Please Stop Telling Me to Carry A Gun


Last December, I got mugged.

You can read the whole story here, but the truncated version: I went to a play, had a drink after at a bar three blocks form my house, walked home with two girlfriends, got mugged by three dudes, each with a gun.

They walked (ran?) away with our purses, phones and keys. It happened so fast that I wasn’t even scared.

Fortunately, we were only inconvenienced, frantically trying to reassemble our lives just days before holidays. New IDs, credits cards, phones, purses. So many lipsticks. I know those things shouldn’t matter, but it was so annoying.

I wrote about the incident on my blog, Hey Eleanor. I wanted to alert people to the fact that this was happening, but also because it’s a crazy story where something truly scary and real happened, and it happened to me.

There was just one thing I didn’t think about before clicking “publish:” with my brother’s wedding and Christmas just around the corner, I would be seeing nearly everyone I know in real-life. Everyone would know about the incident.

Initially, I was kind of relieved to have something to talk to people about. Getting mugged is way more interesting than talking about your job or the weather! But then something unexpected happened.

PEOPLE ASKED IF I WAS GOING TO START CARRYING A GUN.

In the weeks following the mugging, I heard this question over and over again. Eventually, people stopped asking because life goes on, Ob-la-di Ob-la-da.

However, Sarah Silverman recently posted this hilariously honest video, chronicling what she’s thinking as she walks to her car late at night. This is how I feel literally every time I walk to my car, every night and some days, too. And sometimes during the day.

From an early age, women are taught to pay attention. We glance under our cars before entering. We take note of who’s sharing the sidewalk with us, and why that car is slowing down and what we’re going to do if someone gets out of it (run like hell, obviously).

That’s just our reality.

Anyhow, I posted that Sarah Silverman video on Facebook and a well-intentioned guy commented that I should start “carrying a little pistol in my purse.”

While I appreciate your concern, here’s why I am probably never going carry a gun.

1. I DON’T THINK I COULD USE A GUN APPROPRIATELY IN A HIGH INTENSITY SITUATION.

Whelp, as a person who’s been held up at gunpoint, I can tell you that all I could do in that moment is hand over my purse. No chance I could’ve handled a gun in a responsible way. I probably would’ve shot myself in the leg, because adrenalin!

2. HEY BAD GUYS! WANT A FREE GUN?

If I’d been carrying a gun in my purse, whomever was mugging me would’ve not only gotten their mitts on my phone, wallet, ID, Costco card and lipsticks, but also, my little pistol. And what if, say they’d approached me just looking scary, but unarmed? I be all, here’s my stuff AND a gun!

No good.

3. THE ESCALATION FACTOR.

In my situation, there were three of us ladies and three dudes with guns. Let’s say I had gun, pulled it out confidently and said, “No bitch, how ‘bout you give me your phone!”

And then things would’ve escalated, and someone might’ve gotten shot and killed.

For a phone and a few cancelled credit cards and some really great lipstick. Not worth it.

4. I DON’T WANT TO DIE.

I pull a gun on a person who is pulling a gun on me.

Odds that I, the person who’s caught off guard and also is not a criminal, is the one who dies? 1000000 : 1.

5. WHAT ARE THE CHANCES?

What are the chances that I will be in a real-life situation that’s realistically best solved my me killing a person? I’m going with extremely low.

What are the chances of me being in a real-life situation where things are scary, but not necessarily life-threatening? For example, getting mugged. Significantly higher.

I don’t think I’m going to be “lucky” enough to find myself in a situation that actually warrants using a gun, but could definitely find myself in a situation where I might feel compelled to use it because I have it. And that leads to all sorts of problems.

6. LEGAL RAMIFICATIONS.

Post-mugging incident, I talked to a buddy of mine who’s a cop, explaining how shocked I was that so many people said I should get my conceal and carry. He laughed and said, people say stuff like that and don’t think about how shooting someone affects your life. Thousands of dollars in legal fees, years navigating the legal system. Even if you are in the right, it’s hugely complicating.

Even if I were in the right (and what if you aren’t?!), you still gotta prove it.

No thanks.

7. WHAT IF I ACTUALLY KILLED SOMEONE?

If you carry a concealed weapon, you have to be prepared to kill another person. That’s the deal.

Am I okay with that? Yeah, maybe, if they’re truly a bad guy. (Or gal. #Feminism). But what are the chances that you kill a truly bad guy/gal? And even if you did kill a bad person, that doesn’t mean it’s any less psychologically traumatic for you.

In all likelihood, you’d probably end up killing or injuring someone who’s just desperate for cash or your stupid iPhone and has no real intention of hurting you. And then guess what happens? See #5.

8. I DON’T WANT TO LIVE IN FEAR.

This might sound woo-woo to you, but I think the act of carrying a gun on your person puts you on high alert all of the time. It’s just bad juju. I personally don’t have the time or energy for that.

So guys, it boils down to this: The chances of me being in a situation that would warrant using a firearm are miniscule.

If said incident were to occur, the chances that I would use the firearm in the romanticized we way we all picture is even tinier. Life is not a scene from Pulp Fiction. Thank god for that!

I’m better off doing what I already do:

Taking note of my surroundings.

Locking my car doors.

Crossing the street whenever see someone walking toward me on the sidewalk.

Telling my husband and friends where I’m going and who I’m going with. Not walking alone at night.

Taking a cab, even when I just want to walk dammit!

Always having a charged phone in my pocket.

Avoiding creepy stairwells and parking garages.

Never taking candy from strangers.

I think I’m safer that way, even if you don’t.

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