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.