A few days ago, I had the unnerving experience of a man trying to force his way into my locked vehicle as I was getting ready to leave. First he tried the door handle, then clawed at the window, then tried to tear off the mirror. His car was blocking me from simply driving off, but he happened to be standing between the two vehicles, so I sort of…pinned him. I’m fairly certain I did not injure him, but I did see the fear and surprise on his face.
That was far from the first time. I often do my grocery shopping late at night to avoid crowds, and sometimes when I pull into the parking lot, I find my vehicle instantly surrounded by four others, edging so close to me I can’t open my door or drive in any direction. So I just sit there and read a book until they get bored and leave. Another time, two men tried to climb into my pickup bed as I was getting gas, but I drove off fast enough so that they fell. I don’t know what they’re trying to accomplish. Most likely some form of intimidation that will result in me giving them money so they will leave.
I can pretty much guarantee any time a woman reports anything like this happening to her, most people will tell her to carry a gun. “You should have just shot them.” Yeah, well, you know I’m a mortician, right? What if I just got done working and was looking forward to a relaxing evening at home, and then suddenly I have a homicide to deal with? (There must be some regulation preventing morticians from embalming people they personally have killed.) Or maybe…I just don’t want to kill someone?
Most people will tell you they would have no problem killing another person if that person were a threat to them or to someone else. In reality, they don’t know. No one knows if they are capable of killing someone else, whether in self-defense or not, until they are there. Maybe they wouldn’t hesitate at all. Maybe they’d pee themselves and toss their weapon and run. They will most likely never know.
But in their minds, if the Good Guys just had guns, they could shoot the Bad Guys and there would be no more crime. Their solution to the completely hypothetical scenario of Bad Guys who also have guns is that the Good Guys simply need to have bigger guns. (Bad Guys never have big guns, so don’t even go there.)
I tried to buy a gun when I was fourteen. I had never seen or touched a gun, but I knew that Bad Guys were afraid of guns so maybe if I had one then I wouldn’t have to be afraid. A kid in school was bragging about how he had one and that he was going to bring it. I asked him if I could buy it for $100, all the money I had in the world, which I earned from babysitting and hauling firewood. I didn’t ask if it was a handgun or a shotgun or a police sniper rifle, because all I knew was “gun.” I just asked if I could buy it, and he agreed.
The next day it was all over the news that he had been arrested. (This was a very small town.) I used to wonder if he thought I had turned him in, which I didn’t. I’m glad I didn’t get to buy the gun. I had no real plan. I imagine I would have brandished it at the first person who threatened me, and would then most likely be quickly disarmed.
Later, in a little-mentioned part of my life, I would be trained by police officers to shoot a variety of handguns and shotguns. I wasn’t a particularly great shot, but I enjoyed it and I could at least hit the target most of the time. I also talked with a lot of officers who have killed people (presumably in the line of duty; I didn’t ask) and there was absolutely no bravado, none of the bragging that bored white man-boys typically do. They shook as they spoke of it. Their marriages suffered. Their sleep and work performance and sex lives suffered, for years. Killing people is not fun, not even when it’s justified.
When I turned twenty-one I didn’t drink, so I bought myself my first handgun and a bicycle. It was more of a rite of passage than a need for a weapon. I went to a pawnshop and got one for $100 (hey…) and after a simple background check, walked out with it and rode my new bike home and slept all curled up with the stupid gun. After taking it shooting a few times I learned it was a piece of junk.
So I got a concealed carry permit and joined the NRA and joined a shooting range and voted for Bush. I only socialized with other gun people and I learned to shoot rifles and I bought a rifle and became proficient and then I got arrested for a DUI and as a matter of policy they took my concealed carry permit.
I never reapplied for the permit, because I eventually realized that I just don’t need to carry a gun. I don’t want to. And if you don’t want to carry guns and are not comfortable doing so, you shouldn’t.
I still go to the shooting range just for fun. One time I took a friend with me and when we had nearly exhausted our ammo supply, she suggested we leave. “I don’t want to use up all your ammo,” she said. I explained that I had another box at home so it was no big deal. “But you have to get home,” she reminded me. I think that kind of cemented in my mind the realization that I really don’t need a gun. I am confident in my ability to drive for fifteen minutes without needing to use deadly force. I mean, I can always just pin someone with my giant truck if need be.
Guns are one issue where I am right in the middle. I just don’t care. I don’t care if someone wants to own a gun, or three, or eighteen. I also don’t care if Obama wants to come to my house and take my guns. (Not Trump though. Only Obama can take my guns.) If I can go buy a rifle on impulse tomorrow, cool. If assault rifles become illegal tomorrow, oh well then. If there were some sort of gun thing to vote on, I wouldn’t even vote.
Guns are affordable and easy to get. So why are there still so many Bad Guys? Do Good Guys ever turn Bad? Perhaps years after buying a gun? Then what happens? I have seen literally thousands of lives destroyed because somehow a Bad Guy got hold of a gun. Sure, he probably would have used another weapon if a gun were not available, but the availability of guns has not improved the lives of the people I see daily.
Clearly, instead of carrying big guns, women need to drive big trucks.