My teenage step-daughter and I are having “issues.” Unlike her classmates’ parents, I don’t let her wander down the local drag or around the mall without knowing her location and cohorts. I don’t trust her; I check her location using her phone’s GPS locator (she knows about it). It’s a constant battle to establish what she’s up to, both in the real world and online. Last night, she turned to me and said “I don’t like you.” Just like that. Matter-of-fact. I could see myself through her eyes, and I didn’t like what I saw. So tonight, again, I tried to explain . . .
It was one of the rare moments of peace between us. She was sitting on the lawn, lolling actually, cuddling the Schnauzer. I was smoking a cigar, leaning against the SUV’s tailgate.
I told I was freaked out. I’d seen images on borderlandbeat.com of two Mexican men decapitated by drug thugs wielding a large chainsaw. There was a link to a video, but I couldn’t watch it.
“I wish you didn’t have to live in a world where these kind of animals exist,” I said. “And I know you think you know how to keep yourself safe. But you don’t. Until you’re older, I’m going to do everything I can to protect you.”
My step-daughter tried to tell me that our world is different from the Mexican nightmare. And she’s right. It is. We can sit on a manicured lawn on an Indian summer’s night without fear that someone will come and destroy us.
My step-daughter also claimed to appreciate the fact that there are bad people in the world. “I read about it all the time at school,” she said. Also true. But . . .
I told her I was mugged downtown at knife-point at her age. “When you look that kind of person in the eyes, you know that there’s no clear border between us and the evil people that surround us.”
I didn’t discuss this with her, but I thought to myself, that’s why I’m armed. I carry a gun to protect myself and my loved ones if and when worlds collide.
Obviously, the odds that I’d be at the right place and right time to use my firearm to “save” my step-daughter from harm are extremely low. But it’s not entirely impossible. And if I needed a gun and didn’t have one and something horrible occurred to her or the rest of my family, I’d never forgive myself.
Besides, I have to protect myself, so that I can provide her with the other kinds of safety she needs. As the child of a holocaust survivor, I know that danger isn’t always “out there.” And even when it is, things change. It can come looking for you.
I may live in a bubble of safety, but evil is not so far away.
My step-daughter disappeared into the house without much in the way of warning. Apparently, our little chat was over. But the questions raised by my parental policing linger . . .
Do you live with people who believe that carrying a gun is “proof” that you’re “over-reacting” to the distant possibility of violence? Perhaps members of your own family. Have you ever been tempted to lock away you gun and . . . relax? Or can you only relax when you have access to a firearm?
Where does precaution end and paranoia begin?