I know what you’re thinking: he’s going to link to another editorial that misinterprets the Second Amendment’s militia clause, argues that American gun owners couldn’t possibly face down the military might of a tyrannical government, and lobbies for draconian gun rights infringement under the guise of “common sense.” Nope. This one is exponentially more execrable. And it goes a little something like this: “There’s a mantra quickly repeating in my head: ‘Please have a badge. Please have a badge. Please have a badge.’ It’s a steady heartbeat as I begin a conversation with a shop clerk and reposition myself so I can peer over her shoulder . . .
I’ve already seen the bulge in his jacket, and it’s clear from the size and shape that he has a holstered gun. Now my eyes are quickly scanning, hoping to find a law enforcement badge clipped to his belt.
I’m in a local bookstore and there’s a sticker near the door asking patrons not to carry weapons on the premises. My two children scurried off the moment we entered, each in search of their own treasures.
The man with the weapon is as interested with the bookstore patrons as he is with the books on display. I’ve watched him watch others. The way he tracks them is unnerving.
Spoiler alert: nothing happens. Lynda Waddington’s editorial at Iowa’s thegazette.com, Why your gun makes me nervous, doesn’t go anywhere, plot-wise. Nor does it explain why the concealed carrier made Waddington nervous. But it does raise an interesting question: and they call us nuts?
There’s no badge — at least not one I can see. And my inspection of him has not gone unnoticed. I rotate my handbag so that more of it rests toward the front of my body and gently pat it. It’s a tell by women who are packing heat in their purse. Many do it without thinking, a subtle check of hard steel through the leather. My touch is greeted by the bristles on my hairbrush, but no one else knows that.
The man recognizes the gesture, his eyes briefly flicking to my own before he moves past us in the aisle.
I still don’t know him, and the movie trailers increase. He could be the stalker, searching for his mark. He could be contemplating a robbery, or seeking someone to abduct. He could be an off-duty police officer, or even one that is undercover. He could be paranoid, thinking the world is out to get him or knowing someone truly is. He could be a fugitive, a drug dealer, a rapist or the owner of a sporting goods store. He could be a million things.
Whatever he may or may not be, we know what he is: an American exercising his natural, civil and Constitutionally protected right to keep and bear arms. As handgunlaw.us reveals, “‘No Firearm’ signs in Iowa have no force of law unless they are posted on property that is specifically mentioned in State Law as being off limits to those with a Permit/License to Carry.”
The real problem here is obvious: fear. Ms. Waddington’s fear that a man with a gun could do her harm. In this she is not wrong. But there’s wrong and there’s wrong. While a man with a concealed weapon could pose a lethal threat, anyone could be carrying a concealed weapon. Anyone could be a threat to her or her family.
Gun rights offer Ms. Waddington a chance to defend herself against threats to her and/or her family. The idea that legislating against gun rights would make her safer against people who want to do her harm – with or without a gun – makes no sense. But like I said, this could be the worst anti-gun rant in the history of the wold ever.
Although he is unknown to me, I do know Iowa’s lackluster gun laws and that they offer no assurances. While law enforcement officers have been trained with their weapons, civilians handed licenses to carry weapons in Iowa need not have ever touched, much less fired a weapon.
Mandated classes do not teach those who carry to use, nor do they assess accuracy or respect.
I do not know the last time the weapon in the man’s holster was maintained, and state law provides no assurances he knows how to maintain it.
As we leave, I am angered by lawmakers and gun advocates who preach blind trust in the same breath as they extol the dangers of society as their reason for needing to carry a weapon in a bookstore.
Blind trust? Well, someone’s blind here and not a little emotionally and intellectually challenged. For example, I don’t think the word “extol” means what Ms. Waddington thinks it means. Anyway, Ms. Waddington, do not ask for whom the gun rights advocates extol. They extol for thee.