the one thing i want for my birthday

by Krystal Bick
February 19, 2018

I’d like to start today’s post with a disclaimer and a note for context.Β 

First, the disclaimer. Today’s post is a serious subject. One that may seem polarizing for many people. And one that I recognize isn’t necessarily the reason why you come to this site in the first place. I’d like to underscore the fact that my intentions are never to alienate or isolate anyone for what they believe in — and even if we disagree, I think there’s plenty of opportunity in that disagreement to open up discussion and dialogue for change that we all can get behind.

Next, a note for context. Today is my 32nd birthday. And while I had every intention to post my originally scheduled content (a round up of 32 things I’ve learned thus far, which will be postponed to next Monday), last Wednesday’s events in Florida have shaken me in a way that it no longer felt appropriate to NOT say anything on this platform of mine, with so many like-minded amazing women (and men) who I consider more as friends, than “followers.”

Today, we’re going to talk about gun violence.

I can already hear the “Stay in your lane” comments now. And I get that. I’m not an expert in public policy, nor do I completely understand the ins and outs of gun legislation and how it’s influenced — but you know what? I’d like to understand it more. And perhaps you do, too? And perhaps you don’t — either way, we’ll be back to regular programming tomorrow, complete with outfit posts, hair tutorials and Fashion Week roundups. In the meantime, I sincerely hope you’ll hear me out and discuss and even debate things with me.

OK, housekeeping items out of the way now? I hope so. Let’s dive in.

Like many of you perhaps, I remember exactly where I was when the Columbine shooting happened back in 1999. I was in the 8th grade at Pine Middle School, sitting in Ms. Dulgar’s afternoon science class. Unlike 8th graders today, I didn’t have a cell phone or any social media to speak of, so I imagine news broke the old fashioned way: word of mouth. I remember sitting there, ready to take notes about cell division, only to see Ms. Dulgar sitting at the front of our classroom, crying. We then turned our TV on to watch the coverage.

As a 13 year old student that day, I felt scared and confused, but also confident that surely, something so horrible, so heinous, so awful couldn’t happen again. Right?

Now, as a 32 year old, still reeling from Florida’s events (and Vegas and countless others), I just Googled the question of “how many school shootings have happened since Columbine.” You want to know what number came up?

207. Now 208 with Parkland. 208.

Today’s post isn’t to paint what you can already see is a pretty grim picture. You don’t need me to spell it for you. So I won’t. But there was something I read over this weekend, while I was debating over whether or not to even write this post, that stuck with me, and eventually convinced me to. My dear friend Keiko posted the following sentiment:

“Imagine if influencers spent as much time talking about gun control as they have talked about the algorithm.”

Ooph. She has a point. As someone who’s dedicated entire posts to “influencing the algorithm in your favor,” and has seen many of her peers do the same with their content and time, I can’t help but see the whopping disparity here. If an influencer can convince you to go through the trouble of unfollowing, then following them again, then liking a bunch of their recent photos, then finally leaving a bunch of comments in hopes they’ll “show up more in your feed” then surely we can talk about this. And debate this. Maybe even act on some of this together.

At this point, I’d like to add a bit of further context. I firmly believe this isn’t necessarily a political debate. This isn’t about conservative vs. liberal values. As a reminder, I grew up in a very conservative state, in a relatively conservative town, with plenty of family members and friends who I love dearly, who are responsible gun owners. I think you can be a gun owner and still believe in stricter, more accountable legislation — nothing about this has to be mutually exclusive.

Therein lies what I think damages this debate too often: that being it’s framed as one or the other — that stricter gun control some how equates to a tyrannical overthrow of the second amendment. And I simply refuse to see if that way. The best analogy, as I’m sure many of you have already read at this point, is comparing this to automobile accidents and fatalities since the 1970s. By studying the causes and factors for these accidents, a number of measures were taken, including mandatory airbags in cars, enforced seat belt laws, stricter sentencing for DUI infractions and implementation of consistent speed limits. Did they fix the problem entirely? No. But it reduced fatalities significantly. We didn’t have to remove cars or ban people from driving them. We simply studied what was contributing to the problem and systematically came up with solutions.

Bottom line: We need more legislators, on both sides of the aisle mind you, that have the backbone to push past NRA and other lobbying groups agendas and financing, to see to it that we can study this problem and pragmatically come up with the steps necessary to CURB gun violence. Required and enforced background checks for ALL gun sales in ALL states would be a start.

