A funny thing happened to me the other day. I was home from work watching Zachary, my 6-month-old child. He was home sick from day care, as children often are, and he lay on me asleep as I lay on the couch watching an older episode of Law & Order SVU. Now I’m not one to cry at movies or television – not because I’m unfeeling – but because there’s nothing personal in it for me. I know it’s a fake scenario, so there’s no reason to get all misty-eyed over what I am watching. Well, this particular episode of SVU featured a heinous crime. The beginning of the episode showed some children on their school playground – getting shot. As it turned out, only one died, and the parent of the child who died was called into the school, or the police station, or whatever. The looks on the faces of the actors – the police who had to try to find a way to tell this woman her 6-year old child was dead – the woman so ditraught because nobody had given her an answer yet as to the condition of her child – the bad news looming to which the watchers of the show are privy – it was a lot to take in at that moment. Because in that moment, I looked at my little Zachary, and I realized – I’m not always going to be able to protect him. And in that moment I remembered how my mother annoyed the shit out of me all those times, that telling me that she was always worried. And then I realized that those fears were 100% justified, and that as a parent I will always be worried to some degree about my child. And I just lost it. I started crying like a little bitch. I shut the TV off, because I couldn’t bear to see what happened to the woman when she was told her child was dead. It’s only going to get more difficult from here, I realized. Although there will undoubtedly be times when I will not be around to protect him, there are certainly steps every parent should be able to take to ensure that his family is safe.
This is why I got my pistol permit. When we moved to our little house in PA a shade over 2 years ago, one of the first things I got was a pistol permit. While the permit itself won’t protect me, it allows me to purchase a gun and carry it concealed. Thank God for the fine state of PA! Those of us who remember the Bernhard Goetz case may recall that before the incident that made him famous, he was robbed at gunpoint, and being a law-abiding citizen, did not have anything to protect himself. It is a good thing the people who robbed him did not intend to kill him. Since NYS law forbids a person to carry a gun, Mr. Goetz had to carry illegally. Nobody should EVER have to do that. Here, in my fine suburb of Philadelphia, I might have to go into Philly with my son. 2006 started off pretty badly for Philly – 45 violent crimes in the first 44 days of the year – some of which were carjacks. You think, I am going to let some scumbag take my car and drive away with my child in the back, while i stand there unable to help him? BULLSHIT! I’m gonna melt a cap in his ass!
So while I believe in our second amendment rights, I do not hide behind the constitution – I speak of our necessity to bear arms. In places like NY where carrying a gun is illegal, violent criminals know a law abiding citizen does not have a gun, which makes it easy to prey upon them. It only makes sense to allow people to carry guns to level the playing field. I’m not saying you should just give guns indiscriminately; People should be required to take a weapons safety course, and learn how to shoot a gun properly before they are allowed to purchase one. I believe Connecticut works that way. For an untrained person who shoots a weapon runs the risk of harming people whom they didn’t intend to harm. We don’t need more hair-triggers out there. So for you people out there who think guns kill people – you are right. But people who want to kill someone, in the absence of guns, will find another way to do it. I pray that you are never caught in a situation where your family is in jeopardy and you are helpless to save them. After today, I’m going to make sure that I can protect my family when I am there, so I only need to worry about my family’s protection when I am not.