Shoot Me if You Must
First of all, if you are a licensed gun owner, legally carry your gun, enjoy shooting, and adamantly defend the second amendment — I am not against any of those things for you, and I do not wish to create a divided line between us. I am hoping that you can take a few minutes and hear me. Maybe then, we can understand each other better.
My grandfather owed an entire wall of guns displayed in his “gun room” — they were mostly antique, but I knew he and my dad and uncle could, and often did, shoot their guns. I remember one of them shooting a snake in the creek that ran the length of my grandfather’s house (the creek, not the snake).
My Dad was in the military. Throughout my childhood he owned guns, but he never once introduced me or my sisters to guns or how to shoot one; I guess because we were daughters, not sons. So admittedly, I come from a place lacking personal knowledge of what it feels like to shoot a gun. However, I do know the pain and fear of living in a country where another mass shooting is likely to happen in the next day, next week, or month.
In 2016, I was offered free lessons at a shooting range. I was then a high school teacher in a small conservative town in Northeast Ohio. I was asked by another teacher if I would be interested in learning to shoot a gun. A local shooting range was offering all teachers in the county free lessons. I was not interested, but I asked him why he wanted to carry a gun. He said as if it should be obvious, “In case of a school shooter . . . and at home, because I want to keep my family safe.”
I understood where this was coming from — the popular and NRA backed solution to the epidemic of school shootings — guns in the hands of teachers. BUT, arming teachers is a terrible and deadly idea. And who did this man think was going to come to his house and threaten his family to the point that he would have to shoot them?
This isn’t the world I live in, is it?
But it is.
If I hear a noise even remotely akin to a gunshot, while in a movie theater, church, Walmart, on my way across campus, or anywhere in public, I actually think for a second that I may be shot.
And I go anyway, unarmed, but not because I’m brave.
All of these things strengthen my resolve that I am not interested in learning to shoot a gun, and I will not own one.
I do not want to be one more American that will shoot or shoot back as a way of life.
I want peace. And I will not contribute to a culture that fears one another to the extent that I am ready to kill or be killed.
So, I say, shoot me if you must.