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Open Carry Guns
More than seventy years ago, out on the farm, my parents gave me a .22 short semi-auto rifle for my birthday. I was taught how to shoot, where to shoot and when by the best...my Dad. Later I owned a rifle and shotgun, but never a handgun. However, Dad did buy a .22 pistol and kept it in the glove compartment of the car. I don't know why. We could take care of ourselves and there was nothing to fear.
My teen years were filled with hard work on the family farm along with school, sports, and church...learning about team work, being responsible, "sticktoitiveness," and being adventurous with the environment and social situations. I was rich but didn't know it. It was my pockets which were empty. I was enjoying just being a kid...when suddenly toward the end of my teen years I grew up and it started with one event.
I was driving the family car when I came upon a scene that was not only a surprise but a shock which threatened who I was. My first feeling was fear which quickly turned to anger ... then uncontrolled rage. THE PISTOL IN THE CAR POCKET ENTICED ME TO ACTION. I grabbed it and got out....
Later, as the chaos subsided to nothingness, my feelings turned to physical trembling. What had I done? It seemed as though I had watched another "me" in action. I apologized to my parents. We prayed together but never again discussed what had happened. I confessed and vowed repentance before my religious congregants. They too, prayed and forgave. One has never forgiven me. I learned a lesson forever in my mind.
I share my story at this time because I see people advocating "open carry" of lethal weapons without being licensed by the State. What I see terrifies me. Having a lethal weapon "at the ready" for me was an enticement to an action foreign to who I really was...and I almost hurt an innocent and myself. What I am concerned about is the presence of lethal weapons within reach to so many. Bottom line for me is that open carry policy in our society scares the devil in me. When I see a lethal weapon being carried openly.... I ponder whether to challenge its evil potential on the spot or run from it. I am still working with myself on how to handle that. For me it is difficult to overcome tribalism in favor of my moral imperative to treat others as myself; so what should I do when or if I am confronted with an "open carry" situation?
Footnote: If I were to have my way, STATES would license individuals to own lethal weapons...using nationwide guidelines which would permit reciprocity. Further, I suggest the FEDERAL government should control the manufacture and distribution of all lethal weapons...requiring each to have locking mechanisms. COUNTIES would license and enforce sales and records, thereof. MUNICIPALITIES (just like in the old West) should be able to control "open carry" or public presence of lethal weapons within their boundaries of jurisdiction. Governance policy and enforcement should be from ground up, ie, city-county-state-federal...all clearly delineated through negotiation. Perhaps, my grandchildren (who are above average) will have the political will and know how to fix this mess ... brought on by what/who?