This image of a child standing on a toilet seat has broken our hearts today.
What at first just looks like a toddler playing around mischievously in the bathroom is actually an incredibly poignant image of innocence lost.
Mum Stacey Wehrman-Feeley snapped a picture of her three-year old daughter standing on the toilet as she thought it was funny, and wanted to show her husband their daughter’s antics.
However, when she found out the real reason her daughter was perched on the seat of the toilet, she was devastated.
“The moment she told me what she was doing I broke down,” wrote Stacey.
“She was practicing for a lockdown drill at her preschool and what you should do if you are stuck in a bathroom. At that moment all innocence of what I thought my three-year-old possessed was gone.”
What she is referring to of course is the danger of gun shootings in schools, cinemas, universities, and more recently, nightclubs.
US mum, Stacey shared the image along with an emotive open letter to her government and the National Rifle Association (NRA).
The mum pleads with them for change, for gun control and for better mental health services.
“Politicians – take a look,” she wrote.
“This is your child, your children, your grandchildren, your great grandchildren and future generations to come. They will live their lives and grow up in this world based on your decisions. They are barely 3 and they will hide in bathroom stalls standing on top of toilet seats. I do not know what will be harder for them? Trying to remain quiet for an extended amount of time or trying to keep their balance without letting a foot slip below the stall door?”
In her post Stacey admits she doesn’t claim to know what the answer is to the problem, but she wants people to try something new – to feel as passionate as she does to sit up and make this issue a priority.
“No one thinks gun control will be 100% crime control. But maybe, just maybe, it helps 1% or 2% or 50%? Who knows unless we try? Why on earth are there not universal background checks? Where is a universal registration database? Why are high capacity magazines ever permitted to be sold to anyone other than direct to the military? Is that really necessary to protect yourself or hunt for that matter? What about smart guns, where are they? C’mon techies!
“Where is the $500 million that the Obama administration put into the budget for approval…did it go through? Is it being implemented or just sitting there? Where is the access to care for those struggling with mental illness? Politicians, I ask you...how can I help?”
Many mums in America echo Stacey’s worries, and a movement, previously called One Million Moms for Gun Control, renamed as Moms Demand Action, is showing the power of a collective voice of mothers who want to protect their children.
Set up by mum Shannon Watts, the movement went from hundreds of followers to some 3.5 million, all committed to fighting the NRA on its gun policies.
As mums, the image of Stacey’s child standing on that toilet broke our hearts.
We can only imagine her fear and the fear of millions of mums across the US – and we hope change happens for these families, and soon.