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On the night of Oct. 20, my son was held at gunpoint by a Wildewood resident. I live in Wildewood — a family-friendly community with pools, parks, walking and bike paths; a neighborhood where it is commonplace for kids to regularly play flashlight tag after dark, running through the woods and backyards of the neighborhood. That is the culture.

My son was going to his friendís home in Wildewood. They were meeting on his back deck, so without a second thought he walked through the clearing between homes — the common area. A gentleman on the other side of the tree line sitting on his porch was understandably concerned when he heard my son on the other side of the trees. He asked my son his name and what he was doing. My son complied completely, stating his name, his parentsí names, where in Wildewood he was going, that he was lost, that he lived in Wildewood, and that he was on his way back to his car.

My son was instructed to come into a yard and into the light so he could be seen. My son heard the cock of a gun and complied. He was ordered to lie face down, palms up and legs crossed. He lay there with a gun pointed at him while the police were called. He remained on the ground, cooperating completely, until the police arrived. Prior to the arrival of the state police, my sonís friend (also a minor) came down the sidewalk, identified my son as his friend, and the loaded gun was then pointed toward him, although he never left the sidewalk or presented any threat.

My son was questioned, searched and told he was free to leave. No police report was taken at the scene (although he was interviewed two days later by a Maryland state trooper after I requested that a report be written, as did his friendís mother). The report was sent to the stateís attorney to determine if a crime had been committed and remains there.

After the events in an elementary school in Connecticut, I can no longer remain silent and wait.

I received a picture of my son today, arms raised in joy celebrating a goal he scored in his hockey game. I broke down and cried for the moms and dads who lost their children to senseless gun violence. After the incident, my son said, ďMom, I didnít think he was going to shoot me while I was lying there, but I kept wondering if the gun would go off accidentally.Ē No one should ever have to wonder that.

While I am interested in a national conversation about a reasonable gun-control policy, I am much more interested in how we think about guns in St. Maryís County, and that we think about guns in St. Maryís County. I never did before, but I do now.

Cindy Slattery, California