I experienced a first yesterday.
While waiting to pick up a pizza order, I realized that the person standing in front of me was…”packing,” as they say.
Yes. This person, in a lovely, quiet suburb, felt the need to keep a gun at the back of his belt.
How to describe my feelings? Well, to begin with, I completely lost my appetite. I backed away as far as I could, looking around surreptitiously to see if anyone else had noticed the…thing. Considered waiting outside. Considered telling the owner of the shop that I felt unsafe and didn’t really want those pizzas I’d ordered.
I was physically shaken. My very own neighborhood was suddenly threatening.
Of course, I realize that here in the Wild West of Kansas, I’ve been deluding myself. “Concealed carry” has been legal for several years, so I’ve probably been in the presence of firearms plenty of times without realizing it.
It’s only in the last couple of years that “open carry” has been the law in our state. And for the last year, the gun carriers no longer even have to have any kind of safety training. In July of next year, state law will prohibit disallowing college students from keeping guns on campus. Can you say “exponential increase in suicide rates?”
May I just say here and now that I hate where I live? If my family, friends, and livelihood weren’t permanently entrenched in this place I’d be gone faster than the Roadrunner disappearing in a puff of animated smoke.
Since I’m stuck here, my horrifying experience yesterday has galvanized me. I’ve had the information for weeks, but as of yesterday I’m a member of the local chapter of Moms Demand Action. I’ll be at the next meeting, where they’ll be preparing to lobby our state legislature for repeal of that insane campus carry law. I’ll be finding out what I can do to petition local businesses to stop allowing guns on their premises.
In the meantime, (between 12:00 and 3:00 am this morning, as I lay awake trying to process), I’ve created a little quiz:
Wondering whether you should take a gun into my grocery store, pizza shop, gas station, park or any other public place?
Ask yourself these questions:
- Have I been duped into believing that a gun makes me “safer?”
- Do I think some government entity or elected representative is going to “come for my guns?”
- Do I dream of seeing myself in a slo-mo “Dirty Harry” scenario?
- Do I imagine that the framers of the constitution would approve of citizens bearing weapons designed to kill 100 people at a time while carrying out their daily business?
- Do I secretly believe that the size of my “pants pal” is proportional to my ability to carry a weapon whose sole purpose is killing?
- Am I so civically ignorant that I believe a member of the executive branch has the power to abolish a constitutional amendment?
- Do I imagine that my judgment and reaction time in an active shooter scenario is better than that of a trained police officer?**
If your answer to any of the above questions is “yes,” then the answer to whether you should carry a gun anywhere is unequivocally “NO!” (For that matter, if your answer to all those questions was “no,” then you still shouldn’t carry a gun. But if you fit into that category, you knew that without me telling you.)
Here’s the thing about carrying weapons in public:
1. If there is not a gun in the same room with me, there is a 0% chance I will be shot or see someone shot. As soon as the gun enters the room, the chance for violent death is infinitely more possible.
2. Don’t give me the crap about how tons of people have always carried knives in public and that doesn’t bother me. Very few (if any) people are ever killed in accidental knife incidents.
3. If a person’s judgment is so horrible that he fantasizes he will be able to “protect” himself or others with a weapon solely designed for killing, I do not care to be anywhere near that person.
**It’s not. In fact, trained police officers make the wrong decision in a shooting scenario ALL. THE. TIME. My son has assisted our local police department in their “active shooter scenario” training sessions for the last five years. He and/ or one of his friends has been “shot” by trained police officers making split-second mistakes every single year.
I’ve had enough. I’m not taking this crap any more.