I have been thinking about America all morning here in Hong Kong. I have thought about the amazing things that have happened in America since I moved abroad eleven years ago: we’ve twice elected thoughtful and ever-inspirational Barak Obama to be our President; same-sex couples won the right to marry; and, smart and tough-as-nails Hillary Clinton became the presumptive Democratic nominee for President. I would not have predicted any of this in 2005.
In these eleven years as an American living abroad, I’ve also woken up on the other side of the world to learn of horrifying gun violence. In 2012 I couldn’t stop looking at photos of the 20 smiling children who were shot dead while at school, children the same age as my own daughter. In the time since those children were murdered at Sandy Hook Elementary School there have been 1,001 more mass shootings in America.
When I talk my my children about America, I talk about democracy, freedom of the press, slavery, Native Americans, pioneers, Muhammad Ali, freedom of speech, the National Park System, Hollywood and multiculturalism.
When I visit America with my children I also talk about what they should do if they see a gun at someone’s house. I warn them that the guns they see while in America may be real. Even if they are pink.
I think about what I will do if I encounter someone with a gun.
I also I hope.
I look back on the past eleven years and see how quickly things can unpredictably change for the better. I know there will be more seemly impossible changes to be proud of. I hope for common sense gun control.