I’ll wrap up this very long, rambling essay now, with the one thing I really want for my birthday. It’s not something from Net-A-Porter. And it’s not a fancy dinner somewhere. It’s for each of you, (whoever is still reading at this point), to talk about this issue. With your friends, with your family. Even if it’s uncomfortable. Even if means you don’t see eye to eye with everyone. And if you feel so inclined, to talk to your representatives. How? Well, I’m glad you asked. I’ve recently started following the group Moms Demand Action and Everytown (both great resources for gun violence stats), and they’ve outlined some easy steps to get involved and take action, including calling your representatives. Simply follow the steps outlined here — it’s easy and takes less than 5 minutes. They even give you a script to help put your thoughts into words.

Again, I hope I didn’t make anyone feel singled out or targeted. I will always strive to make this a safe place for conversation and healthy debate — and yes, while we don’t often tackle these types of issues here on This Time Tomorrow, I like to think many of you, in addition to fashion and travel, are also hungry for ways to impact your community and push forward causes and ideas. As always, I’d love to hear from you — let’s chat in the comments below! Or feel free to send me an email.

25 thoughts on “the one thing i want for my birthday

  1. Fantastic post and well said. Thank you for speaking up and writing a well thought out, intelligent post that doesn’t aim to polarize.

  2. Well-said, Krystal! I, too, am not knowledgeable on policy, laws, what influences them, etc., but last week’s tragic event has left me speechless. I’ve thought time and time again, when will it stop? We live in a city that does not slow down, has insanely strong people, the best police force around… yet everywhere I go I get nervous. On the subway, in the movies, on the sidewalk. I don’t feel safe anymore. I loved that you didn’t politicize this because that’s NOT what this is about. I don’t care WHAT political party you belong to, but there’s got to be a change. The only things we need to discuss are: Being human and realizing there’s a damn problem that needs to be fixed…or else it’s just going to happen again. Just like the last time. And the time before that.

    Sorry for the ranting, but I’m so happy you wrote this post! Thank you! xx

    The Champagne Edit

    • Thanks Dana! This means a lot to me to hear! And I completely agree — this isn’t necessarily a Republican vs. Democrat debate. It’s studying evidence and facts to CURB gun violence as much as possible. And I think both sides of the aisle can agree, something has to change with our current set up.

  3. Brighton Claire says:

    Perfectly sensible post. I’m not American so come from a different point of view but I don’t see an issue with people responsibly owning guns for hunting or shooting at specialist gun clubs/ ranges. . I think where I struggle is the military style guns that an ordinary citizen can have. Surely Statutory checks should happen before any license is issued. It’s absolutely shocking how money and power is blocking a sensible debate and politicians seem to be in the pay of lobbyists.

    • Thanks for reading, Brighton and thank you for commenting! My boyfriend and I have this conversation a lot, as he’s from Australia, a country where they’ve banned semi-automatic weapons after their last mass gun shooting in 1996, which has curbed gun violence significantly since.

  4. Great post, but let’s not forget that the only issue isn’t access to guns. While I fully support reasonable gun legislation, we need to also deal with the mental health aspect of the issue.

    • Thank you for your comment, Michelle! I completely agree — there are many aspects of the shooting in Parkland and other recent shootings that highlight how we need to better address and care for mental health in this country.

  5. I am a staunch conservative Republican- I don’t usually like anything political on a fashion/lifestyle blog- I read to get away from the world if you will. That being said- I have had enough- I don’t want another news bulletin of our beautiful children being slaughtered. Something definitely needs to change. I agree that it’s not just gun control, background checks, type of weapons/ammo- let’s really focus on helping those suffering from mental illness as well. I’m somewhat hopeful this time…our kids may be able to turn the tide w/protests & rallies. I’m a voter & will be watching.
    Don’t apologize or worry about alienating your followers. We all need to vocalize and actually do something.
    but on a personal note…Happy Birthday-

  6. Thanks for writing this. I think there is always room, and time, for serious subjects, even in this context. To ignore them completely would be strange. It’s hard to watch many of the things happening in your country the past two decades, and especially the past few years (Canadian) but I sincerely hope you guys can turn things around. I also hope you have a wonderful birthday.

  7. Thank you for posting this and using your platform to talk about this very important issue…it was great to read these words on your blog! I think our best hope lies with an individual lawmaker or a group of them demanding change and really not stopping until they get it. The auto safety measures you outlined in this post are largely thanks to Ralph Nader and his relentless hounding of the auto industry to make cars safer…he pushed and pushed and eventually created the Center for Auto Safety which largely protects consumers from safety issues surrounding cars. I truly hope we had someone like Nader right now in Congress to push and push for legislation to work toward fixing these issues, and I’m not sure we do. Or if we do, he or she hasn’t surfaced yet. Great post, and thanks for sharing your thoughts with us πŸ™‚ oh and Happy Birthday!!

