By Lindsay S.
Anyone in the CCW community knows that the case for federal reciprocity is a big deal. The rest of the world seems to get lost in the world of gun control debate and forgets that we are not our weapons. But we have faces. We have families. We have stories. This is my story that shows why we need reciprocity . . .
It was a blazing hot Midwest summer day. My four small children and I were headed to my parents’ house in Illinois when my daughter uttered those five words every parent on a road trip hates to hear, “I have to go POTTY!” When you’re by yourself with 4 children under 7 years of age a bathroom break is quite the ordeal.
While most people think Illinois means Chicago, I come from the 80% of the state that is full of…nothing. Miles and miles and miles of nothing. So when you find a gas station you’d better stop. There won’t be another one for a while. I pulled off at a gas station that was unusually busy. So busy that the absolute only parking spot was around the back of the building.
As I parked I noticed the van next to me. Mostly because you couldn’t NOT notice it. It was the kind you think of as you tell your children never to take candy from the man inside. It was a big, beat up, blue conversion van straight out of an episode of Criminal Minds. There was a mattress tied onto it and what I could only assume was the driver, was standing on the sidewalk in front of it.
I really didn’t have time to worry with it. My little lady had to go BAD. It was urgent. So I unloaded everyone and herded them toward the door. As we passed, the driver of the van said hi. I smiled and said hello back, but kept them moving.
When we returned to the van I noticed that the man had opened the side door of his van that was nearest mine and was standing in front of it. In order to put my baby in his car seat I would have to turn my back on the man standing 2 feet from me in the creepy van. This was not a situation I wanted to be in. My adrenaline kicked in. I was reassured by the fact that I knew I could defend myself if I needed to as my gun was safely tucked against me. JUST KIDDING! I’m in Illinois! And there’s nothing Illinois likes better than a helpless victim.
Had I been in my home state of Missouri my attitude would have been more one of “oh hi creepy guy. I sincerely hope you have the very best of intentions or you will have just made a very serious miscalculation.” As it were, crossing the border meant disarming a mom of 4 traveling along lonely stretches of road by herself. Because we moms are dangerous.
I took a deep breath (partially out of nervousness and partially to try not to breathe the pungent air coming from his vehicle or person, I couldn’t be sure.) There were at least a dozen jugs of some kind of yellow fluid stacked inside the van and the seats in the back had been removed. Seriously. Could you possibly be any creepier? Why, yes. Yes, he could.
As I tried to break a world record for fastest time strapping a baby in a car seat, I felt him entirely too close to my back. “What a cute baby. How old is he?” Um…I don’t remember. “Where are you headed?” Oh, to see family. They live really close by. Like next door. In fact they’re probably watching us right now. Dang it. Why won’t he leave? “It sure is hot out here.” Yeah. Sure is. “I’m going to Oklahoma.” That’s nice. I shut the door and quickly spun around to leave. He stepped in front of me. Crap. “That’s a really beautiful family you’ve got there.” Thank you. Please let me live. He wasn’t moving. He inched closer.
A million thoughts running through my head. Could I take him? Probably. But only if he’s not armed. What are the odds a man a mattress and a dozen bottles of something that looks like urine in his van actually gives a darn about the law? Could I run? Nope. My babies are in that van I’m not going anywhere. Do I have anything I could use to fight him off with? My keys. I don’t like my odds against a knife or gun. Would anyone hear me if I screamed? Nope. The parking lot that was packed when I pulled in had not a single soul in it now but me and him. It would be a long shot that the clerk would hear. Why, oh why did this have to happen in Illinois? I tried to remember what I was supposed to do in this situation. Pee on him right? That’s what the liberals said. I guess I shouldn’t have gone while we were inside. Why was I not allowed the right to feel safe? Why couldn’t I defend myself and my babies?
He was now severely invading my personal space. My heart was beating too fast. This wasn’t going to end well. Then…my saving grace. My phone that I had in my hand beeped at me. A message from my soldier friend currently deployed to Afghanistan. His picture- in uniform and holding a weapon- popped up on my screen. Mr. Creep was close enough to me to see it and for some reason took a step back.
“Well I’d better get going” I said. “Yes. Have a safe trip,” he said and backed away. I tried not to RUN to the other side of the van. I immediately got in and locked the door, my hands shaking and explained what had happened to my friend who felt helpless on the other side of the world.
“I couldn’t defend myself. There was nothing I could have done. I’m so angry,” I said. Even sitting here now almost a year later the whole thing makes me furious. I have a CCW and spend a lot of time at the range. I am good with my gun. All of them. I’m no threat to anyone who isn’t a threat to me or my children. I have a God given right to protect myself and my children. Hindering my ability to do so is absolutely unacceptable. I am no less a responsible gun owner when I cross the border into Illinois as I am in Missouri. (Though admittedly, any encounter with IDOT does have a tendency to make me a bit crazy)
There is simply no good argument against federal reciprocity. My CCW should cover me in all 50 states. I shouldn’t have to spend hundreds or thousands of dollars to get permits in every state I might set foot in. I am the same person, carrying the same weapon with the same intentions regardless of my geographical location. And most importantly, I am a mom with four small children to protect and the absolute right to do so, regardless of my geographical location. So if you would prefer to wet yourself as your means of defense because that is somehow in your mind morally superior, that’s your prerogative, sweetheart.
As for me, I prefer to be able to live my life without fear, knowing if someone decides that they would like to behave badly, they will have picked the wrong woman. And I would appreciate if my constitutional rights to do so were upheld by those who swore to uphold them.