So I was heading back into Shreveport from my quick trip to Dallas, hurrying in, because I wanted to attend a piano recital for a music teacher friend of mine. It dawned on me that I had no idea where the recital was to be held. So I called her. And she told me “Schumpert Hospital.” And thus, another can o’ worms was opened.
I was born at Schumpert Hospital. Not that this has anything to do with anything, but I offer that little bon mot as a way to introduce a little local color, and build something of a backstory. Now I wasn’t actually born in the “New” Schumpert (or what they used to call the “New” Schumpert, before the “Old” Schumpert was torn down, which is where I was born). Nope. The Old Schumpert gave way to the new Schumpert Cancer Treatment Hospital, which is where my mom received the diagnosis of “inoperable brain cancer” ten years ago, which was the disease that killed her. So let’s just say I have a history with the place. And after yesterday, I have one more issue to add to my list.
Actually, it’s not Schumpert’s fault, per se. Nope. It’s the Louisiana Legislature, and the way they wrote their conceal carry statute. (Don’t get me started about Louisiana law, Napoleonic Code, and how Louisiana has occasionally considered changing the state motto from “Union, Justice, Confidence” to “A State of Inditement.”)
Almost every state in the Union that has a conceal carry law on the books also offers reciprocity – they honor an out-of-state CHL, as well. But while my Texas CHL gives me the right to conceal carry in Louisiana, I must abide by the Louisiana rules, not the Texas ones. That opens up a world of opportunities for me to screw up, and when you screw up with a CHL, possible outcomes are jail time and the ever-popular “license revocation.” Which is soooo not cool, when I think back on the trouble I had to go through to get the bloody thing in the first place.
So one of the bones they threw those that lobbied against the bill in the first place, was an exemption for Hospitals. Yep. Every hospital is, by default (and through no default of my own) a “Gun-Free Zone.” (read: “Target-Rich Environment.”) While I find it odd that other well-known Gun-Free Zones (those would be schools, government buildings and churches) have had more than their fair share of shoot outs, I find it odd that hospitals seem to be the only place to not have a well-publicized gun battle within their walls. I suppose it’s only a matter of time. But of course, for those of us who prefer to travel with some .45 caliber security on their hip, a hospital is not a hip place to be.
Now I’m sure that most of the people that put this law together were thinking, “who would ever want to conceal carry in a hospital.” Interesting question. (Interesting answer: everybody with a CHL. DUH.) Interesting, question, sure, but it’s the wrong question. What everyone should be asking is, What are the odds that a bad guy (who will ignore the law anyway) will bring a gun into a hospital with murder or mayhem on their minds, and are there any legitimate reasons a CHL holder shouldn’t carry there?
Kinda makes for an entirely different point of view on the question, doesn’t it? You see, when you approach this from the point of view of a non-gun-friendly society, you are looking at it from a default position of “NOWHERE” when the “where should CHL holders be allowed to carry” is posed. When instead you start from a presumption that CHL holders are trained, responsible citizens, then you also assume that they should be able to carry everywhere, unless there is a compelling reason that they not do so.
As for me, I’d love to live in a world where I didn’t need to stay in Condition Yellow, and worry that every Tom, Dick, and Jackwagon wasn’t just about to haul out a pop gun and start a-poppin.’ But we don’t live in Mayberry, and hospitals are just as likely to be someplace bad guys might go as anywhere else.
Willie Sutton (a famous bank robber for those of you who think Axe for Men Body Spray is the ne plus ultra of men’s grooming) was asked, “Why do you rob banks?” His reply? “That’s where all the money is.” Don’t you think, maybe, perhaps, the guys who want access to morphine and other Class 3 Controlled Substances might just maybe think “Hey – hospitals have lots of drugs in ’em…let’s go rob THEM.” Since a disproportionately large number of hospitals have both pharmacies and several locations where such meds are stored, I’d say that your odds of running into someone intent on robbery would be higher and not lower at a hospital.
Let’s look at why guns in hospitals (in the hands of responsible individuals) would be a bad idea. I’m thinking around oxygen and around an MRI machine, but other than that, Im coming up empty-handed. (Well, save for that smokin’ hot Kimber Pro Criimson Carry II that I’ve been carrying.) Nope. I see no compelling, rational reason that I should be prohibited from carrying in a hospital. Do you know a liberal? A Progressive? Ask them. I got nuthin.’
So my daughter and I went to the recital, sans gun. Dagnabbit. And on the way home, my daughter said to me, “Dad, you know I really like it that you carry a gun. It makes me feel safer to know that you can defend us if something bad happens.” I didn’t have the heart to tell her that the gun was at home.