No. I’m not writing about Columbine or any related subject. I’m writing about a discussion on gun control that I had in a classroom. It wasn’t some intellectual philosophy class either. It was my Tuesday morning watercolor class.
My instructor lives in a quiet neighborhood where she has mostly felt secure. Until four weeks ago. Four weeks ago her near neighbor went away to visit some friends for a few days. When she came home, the locks had been changed on her house and she couldn’t get in. Squatters had taken over. Since then they have sold all of her possessions, including her jewelry, and they are sleeping in her house on cots. The police can’t do anything without more information. What that information might be I can’t imagine. People broke in, they stole, the lied. They are still there. What is the mystery?
But that’s not really my field of expertise. Guns aren’t either, yet I heard myself say to my frightened instructor, “If you had a gun I don’t think they would mess with you.” Suddenly the chatty, happy room was silent. I felt like Ralphie at the dinner table in A Christmas Story, talking about his Red Rider dreams. “Huh, huh, I was just kiddin’.” They were still afraid of me. “No, don’t get a gun. Get a can of wasp spray. If you spray it at an intruder it will stop him in his tracks. If he doesn’t go to the hospital for an antidote he will die, so you catch him.” My classmates, heads down, were looking at me over the tops of their glasses.
I’m not good at keeping my mouth shut. If I have an opinion or information that I think might be helpful I feel compelled to share it. Evidently I didn’t know my audience very well.
But why should that be necessary? What is it about our society that believes a hostile group of people who enter a single woman’s home, lock her out and take her possessions can’t be or shouldn’t be treated with aggression? The best way to deal with a bully is to face him down. Or her.
This attitude of wishing to be, what, kind? to bad guys helps bad guys ride roughshod over us. It isn’t only the lone bullies who take advantage of this wish to be nice. There are large groups of bullies called, collectively, government, who do the same.
We must show force to bullies when they confront us. A show of force is the only thing they understand.
If you don’t want to be pushed around by bullies, treat yourself to a weapon: maybe a gun; or at least a can of wasp spray.