Two steps forward, 100 steps back.

This past weekend has been one of joy and sadness for us here at the Fandads.  It’s strange to see how the internet reacts to those that are trying to do good in their lives and to those that just speak from the heart.  In all honesty, this weekend has really shaken me up that I stayed offline most of the weekend to just enjoy time with my family.

Over the weekend two of my fellow bloggers went viral: my friend Justin and my other friend…well, I’ll just call him “friend” for now and explain later why I’m not saying his name. Let’s first start with my friend Justin.

I met Justin online a few weeks before the Dad 2.0 Summit.  Justin and I were two of the six recipients of the first ever Oren Miller Scholarship which helped Dadbloggers who could not afford the trip to Dad 2.0.  Justin reached out to me to see if I wanted to share a room for the weekend. Being that I was a little cash strapped for the trip, I thought sharing a room would be a great way to save money and hang out with a fellow dadblogger.

I ended up sharing a room with Justin (Lifein140) and Mike (At-Home Dad Matters) in San Francisco. Although Mike left early due to sickness, the day I hung out with him and Justin, I knew that I have made some permanent friends.

Justin is one of the most talented persons that I have ever meet. He is an incredible writer and his photography is just amazing.  Justin recently took a picture of himself at the gym and it has gone viral. He is trying to make a change in his life and has decided to start working out for his health. Just look at the picture below and read what he wrote.

Though we at Humans of Fredericton don’t usually post photos of ourselves, I think this merits an exception! Justin is…

This photo of Justin has been shared, liked, tweeted, retweeted, favorited and reposted on Instagram. As bloggers we always wish for one of our posts to go viral and this picture of him at the gym has done that.

Now here is where the joy comes in. There has been a lot of support for Justin and his journey. Almost every single comment is praising him for what he is doing and supporting him in any way that they can. While there are a few negative comments about his appearance, those are instantly shot down by those that are supporting him.

This picture of Justin means a lot to me, because I would like to see my friend again at the next Dad 2.0 Summit, but I also hope it motivates a few people in my lives to make a change too. I have a few friends and family members that are in Justin’s position and I want them to see that it is possible to make that change.

The internet, for Justin, has shown that it can be a great thing that backs up someone that is trying to make a positive change in their lives. Unfortunately, the same can not be said about my other friend.

This is where the sadness comes in. With the recently shooting of two members of the press during a live broadcast, the subject of gun control has once again been put into the forefront of the news. I have a friend, who is a brilliant writer, write a post about what he felt about our current gun culture and it went south pretty quick.

You would think that with all the senseless shootings going on in our country people would read his piece and maybe just sit back and think about what he wrote. I mean, the piece wasn’t malicious at all. It was just the thoughts of one writer and what he felt at the moment.

What happened next is why I am not naming my friend. What happened next was threatening calls to his unlisted number. What happened next was that he had to take his site down due to all the nasty comments being made. What happened next was that he removed his online presence for the safety of his family.

Seeing this happen to my friend made me furious and also very sick. It upset me that we had something so beautiful happen with the support Justin got, but we get the complete opposite for my friend here. I have a few friends who I don’t agree with some of the stuff they post on Facebook, but I just continue scrolling and move on. I don’t threaten them because their views are not like mine. I just don’t see the point in doing that. Internet bullying has gotten so bad that it’s scary how people can find out information about you and use that to threaten and harass you.

I understand that guns are a heated topic for discussion in this country, but I think it should be had with open eyes and ears. Resorting to name calling and questioning someone’s manhood because they don’t own a gun is very telling of the people that make these comments. I would not be surprised if someone reads this post and starts to attack me for backing up my friend.

I have family and friends who are in law enforcement and some of the stuff I hear from them is pretty scary. It makes me wonder if the people who are so pro-gun ever had any real experience with a gun outside the gun range. I myself have had a few experiences with guns and none of them have been pleasant.

Now I did not grow up in the nice part of town. The neighborhood I grew up was a decent neighborhood, but there was a gang presence there too. I was not in a gang. I was into my comic books, video games and tried my best to stay away from any trouble, but when a few streets down your block is a hub for a local gang, trouble seems to find you.

When I was in grammar school I had to hide behind a car with my friend as a group of guys started fighting and one pulled out a gun and started shooting. One night driving a friend home after a get together at work, my friends car got attacked and we had to drive away while members of a gang were shooting at the car. We were in the right place but the wrong time that night.

The scariest moment for me was when I was sitting in my car with my friend waiting for our other friends to meet us when a fight broke out. A guy ran out of a car and stood about 10 feet away from my car and started shooting at the guys that were fighting. The whole time this was happening I was repeating to myself, “Please don’t look in the car. Please don’t look in the car.”

These experiences have given me certain perceptions about gun control, but I know that if anyone disagreed with me I would just let it be. There is no need to start something that does not need to be started. All that ends of happening is it becomes a contest of who can scream the loudest and I don’t like screaming. Do I feel that everyone should have a gun? No. Do I agree with your right to have a gun? Yes, but don’t think of me less because I do not want one in my home.

I prayed for my friend and his family this weekend and I wished that this blows over soon. I want for him to get back to writing again because I feel his voice needs to be heard. I just wish that both of my friends had the type of support that we all need. With the way this world is constantly changing, it would be nice to know that we can count on each other to make it a better place.

Thanks for reading.

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