Laughing at some TV show, book at my side, in bed, early Sunday night, one of my nights alone at home with my aged mom. I have learned to appreciate these nights, to utilize them to unwind, relax, be at peace with myself, and the world.
The house alarm sounded, loud, screeching, alarming as they are meant to do. I shot up like a rocket, looking to grab something, a weapon of sorts to defend myself, upset then grateful my dog was not around to experience this trauma.
Armed with nothing, heart pounding out of my chest, my mom slept, of course with selective hearing, she opted not to hear this. Thank God. I checked the house waiting for the alarm company to call. No calls. Just the line lit up where the mechanism notifies the company. I picked up the phone anyway. The first number I saw, my neighbor's. I called.
By the time I opened my front door she was in the street with a flashlight looking to protect me. Another neighbor with his dog was 'casing' my property. Saw nothing. Calmed a bit I re-entered the house and saw it was the 'fire' signal. No fire. No smoke, still shaking, the phone finally rang: the alarm company. All was well. Midnight, like Cinderella, I could go back to bed. I thanked everyone but there was no sleeping for me. My heart threatened to burst out of my chest.
Years back I had been stalked, the house broken into, guns pointed at me; I had not, obviously, gotten past it. I cursed the stalker, cursed the world then looked for solutions as I am prone to do. A gun. That's what would make me feel safe. I would ask a friend who knows all about guns to buy me one. That solved I then went on a thinking binge as to what type of gun. Something I could handle easily, so not too heavy. Something that would fit in my night table drawer. I know a bit about guns from my stint as an Assistant District Attorney in New York City and I clerked at the U.S. Attorney's Office in law school. No expert, but I decided on a .22 -- would fit in the drawer, easy to handle. Case resolved, I fell asleep. Next morning I woke up laughing at myself. No way was I going to get a gun. My neighbor, 80 and proud of it, was hysterically laughing at me. Couldn't believe I called her with a flashlight to save me. Obviously I wasn't thinking rationally the night before. I let my fear dominate me, my thoughts, my action.
Today in the wake of the shooting in Colorado I wonder if that's why we allow so many guns in this country. Fear. They are readily accessible. No expert again but I think we are one of the biggest gun manufacturers in the world. Money does make it go around but I don't think that's the whole answer. I read Russell Simmon's blog. Watched Piers Morgan. A semi-automatic that could shoot 71 people in less than a minute I believe? Who needs these guns? Why do we permit it? If we want to rely on a strict interpretation of the Constitution then let's sell guns that were in use at that time. Not these semi-automatics that can mow people down indiscriminately. And let me add, the Constitution addresses bearing arms in self defense, in one's home. But I belabor the point.
I am not equating any of my experiences with the horror, the atrocity of these senseless shootings. I invoke it because I am trying to fathom why, we as a people, as an electorate, permit our politicians, our elected officials to go along with special interests who obviously just want to sell guns, and don't care to whom. Why don't we care? Why don't we do something about it? Is it fear? Is it a deep down fear that we can be harmed so we need to have protection and maybe the police can't be everywhere so what the hell, I just might need a gun someday and I don't want anyone telling me I can't have one. Certainly that is what I felt two weeks ago. I know it must be hard to have withstood or survived or avoided a violent attack yet we all know more violence is not the answer and as someone who has experienced this violence I can attest to it and I have listened to others many of whom are on the same page. Why do we equate protecting ourselves with the semi automatic and automatic weapons? There is no correlation. It defies any sense of logic, of reason. Why do we not demand strong gun control legislation? Demand rigid stringent background checks and other requirements so that these automatic and semi automatic weapons and ammunition cannot readily be bought in stores or on the Internet by anyone? Have we totally abdicated our moral duty as citizens to whomever has 'bought' us with rhetoric or emotion or plain hard cash? After each tragedy we keep saying we want to address the issue and don't. I just don't get our reasoning. I just don't get why we complain when we are part and parcel of the problem. I just don't get how we can feel so terrible for these victims then give lip service and do nothing about it.