17, he stole his dad’s guns, he didn’t buy his own.
I don’t know what we expected from our trip, but the colorful image of life in the U.S. that Sabika always painted for us on the phone was not the world we experienced. Without her there, all we saw was black and white.
I blame myself for not knowing more about gun violence in the U.S. before I allowed Sabika to study there. But I also blame your gun culture.
America’s gun culture is overwhelmingly a culture of law-abiding citizens who enjoy shooting and hunting.
School shootings have nothing to do with gun culture and are a reflection of a new American culture of nihilism, hopeless young men, and broken families.
That is not something that the NRA or law-abiding American gun owners endorse.
I could speak about this all day, but I’m not in the mood to defend America’s gun culture from a woman who comes from a country with a culture of child abuse, rape, violence against women, and human rights violations.
I’m sorry that her daughter was shot in the United States. I really am.
But the likelihood of that happening was far, far less than the likelihood of her daughter being raped and then having her face melted off with battery acid if she tried to report her attack in her home town.