Guns, Guns, Guns
I’m sick to death of hearing about guns. I’d say I’m sick of hearing about gun violence, but let’s be honest – if it’s in the news, and it’s about guns, then the “violence” part can pretty much be assumed.
I grew up in a house with guns. Hunting rifles. Shotguns. Handguns. My dad was a hunter. He made and sold gun stocks. At any given time, there was a gun sitting in the dining room or the kitchen table (unleaded, of course). He worked in a pretty dangerous area, so he had a permit to carry a handgun for protection. Once, when I was going on my honeymoon, I borrowed a carry-on from my parents and discovered (not a minute too soon) a gun in the side pocket. I like to go shooting – sporting clays, targets, etc. I will eat what my dad (and now my son) hunts, although I wouldn’t feel comfortable shooting a living thing myself. The point I am making here is that I am not anti-gun. But I am anti-gun violence.
Despite having been around guns all my life and shooting them myself, they have always made me a little uncomfortable. It’s hard not to be a little afraid of something that you know can take the life of a human being. Or 20 human beings. Or a million human beings, as long as the bullets don’t run out.
Before Christmas – before the tragedy in Connecticut – I read a story about an employee at an Autozone, who was fired after he thwarted a robbery. I was all set to write about it, then flu and work and holidays got in the way and I put it off. Then the Sandy Hook shooting happened and the topic seemed far more daunting. But the more stories I hear about guns (violence), the more I have to say.
Anyway, back in the fall, a man was working at Autozone when another man came in and tried to rob the store with a gun. At this point, the employee went out to his car, got his own gun, and stopped the robber. The company fired him for violating their rules about weapons in the workplace. And then the outrage started: It’s not fair, they said. He did a good thing, they cried. He’s a hero, they screamed. I’m sorry, but I just can’t quite get on board with the outrage. First off – the company had a rule and he knew about it. He broke that rule. Sure – he stopped a robbery but the ends don’t justify the means. Sure he’s a “hero”, but he’s one twitch away from being a dead hero. Or a dead guy who caused a bunch of innocent bystanders to be shot by an enraged robber, who – if he hadn’t had a vigilante in his face – might have simply left with some of Autozone’s money. Most retail employment training involves telling new hires that they should never try and stop a robbery. That they should give up the money and call the police as soon as they can. These rules are in place to protect them, the other employees, customers and anyone else in the area. This man violated those rules & endangered a bunch of people. But hey – Autozone didn’t lose any money or merchandise, so al is OK. Give me a break.
Then the tragedy happened at Sandy Hook Elementary. The whole world watched and cried over those tiny lost lives. Then, as the shock wore off the “guns don’t kill people, people kill people” nonsense started. Sure – people kill people: PEOPLE WITH GUNS! The NRA started in with their usual crap. The second amendment folks started chiming in. Holy shitballs am I ever sick of hearing about THAT. Yes – we have a right to bear arms, but I am pretty sure that our forefathers who came up with that idea had no idea that one day, we’d be able to shoot hundreds of rounds in the time it took them to load one musket ball. I don’t think assault weapons were what they were thinking about. And even if they were – I’m not sure I trust their judgment – I mean – they also thought that owning another human being was OK, too.
And the NRA can kiss my ass. They like to cry second amendment only when it’s convenient to them. Like when it involves conservative white guys. You didn’t hear much about the second amendment when the Black Panthers were carrying guns. And when faced with tragedy, such as the killing of children? Their answer? MORE GUNS! Yes! That’s exactly what we should do. So now, instead of dodging one gunman, our kids can spend their time between recess and art class dodging bullets from multiple gunmen. Great idea, NRA! And while you’re at it, be sure to tell all the gun owners out there that we bleeding heart liberals are trying to ban ALL guns – that we want to take all your (second amendment) rightful weapons away, rather than the truth – which is that there is no reason for my average Joe neighbors to have assault weapons. That a couple of days waiting period is no big deal. That background checks won’t keep a hunting rifle out of the hands of a true, responsible sportsman. No, instead, start a crazy rumor, pour gasoline on it, light a match and stand back and fan the flames. Then go get more guns.
What prompted this rant of mine, you ask? Or maybe you didn’t ask, but I am going to tell you anyway. Tonight, my husband, daughter and I decided to have dinner at Eat n Park while my son was at band practice. While we were there, I saw my husband glance at the entrance, then do a double-take. It turns out that a man came into the restaurant carrying a gun in a hip holster. And it scared the living shit out of me.
I know what the response from the gun nuts would be to this – the same as when the idiot in Utah waltzed around JC Penney’s with his (legally licensed) guns – that he has a license, that it’s his right to carry it wherever he pleases (assuming he does, in fact, have a license).
If I were to ask what I the blue fuck anyone needs a gun in Eat n Park for, their answer would be that we need more “good guys” carrying guns. That if one of said “good guys” had been carrying a gun at (insert mass shooting episode here – take your pick – Columbine, Aurora, Sandy Hook, and so, SO many more), that the tragedy could have been stopped.
But here’s the thing. This guy tonight might have been a good guy who would never hurt a soul. Or he may have been Adam Lanza. Or James Holmes. Or Eric Harris. I can’t say for sure. And that is why I spent the last 10 minutes in Eat n Park not enjoying a piece of pie (which I really wanted, dammit), but instead, planning on how I could get Emily under the table and get on top of her if the shooting started. Instead of calculating a tip, I was calculating whether we could make it to the emergency exit before he made it to us. It may sound melodramatic, but it’s true. I was honestly planning on how I would protect my child from a gunman. If you’ve never done this before, I can tell you that it’s not fun. I was scared. My husband was scared. My 9 year old daughter sensed our worry and started worrying herself. The point is – regardless of whether he was a “good guy,” we felt threatened.
So I really don’t care if he was a “good guy.” I don’t care if he had a license to carry. I don’t give a RAT’S FAT, FLYING ASS about his second amendment rights. I care about my right to not have to wonder if my body can stop a bullet before it hits my child, so you know what? Fuck the NRA.