I know perfectly sane people that own guns. Lots of them. They are our fathers, my friends, my customers, and people just like me.
Except, they own guns. No other single factor about these people in any way, other than the fact that they own a handgun makes them any different from me.
But they feel different to me in some way. I do not love them less, or respect them less, but they feel different now, and I don’t know why.
Several times over the last month or so, I have had random conversations about, and one unexpected exposure to, handguns. More specifically, I have had conversations about owning guns and carrying them. But I have to rewind…
This story starts in back in January, at a client’s office in a rough neighborhood. I’m sitting at a table in a small conference room with a client, talking about software for his business.
The wiry, smaller man reaches into his waistband and drops a small automatic pistol on the conference table in front of me. “Check this out” he states, matter of fact like. I am being watched, very carefully, for my response. I also know immediately and instinctively not to reach for it, without question. I can see this clearly in his eyes.
“wow” … is all I can muster. This is a Twilight Zone like moment for me, one I have not experienced before, and my brain is trying desperately to right itself. I have never had a gun pulled on me in a meeting before.
“this is a rough neighborhood… huh?” is all I can blurt out as I try to save myself. Poorly.
“Nah, I always have one on me, anyways. I have a carry-all permit, Check out the other one on my leg.” Two guns now.
“really?” Again, meekly, I mutter. I am surprised again, and I am now mad at myself. I didn’t notice his earlier cue to show all of our weapons, and he takes this as an immediate weakness, and moves his chair a bit closer to me, sensing that I am perhaps uncomfortable, with the guns in the room, and on the table so to speak.
“Guns sure make a conversation go in a different direction sometimes.” he simply states, and pops the little handgun back into it’s secret holster and the guns are all gone.
This is surreal. I am a computer consultant, not a cop, or a army captain. Most of us are not armed at work. I am definitely not. He finishes mumbling that the software is great, and thanks me. He walks out of the room, and I find a reason to leave, quickly.