I am giving my 3-year-old daughter a bath on a cool summer evening with the window open, washing off from a long afternoon of playing in the yard with friends. She’s tired, for once quiet enough to get on with it instead of the usual splashing and hijinks.

Then three gunshots ring out through the night air. She grabs my arm, looking at me with intense, worried eyes. “Are those firecrackers, Daddy?”

With most of the loud city noises that frighten her, I can be honest and she is calmed: jet plane, garbage truck, motorcycle. But this time I just say, “Yes, sweetie, those are firecrackers.” Only by shutting the window and holding hands for a while are we able to get the bath done, nightie on, milk drunk, story read, teeth brushed and into bed.

A friend told me that the hardest part of raising his daughters has been explaining the evils of the world to them. I wonder when the time will be right to tell my daughter about guns in America?