After Gun Number One was stolen, it was about ten years before I bought another one. I would like to have had another one just like the first one, because I was familiar with it, but they didn’t have one…because I bought it at a gun show.
The reason I bought another gun is that I was getting ready to move from Memphis to New Orleans, and I thought of New Orleans as this very dangerous place. How funny. Because I already lived in one of the most dangerous cities in the country. But I didn’t know.
This time I bought another Smith & Wesson with a 4-inch barrel. Technically, I bought it, but. At the time I was friends with, and sometimes dated, an ex-police officer. It turned out that I would have had to go through the background check and 15 day waiting period, but ex-police officers did not. (What is wrong with this picture?) So we put the gun in his name and I took it home that day.
I moved to New Orleans in August of 1992, and in January of 1993, I bought a house. A couple of guys who worked with me at McDonald’s helped me move my meager possessions from my friends’ house where I’d been living. At the end, I was about to write them a check, and they said they would prefer to get paid in cash. No problem, I said. Sit tight, and I’ll go to the ATM. It never dawned on me to be concerned that I was leaving them alone in my new house.
Certain things I moved myself…my jewelry and my gun and other personal items, so they never even saw the gun. But as I later guessed, leaving them alone gave them time to search.
I had an alarm system installed. Two or three months later I got a call from the alarm company, saying the alarm was sounding. When I got home, the glass in the front door had been broken (it was a very old door and the top half was glass). There were a couple of people hanging around on the sidewalk trying to be helpful. They said they had seen a guy in a hoodie standing in the doorway. He just waited until the siren quit sounding and strolled away.
I was at least smart enough to wait for the police though before I went into the house. It took them forever to get there. One of the arguments people make for gun ownership, and I think it’s a good one. Depending on where you live, you can’t always wait for the police to get there.
When we went inside, only one thing was missing. You guessed it, the gun.
So now I’ve had two guns, and both of them were stolen. I wasn’t scared of guns. I knew how to use them. I had gotten past the “can you kill somebody” point. But for months, I was afraid. I was afraid the people who took my gun would come back and hurt me, kill me, or take everything else. I vowed I would never have another gun. It’s been 20 years now, and I’ve kept that vow, and slept more easily.
Since then, I’ve had dogs. That isn’t a foolproof method of protection, since an armed burglar can shoot the dog. In fact, during this burglary, the burglars hurt my dog. He had recently had surgery for a broken leg and when I went inside, he was bleeding at the hip, where he had pins. They had to remove the pins and let his leg heal as it might. You could make the argument that that killed him, since later in life he had such severe arthritis that he had to be put down. For that alone, if I’d still had my gun and knew who had done it, I would have killed them. How could you hurt a helpless and injured dog, who probably only barked in a feeble effort to protect his territory?
Now. The gun enthusiasts on Facebook think I am somehow against the 2nd Amendment, that I am for coming to take away their guns, that if I’m not with them I’m against them, that I’m a Liberal who wants government control of all your individual rights, etc., ad nauseum. I just get lumped in with with people who have never owned guns and don’t understand why anyone would want to. This is not true. If the gun enthusiasts are listening, I hope this will clear some of that up.
The problem is they aren’t listening.
We need better gun control, and it will take everybody to accomplish it.
loved this story, I didn’t know that about you……….I am sure there is lots I don’t know about you and it didn’t shock me that you have owned a gun, it seems to me that most of my American friends own a gun. I just have never pictured you wanting to own a gun for any reason but that doesn’t mean I love you less for it.
The people who helped you move took the gun. They searched while you where gone..Came back when the dog was hurt and took advantage of that fact..Today is a different time…Criminals are the killers not the guns..If they will hurt a helpless animal they will hurt a child,elderly person and or you for whatever they want..So it is not the good people with guns …Stiffen laws for those who break the law and stop making the prisons like a resort…They are out of jail before the police are finished with the paper work on the crime they commit…
Star, I agree with some of what you say. I believe the people who helped me move came back and stole the gun. But not “while” the dog was hurt. They hurt the dog, took him out so to speak. I’m just grateful they didn’t kill him. He was fine before the burglary. Healing. He was only bleeding afterwards. I agree with stiffening laws for people who get guns illegally, but that isn’t as easy as it sounds. I’m not sure about prisons being a resort. After all, it’s still a prison. You can’t just drive to McDonald’s. I think the worse you make it for those who will eventually get out, you turn them into wild animals, worse than they were before. Scarier. So I’m personally for amenities in prison. TV and books for instance.
I have thought &read allot about guns in American culture since Newtown and other mass shootings. It is often difficult to separate from the overwhelming losses to discuss guns on a balanced agenda focused on how can we make life safer in the USA. It seems clear to me that hurried and heated Presidential fiats will not be very effective in keeping children safe. Instead I wish the axiom of never letting a disaster go to waste had been the crucible to compel governmental collaboration and comprehensive review of the culture that breeds violence and insanity. But there doesn’t seem to be any appetite for real reform among those we elect to provide stewardship. I just don’t see anything changing because of what has transpired.
Opportunity wasted and the moment is lost, and many good people are mourning with little hope of closure.
In the Philippines, you assumed everyone was packing a concealed weapon. Stores, restaurants, movies, etc. all had a sign at the cashier or entrance: “Please deposit your weapon.” But of course no one did. I had a gun either pointed at me or brandished many, many times. It was all for show: “Don’t f*k with me, I’m armed.”