Spokane has a history of early settlers, woodsmen, outlaws and hunters. I drive there now and then (1,5 hours) to shop for things you can’t get in Sandpoint. It’s nice to leave early and catch breakfast at a diner on the way.
Thus I sat one Saturday, waiting for my omelet and watching the locals be greeted by the owners like friends. I could see them lean over benches to catch up with the people in the next booth. It seemed to be a true neighborhood gathering place.
Then parts of the conversations reached my ear:
“I haven’t seen the underground bunker yet.”…“I enjoyed shooting it!”…“How often do you use the steroids?”
A couple walks in with their 6-year-old daughter and something catches my attention; the mother—a petite woman in her mid-30s—carries an enormous handgun on her right hip. The holster is designed to show a lot of the piece itself, which looks like a Magnum Desert Eagle; a gun weighing nearly 2kg and is known as the one used in the movies.
It’s a device that was purchased and carried in here today, with the idea it might be used to shoot a person. I can’t hide my shock and I bet it shows. Even though I was well aware there were extremists like this around these parts, I feel threatened, which is probably precisely what she was hoping for.
Many—if not most—of my friends in Sandpoint own a firearm (or two), but I have chosen to live without one. For my home I have come up with a rule for guests; if you need to bring your weapon, I will ask you to leave it outside. There’s no way I will allow anyone to suddenly pull out their gun in a frenzy of pride and ‘gunaholism’ after three beers and find myself in a life-threatening situation.
It happens often enough…
Back in the diner: I went to the restrooms and just as I sat down, the door opened. A pang of anxiety shot from my stomach to my head; was it the woman with the pistol? You never know how well-trained they are or what sets these people off into murder-mode. What if it accidentally fires when she undoes her belt and it drops on the floor? A little less than 75,000 people are treated in hospital emergency departments for non-fatal gunshot wounds every year in the United States. On top of that another 30,000 die of firearm homicide, suicide and/or accidental shootings.
If the law requires you to get training and a license to operate a motor vehicle—a machine designed for transportation, but potentially harmful or deadly—wouldn’t you say it makes sense to install similar rules for a device designed to hurt or kill a living being?
My two cents on the matter.
For some quick and interesting data about guns in the USA, check this out.
David’s mom would not allow guns in our house. One time one of Marsha’s youngest son (he was a prison guard) and she told him to leave the gun in the car. David knows which one. I don’t recall his name.