  8. Brave post, Krystal. As you’re probably aware, gun control is strict here in New Zealand and our Police force isn’t armed. My heart breaks for you over there in the States. Good on you for using your role as an influencer to say something meaningful. I truly hope your voice (and others’) affects change in your country, and soon.

  9. I’m completely with you. I don’t have anything to add that you haven’t already said. I hope that we force our government to do right by all of us. It’s us who put them there so we need to make sure that they know we can just as easily get them out. Times up.

  10. 50 years ago guns were just as available as they are today, if not more available. There were actually many more guns in school as many high schools had rifle teams. There weren’t as many shootings however. So something has changed in society, and it hasn’t been the availability of guns. I’d love if our country talked about the real cause and effect, of what makes someone want to kill people, more and stop blaming guns every time something like this happens. More regulations could help I guess, but usually criminals don’t follow the laws.

  11. Krystal, I absolutely love your posts. I think you are absolutely brilliant and so well written! And I think it’s wonderful that you are using your platform to talk about issues like this especially when you are asking for information from BOTH sides and not just shoving your views on those you influence. I am a slightly conservative millennial (I know, you don’t find many of us out there) who is married to a gun owner. While I don’t mind the guns in our home because my husband is responsible and they are locked AND kept in a combination locked safe with no children, I am a believer in stricter gun laws and legislation. My views are this:
    My husband doesn’t use his guns for home safety….we have a security system for that. His are used for hunting and sporting clay and trap shooting. However, he and I both agree that if someone is using their guns RESPONSIBLY and LEGALLY, they really shouldn’t be upset about stricter gun laws and legislation. Because if you are following the rules and are trying to obtain them for sport and doing it legally, there shouldn’t be any reason you would be denied the license to purchase one.
    My only caveat is, I was born and raised outside of Chicago, Illinois which is one of the strictest states in terms of gun laws and legislation yet Chicago has and consistently has the highest gun murder rate in the country. So my question on that is….what do we do in places like that? And I really don’t know the answers on that but hopefully we can change the country which in turn helps the city of Chicago.
    As always, thanks so much for insight and Happy Birthday!

    • Hi Lauren,

      I think you might find these articles informative about Chicago’s gun laws. The issue is quite complicated beyond what this article even covers but the recap is that Chicago doesn’t have as strict of gun laws as one might believe and it borders states with weak gun laws.

      https://www.npr.org/2017/10/05/555580598/fact-check-is-chicago-proof-that-gun-laws-don-t-work
      http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/columnists/glanton/ct-met-gun-control-chicago-dahleen-glanton-20171003-story.html

      And thank you Krystal for this piece! I do use blogs as an “escape” but enough is enough and I’m glad you’re speaking out. I rather help change happen than hear about the algorithm!

      • Thank you for reading Lyss and for your comment! I just had a chance to read through these articles — thank you for passing along! I’m glad this post resonated with you because I do think it’s high time we started talking about it more. Even if it’s uncomfortable. Thank you and have a wonderful weekend!

    • Thank you for reading and for your comment, Lauren! It makes me really happy that we can all discuss and debate this together, without anyone feeling alienated or singled out. I, like you, have several loved ones in my life who are responsible gun owners — responsible gun owners who are completely in favor of stricter gun laws and legislation for all the reasons you listed.

      Of course, Chicago is an interesting case study and after reading some of the links that Lyss listed here, it seems there might be a lot of different factors at play here, including how surrounding areas might affect a certain city’s restrictions. I don’t have the answers either, but I do believe it starts with all of us talking about it and asking more of our legislators to investigate.

      Again, thank you SO much for your comment! It means the world to me!

  12. My two cents.

    Anyone who obeys the law will abide by the law to any ends that they pursue, however anyone who has no regard for the law will find any means to commit any act that they have settled on. The point of the law is to form a society, and those that enforce the law by the license of the voters or state, are employed to maintain a safe society for those that abide by the law and punish those that don’t.

    In Denver in the last year there have been well over a dozen gun store robberies, those guns will never fall under any legislative agenda, nor will the guns carelessly used in operation Fast and Furious.

    • Thank you for reading and for your comment Jessica. I agree with you, if people really want to break a law or do something harmful to themselves or others, they will do it whether there is a specific law in place or not. The point of that law at all is to hopefully CURB and discourage those who may be on the fringe of these groups and punish those who break them accordingly. The argument that we shouldn’t put weight and faith in our laws because “people will simply break them anyway” kind of refutes the whole idea of having laws in the first place, which I think we can all agree, isn’t a society we want to live in.

      Again, thank you so much for reading! Means a lot to me that we can have discussions like this!

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