I’ve never owned a gun. I’ve never shot anything more than a BB gun, and that was when I was a girl. My father had a gun. It was something he had gotten when he was in the army. I didn’t know where he kept it until after I had moved away from home. My uncle used to be pretty big on hunting — mostly birds out in West Texas. He made his own shells and carefully trained his dogs. He loved those dogs and worked wonders with them. When I visited them in the summers, most mornings we would have fried quail for breakfast — birds my uncle had shot and my aunt had shown my sister and me how to clean, being especially careful about getting the shot out. Even though he’s in his 80s, people still come to my uncle for advice on training their bird dogs.
I was disappointed when the concealed gun law passed in Texas. Ann Richards had vetoed it, but then George W. Bush was elected, and he quickly signed it into law. Prior to that, I had experienced an attempted mugging. It was way back in the early 1980′s. I had had a flat tire just before Studemont goes under I-10. I couldn’t change it because I had dropped my spare off to be patched. As I started to walk up to the gas station at Studemont and White Oak, three people (all about my age then or younger) approached and asked if I needed help. I explained what my plan was and they followed me to the station. On the way back, as we all came out from under the overpass, one of the males stuck a gun in my back and demanded all of my money. Unfortunately, I had just spent what little I had on the can of fix-a-flat I bought and told them so. They didn’t believe me. I argued with them — two in front, one in back — at times being sarcastic, asking if they wanted to take my goldfish which was in a bowl in the back seat of my car. Out of the blue, a car drove up into the parking lot where I had managed to get my car, flat and all. He walked up very friendly and casual and asked if we needed help. I told him I was just trying to fix my flat since I didn’t have a spare. The good samaritan explained that his wife had been behind him and that he had waved her on, so she expected him at home, but he could take me and my flat to a full service gas station up the feeder road to get it fixed. The three with the gun seemed intimidated by him and slowly moved on with his encouragement. After the samaritan and I had gotten my flat into his car, I asked him if his wife would be worried. He explained that it was all a ruse — no wife. He helped me get my flat fixed and then we went to an ice house on White Oak for a few beers. He worked for HL&P — Houston’s old electric company — and we stayed friends for a while.
I’ve been robbed since then. Once someone just walked into my house and stole my guitar — while I was there. I ran out to the robber’s waiting car, yelling at him and his companions as they drove away. In Riga, one of my fellow teachers, Ewan from Scotland, and I were beaten pretty badly one night on the street by a gang of high school boys. They attacked us from behind, punched me in the face innumerable times, pinned me down on the ground and beat Ewan. A man came and scared them away. As we made our way to the tram stop, the same boys attacked us again. I remember very little about that part except that I got kicked in the head several times. We somehow got away. Later at my school, some boys told me that they knew the boys who had done it and asked if I wanted them to pay the other boys back. I told them no, but asked how they knew. Turns out Ewan and I had given as good as we had gotten.
When I lived in Midtown in Houston, I got mugged one night on the doorstep of my apartment. I lived two blocks from the Houston Community College Central Campus, but the campus police couldn’t help me. I lost my keys while fighting them, and they charged up a couple of my credit cards before I called it in. My lovely neighbor called the police and reported me. It took a bit of time to clarify that I was the one who had been mugged. The police just said that we were sitting ducks living in that neighborhood.
I’ve since moved to the near northside. Things are better. If someone is crazy enough to cross Dora’s territory — and that means even putting a hand over the fence — they’ll reget it. Tammy is not so territorial, but she is loyal to us and very intimidating in person. When we were moving to my friend’s place to wait out Hurricane Rita, I felt safe — despite the eerie strangeness of that day — because I had my girls, my bat, and my 12″ pipe with me.
And so after all of that here we are: guns. I don’t need a gun. Dora and Tammy are loyal to ME and MINE. Both would give their lives for me — Dora would even do so for this property. My bat and pipe, while not loyal to me, are two things that I can both defend myself with and from. If someone wrestles either from me, I know how to defend myself against them. A gun, not so much. I can talk. I can persuade. I can argue. I can cajole. But if I had a gun, and it got away from me, I wouldn’t be able to stop it.
I don’t want to go in front of a class knowing that someone in the room could have a gun. Weapons of any kind are not allowed on campus. It should stay that way. One incident doesn’t mean that the rules should change in either direction. For me, I’d like to be able to lock my classroom if it were necessary. As it stands now, I can’t. There’s not even a lock button on the knob. At least having a key lock would be good. Oh and, if I had a key. Having armed students in the classroom, day in, day out . . . conservatives like Chris Baker constantly complain about the PC police . . . just imagine the situation a teacher would be in if her students were potentially armed. Imagine that.
If that is what you want, you don’t want teachers to be able to do their jobs. If you think the solution is more guns, please think again. Right now, the ding-dong news reader Brian Williams is stating on the Letterman Show that the NASA shooting was a copycat killing and that there have been 16 others. Dave babbled what what — but Brian Williams just got to go on and state his non-point. The NASA killing, like the one today in Houston over an eviction, were not copycat killings. They would have happened anyway. The man at NASA bought the gun earlier and had planned it. The man who was facing eviction today had a gun already. There was a heroine here:
Thurm then continued toward the office. Ready said a witness called the complex office and warned Schoellmann that a man was headed that way with a gun. Schoellmann then ushered other employees out of the office.
“The early warning the manager made to coworkers likely saved their lives,” Ready said.
Laura Schoellmann was the apartment manager. She saved lives. Brian Williams would surely dismiss her actions just to make his point. We’ll never know.
If there is a copycat killer out there, s/he hasn’t acted yet.
Fewer handguns would work out well for everyone. Lots of arguments have been made for this — mine is that our state and our country finally move into the 21st century. Stop killing people. Period.