I recently spent some low-quality time in a “gun-free zone”: three trips to my local hospital in two days. Even though I was incapacitated, with IV tubes hanging out of my body, I had a hard time coming to terms with the fact that I had left my preferred mode of self-defense behind. As I lay in the hospital bed listening to the beeps of the machines pumping antibiotics into my veins, I thought about why I’d willingly disarmed. The giant sign on the door proclaiming “NO WEAPONS ALLOWED” wasn’t what stopped me . . .
The answer is simple enough: I was ill. Very ill. I had a severe infection. My left eye had swollen shut. I couldn’t see well; I was wearing an ice pack on the left side of my face. Could I have used a gun effectively? No. No way. Absolutely not. Did it constantly cross my mind that I was unarmed? Yep. I carry on-body. I missed the reassurance of the cold metal against my skin.
Luckily, conveniently, coincidentally, the hospital police were stationed outside my room. One carried a GLOCK. The other a large revolver. I kept wishing I had my best-metal-friend with me. Even though I knew I was incapable of moving, just knowing it was there in the cubby with my clothes and purse would have made me feel better – even though I wouldn’t have been able to use it.
I eventually came to terms with the fact that it was OK to be unarmed in a “gun-free zone” – when there are armed defenders on-site. Because sometimes we can’t take care of ourselves. Sometimes we have to rely on the kindness – and protection – of strangers. And sometimes that’s OK.