I recently read a post by Roz Warren, whom I follow, entitled, “I Used To Own A Gun.” After reading her essay, I remembered my own gun story from many years ago.
Has this ever happened to you? It's three in the morning, and you hear a noise that sounds like it's coming from inside the house? A bad feeling. I would sit up terrified until I gathered the courage to investigate downstairs. Usually, a photo fell or other explainable occurrences.
My friend Michael heard me lament about my fear of not being able to protect myself and my daughter should someone break into our house. As a single mother, this terrifying scenario kept me up whenever I heard an unusual noise in the house late at night.
Michael said, "Lu, I've heard you mention this frightful scenario repeatedly, so tomorrow I’ll take you to buy a handgun. Next week we’ll go to the range so you can learn to shoot, and then I’ll teach you to care for it. You’ll be a responsible gun owner."
I told Mike I was fearful of guns. He told me I was only afraid because I’d never used one. “Once you learn how to shoot confidently, you’ll feel better about owning a gun, he assured me.” Michael knew a lot about firearms; he was a Narcotics Detective and a skilled shooter. When undercover, he looked like Serpico, just as handsome and disheveled, wearing clothes that seemed far too roomy for him.
He was on his way to work, so he showed me how he protected himself. Opening his jacket, I saw a Glock strapped under his arm, a smaller gun in his belt across his back and a sharp-looking, dagger style knife strapped to his leg. “That’s why I wear baggy clothes, he said, I need the room to conceal, and be prepared.”
As he was leaving, he said, “I’ll pick you up tomorrow and we’ll go to the gun store.” I smiled nervously, “Wait, I have a better idea, what if we just buy a few bolts for the doors, easy breezy?” He laughed and said, “see you tomorrow.”
The next day we drove to a Mega Gun Shop in an area, appearing to be where people go to buy handguns, military-style assault rifles, ammo, and other terrifying items, as they wait for the Apocalypse.
Waiting for the salesman, I began looking in the case where handguns were laid out making them appear innocent. Just then, the owner walked over, he heard me exclaim, “Oh, Mike, look at this one, it’s beautiful, the handle is rosewood.” I admired the beauty and craftsmanship of a killing machine, as if I were purchasing a wooden salad bowl from Williams and Sonoma. Michael covered his face with his hand, shaking his head.
The owner asked if I liked that gun, and why I wanted one. I told him as a single mother, I wanted it for protection. He asked, “will you be able to pull out the gun, and within seconds, kill someone entering your home illegally?”
“Oh, no, I said, in alarm, I don’t think I could ever kill someone.”
Young woman, he said as if talking with his daughter, more people die from gunshots from their own guns by hesitating a few seconds. You have to be prepared to kill an intruder to protect yourself and your daughter. “I’m sorry I won’t sell you a gun. You must be ready to shoot an intruder without thinking, or you’ll be killed. I don’t want that on my conscience.
I thanked him, relieved, which I’m sure didn’t surprise him.
When we entered the car, Michael said, “Don’t worry, I’ll put some new bolts on your doors, then I’ll have a friend from the precinct come and check the house for easy entry. When you’re ready, we’ll revisit the gun purchase.”
I said OK, but I was never ready.
Roz Warrens Essay: