I shouldn't have to explain a mass shooting to my 4-year-old daughter.
Dealing with potty training, lack of sleep, and toddler tantrums are pretty much routine line items on my fatherhood resume.
You know what's becoming a routine line item for Americans? Dealing with the incessant amount of gun violence in our communities.
For those of you keeping score at home, we've endured 355 mass shootings (defined as four or more victims, including the shooter) in the United States in under 340 days of this calendar year. That's more than one mass shooting a day.
Take a moment to think about how crazy that is. When you're finished, chances are you'll be extremely angry.
I was angry after the shooting in San Bernardino, California, too. Aside from the obvious reasons, I live in Los Angeles, so this hits close to home.
As much as I despise gun violence and feel horrible for the victims, I never actually thought it would touch the lives of me or my loved ones. Until it did.
Hours after the news broke about the San Bernardino shooting, I was notified by the principal of my daughter's preschool that there was a gun threat via phone directed at a nearby elementary school.
Because of the proximity and recent gun-related events, my daughter and her preschool classmates were put on lockdown as the police department investigated the incident. Not long afterward, the "all clear" was given and everything went back to normal.
Well, the "new normal," anyway.
At that moment, I knew that no one in America was immune to this. Looking at this map of the mass shootings in America this year makes that painfully clear.
What do we tell our kids when something like this happens?
Do we tell them nothing? Do we avoid movie theaters and playgrounds? Do we pull our children out of class and homeschool them instead? Do we sit around and pray for the problem to be solved?
The answers are complicated and nuanced, but the one thing we should all agree on is doing whatever we can to keep our kids safe from harm. And that's exactly what I pledged to my children. I didn't provide any explanation of the terrorist attacks (and that's exactly what they are). My message is that no matter what bad stuff is out there, I'm going to do everything in my power to ensure their safety.
Gun control is a great place to begin. As a society, we need to face facts and deal with some real talk.
We need to ask why it's way too easy to buy guns. We need to ask if it's necessary to own military-grade weaponry. We need to ask gun supporters what they're truly afraid of by implementing common-sense gun regulations.
No parent should experience the horror of learning that their kid's school is on lockdown due to a gun threat.
And most importantly, no family should have to bury a child due to gun violence. Parenting is hard enough without constantly worrying that somebody with bad intentions may open fire on our kids after we drop them off at school.
The time it took from the moment I received the notification of the lockdown at my daughter's school to actually hugging her seemed like an eternity. Afterward, my main thought was, "I don't want this to happen ever again."
The reality is this can happen to any of us unless America steps up and makes some big changes.
Let's make it happen.