Better Run, Better Run, Outrun My Gun
My coworker has a gun.
She just acquired her license to carry one, ironically in part because I signed her form as a reference, but I only did it because I thought she might shoot me if I didn’t.
But she giddily informed me yesterday that her paperwork was approved and she was amazed at how simple the actual gun purchasing process was — that it seemed strange you could just go into a store, present your paperwork, and leave with a gun. “Don’t you think there should be a waiting period?” she asked. “You know… so that anyone who might be buying a gun because she’s angry at someone has time to cool down before the gun is actually in her hands?”
No, I thought. Premeditated murder is pretty much premeditated murder, regardless of whether you did it right after driving to a store to purchase a gun for the job or stopped on your way to the victim’s house to have a cocktail and “cool down.”
But I didn’t say that. I wasn’t sure if she was carrying the gun.
“And they’re a lot harder to work than you’d think,” she went on. “You know how in the movies they make cocking the gun look so easy… like cha-ching a simple hand gesture and it’s done? Well with my gun, it takes some muscle. Like… I’d have to ask someone to hold still for a minute before I could shoot him if he was breaking into my house.”
“Well, let’s just hope that never happens.” Pleasedon’tshootmePleasedon’tshootmePleasedon’tshootme.
“Yeah…” she said, almost wistfully. “Well, I really got it so I could carry it to work.”
“So that I can take it for protection when I go meet with potential clients and stuff.”
“The bullets I bought aren’t the kind you normally think of when you think of a bullet. They don’t have a pointy tip,” she explained, without provocation.
“Yeah… the tip’s all concave — it’s called a ‘hollow point’ bullet, so that when it hits someone, all of the pieces just sort of expand outward to tear him up. You know… because if you shoot someone, you don’t want to just put a hole in him. You want to cause some real damage.”
“Yep… I’m learning a lot. It’s pretty cool! You should get one and we could go shooting together!”
I honestly don’t know how I feel about guns. I’m pretty sure I know how I feel about my coworker having one in the office, and that’s nervous. Whatever happened to the good ol’ days of bonding over cocktails? Maybe learning guitar? Starting a book club? You know, things that don’t involve training me to tear someone up with a shiny piece of metal.
And this is just another check in the “I don’t really belong here” column. I’d rather be my feeble-minded Northern city self, depending solely on shots of espresso and my own wit for self-protection.
Guns? Aren’t those little blue and green plastic toys that we fill with water or soft darts and hand to our kids and tell ’em to go nuts? Don’t they only kill people with those in the movies?
Of course, then I remember my relationship with the military. I’m married to it, for crying out loud. I used to work for it. I hear guns almost every week. But the closest I’ve ever come to shooting one was in the virtual training lab on base, where they handed me and 4 other women reconfigured M-16’s, told us to lay on the ground facing a screen and to use our instincts. On the screen, an arm reached out to knock on a door. We were answering a domestic disturbance call, and before long a young woman with a black eye answered. She was quickly shoved to the side by a gruff-looking 20-something who was obviously intoxicated. He slurred some words to us and sat down on the sofa. There were empty beer and liquor bottles strewn across the coffee table. “Yo — I said, what the hell are you doing here?” We’d already identified ourselves and our purpose, but the man was becoming irate. Then, before we knew what was happening, he was on his feet, pulled a gun out of the back of his pants, and aimed it straight at us. Five guns went off simultaneously, each sending out 2 or 3 shots before we were cut off. Guns 1, 3, 4, and 5 were non-kill shots, but they all hit their mark — the man’s groin. Gun #2, my gun, had the only 2 kill shots. Straight to the head.
I feel a little better when I tell myself that I was aiming for the groin.
But I’m not positive that’s true.
And so guns scare me a little. What they’re capable of doing, in the heat of a moment, when a moment is all you have to make a decision. I’m pretty sure it’s not like the movies. Not at all.
In the end, I suppose guns are like spouses or houses or jobs — there are times people didn’t have one but wish they did, and times people had one but, almost definitely, wish they didn’t.
All I know is that I’m going to be really, really nice to my coworker from here on out.