By: Lonnie Brennan – January 2013
“Free men own guns. Slaves don’t,” Tim gruffed as he shuffled egg bits around on his plate, speaking to no one, but speaking to everyone as we caught up at the local breakfast nook called Theo’s (best omelets around, but I was in the mood for the special pancakes for which I brought in my own ‘real’ maple syrup, yum, yum).
“Yeah, but today, today, with all the killings… In Chicago, see, the Chicago Tribune just printed more than 500 murdered folks, by guns in 2012,” a young guy twisting on a stool and tapping his electronic phone thing replied to Tim. I could feel Tim’s warming up, and I just sat back and poured some more syrup. This kid was going to get a little self-education; Tim was going to make him think. I’ve seen this before. I could see Tim was going to have some fun.
“How many of those 500 fought back”? Tim asked.
The ‘Kid’ had been spouting and spouting about gun control and Obama since he sat down.
“What do you mean fought back?” the twenty-something year old said as he tapped on his electronic phone thing as I could see his eggs getting colder by the moment (obsessed as he was with text-chats since the minute he sat down. Heck, it took the waitress several tries to get his order between taps and beeps and more taps on that little phone thingy communication destroyer the kid gripped like Linus’s security blanket).
“Fought back. When they were banging down his front door, what did the guy do? Grab a broom? Grab the phone? Grab a gun to defend himself and his kids?” Tim whispered very slowly as he poured a little cream into his fresh brew.
“Gun? That’s the problem. That’s what I said. They can’t have guns. That’s what caused the murder” the kid sneered.
“So, what you’re saying is that it’s O.K. for the bad guy to come in with a gun, but the homeowner, or that apartment dweller in Chicago you were yammering about, can only defend himself with the telephone?” Tim held back an inner laugh.
The kid went on with a long explanation about how guns were bad, how guns caused the 500 murders in Chicago, how guns are evil, blah blah, blah.
“Chicago. Isn’t that one of Obama’s home-towns?” Tim asked, and continued without waiting for an answer “the gun control laws there are tremendous. ‘The ‘city without guns’ is what they call those gun laws. If I wanted to own a gun in Chicago, no way, no how. So why do you think, in a city where you can’t get a gun legally, 500 dads and moms got murdered? Have you looked at how many home break-ins occurred there? How many times neighbors hid while a gang of three or four punks banged on a door until finally making their way in, quickly killing the homeowner, grabbing what they could, then disappearing in the night? How many small businessmen murdered by lone gunmen? Have you thought about this at the ground-level?” Tim dug. “About being a dad, protecting your wife, at ground level?”
“Ground level? What do you mean” the kid replied, his hand frozen in time above his tapping device.
“Well, put yourself there. It’s a Friday night. You’re home watching TV with your bride. Suddenly there’s a big rumble outside your door, and then, someone is banging and trying to break in. What would you do?” Tim started.
“Now, before you think about calling the police, which is what you need to do, I have to ask, what will happen to you and your bride if the door gets broken down before the cops show up, like it did for hundreds of folks in Chicago?” Tim deadpanned.
“Do you have an exit strategy? Like a safe room with a bigger lock and a tougher door to keep them away from you while you wait for the cops? Do you have any kind of defense weapons? Pepper spray? Will it work against 3 punks high on the latest drugs? Do you have any way to comfort your wife and your children, as you wait, while they continue to pound on that door, that door, the hinges, the only thing between you and a raped wife, a knife in your gut, your kids throats slashed. How long will it be? How many minutes, how much terror of the unknown?” Tim asked.
I forgot I was in a restaurant. The place was dead silent. The focus was gone. Everyone was watching the twenty-something ‘kid’. His phone now placed silently on the counter.
“So, what you’re telling me, what you’re trying to tell me is that, if I had to defend my family, if I had a wife and kids, and it was up to me, I would need something, something now, while we waited, something just in case, in case they broke in our safe door where we ran to hide,” he managed, his eyes fixated on something but nothing, his vision gone to a home, to a place, to a situation beyond his control.
“Just asking,” Tim said, as he poked his eggs again and started back at his breakfast.
“Hmm, so when seconds count, the cops are just minutes away,” the kids managed.
“I think you get my point,” Tim said. “Too many folks don’t prepare, and can’t fight back. I hope you never have to fight back. If you do, I hope you can protect yourself, somehow.”
The score (as reported just before press time by the Chicago Tribune): 500 moms and dads and kids murdered in Chicago last year. Yes, in a city that continues to impose extremely restrictive gun laws on its citizens, leaving those law-abiding citizens naked to the wolves. Oh, and that’s a 17% increase from 2011.
“Keep the faith, stock up on food, cash, and laundry detergent, and as always, keep sending your notes. Peace.”