Letter - Don't take your guns to townLast week, while leaving a store in Alexandria, I saw a man walking to his car in the parking lot with a holstered pistol at his side.
To the editor:
Last week, while leaving a store in Alexandria, I saw a man walking to his car in the parking lot with a holstered pistol at his side. He wasn’t a cowboy with spurred boots and a 10-gallon hat, nor did he climb into an old rusty pickup truck covered with NRA bumper stickers. He, in fact, looked like a guy I might see unloading corn at the local elevator, or having a drink at the Knotty Pine. And that’s what made it all the more depressing.
What was depressing was the fact that this man, this normal guy, this guy not unlike me, felt he had to carry a lethal weapon with him when he went shopping in Alexandria. He must have felt afraid, he must have felt threatened, he must have felt he had to protect himself from ... from what?
Yes, there have been mass killings in this country and they are horrible. One or two have taken place in shopping malls, and there could even have been a mass killing in a small town like Alexandria. But does carrying a pistol with you keep you safe in the minutely tiny chance that you might encounter a killer in your daily shopping? Chances are it would not.
But the fact, the very visible fact, that at least one guy in Alexandria that day thought it would, was depressing. We can’t combat violence with violence, any more than we can combat insanity with insanity. If I knew this man well enough to talk to him, I would tell him, “Next time you go shopping, leave your guns at home and wear a smile for your fellow shoppers instead. It will make everybody feel better.”