|Me in my Phoenix uniform|
It’s been a long time since I posted anything to this blog, partly because we’ve been preoccupied with looking for a place to live but mostly I just didn’t feel like it. What’s been going on in the US this past year is, to say the least, depressing and these days any thoughts or arguments you might want to share end up just preaching to the choir. But this latest school shooting in Florida has made me consider that my experiences could have some value and that by sharing at least one story, people might understand my attitudes about guns in general and why I’m glad to be living someplace now where this is not an issue.
I wrote this essay over ten years ago and it was published in the St. Petersburg Times in Florida. I think I titled this “The Night I Almost Killed Someone” but the paper ran it under the headline of “Seconds of hesitation, a lifetime of what-ifs” and the continuation page headline of “Haunting lesson about the terrible power of guns” and I’d agree with that. I tried to find a link for this but it seems to be in the archives now so I took the time to rewrite it, making a couple of corrections.
This single incident, which lasted probably all of a minute, if that, scared me for years. I’m happy about the way it turned out but at the same time spent the rest of my career hoping I’d never find out whether my next hesitation would kill me. The weapon I carried almost every day of my life for over 25 years was never much of a comfort and more of a curse. The awesome responsibility that goes with the carrying of a firearm is something I never minimized. This thing ruled my life for almost 30 years and one of the happiest days of my life was the day I turned it in. Ever since I’ve considered the extreme gun culture of the United States to be so much hot air and mostly macho bullshit. Unfortunately, the consequences of this is the world's largest gun death count.
I’m glad I never had to make the decision again. Read this and ask yourself if this is something anyone should have to go through because, if the NRA and Republicans have their way, a school teacher will have this to consider. And is this the life you want for your kids?