Sunday, January 20, 2013

Would you stay in line with this guy?

This is a man standing at a check-out counter in a J.C. Penney store in Ogden, Utah, last Wednesday toting not only this rifle, whatever it is, but also a Glock.  He's making a point: Utah is one of 43 states to have an open carry law allowing gun lovers can carry their toys wherever they want, church, restaurants, movie theaters, even into a mall store where mothers are shopping with children.
Other shoppers were supposed to take it on faith that this is one of the NRA's "good guys with guns" as opposed a homicidal maniac ready to start shooting if say, his credit card is rejected or someone says something to him about his weaponry. Or perhaps the police might have showed up thinking he was a potential mass murderer and then God knows what would have happened.
What do you think your reaction would be if he had shown up at the Granite Run Mall J.C. Penney?  What would have been your reaction if the guy was black, wearing a hoodie and toting exactly the same firepower?
My whole life I have felt like I live in two different countries.  There's the eastern and western seaboards, where I've lived my whole life and that vast fly-over middle of the country, the "heartland," the real America," etc. -- like Wyoming, where my father came from and never went back, and Kentucky where my stepfather came from, and made the mistake of going back.
My stepfather never had guns in the house although he was in the military.  He was a submarine sailor and they weren't armed because what were they going to do, shoot a hole in the submarine?
But after he retired he went home to Kentucky and acquired all of the necessary accouterments -- the pickup truck, the rifle rack and the coon dog.  He stopped short one day and threw the coon dog out of the back of the truck.  She was so badly injured her leg had to be amputated. 
Then he shot an unarmed neighbor in the foot and served eight months in the county jail at the age of 69.  The police, even in that rural part of western Kentucky, didn't buy his story that he was "defending his castle."
These two countries in my head are so different and yet not different enough.  Pennsylvanians are rushing to buy guns and get concealed carry permits, and from now on I will have to sit in a crowded movie theater even in the Walnut St. Theater's production of The Music Man and wonder how many people around me are carrying guns?  Which is the quickest way out?  
I don't want to have to pick out the good guys with guns from the bad guys with guns and I most assuredly do not want to be one of the good guys with guns. 
So yesterday, Gun Appreciation Day, hundreds gathered at statehouses around the country, mostly in the Midwest and South, carrying their legal firearms.  Fortunately nothing tragic happened but five people accidentally shot themselves or others at gun shows, again fortunately, none fatally. That's just the way it ids in Gunland.
I'm not going to urge you to boycott J.C. Penney because as commentators pointed out on the blogosphere yesterday, what this jerk did in Utah was perfectly legal, but I am going to urge you to say something to J.C. Penny either online or in person because national retail chains can make quite a stink about this sort of thing when it may cause them to lose other, saner shoppers.


  1. Jodine,
    Here's a related item I thought you'd like.

  2. Unfortunately it's probably a lot rarer to find an abandoned gun in a women's restroom. I'll be looking though.