Thursday, August 8. Imagine. You're walking through your local Walmart, picking up the groceries you've run out of. It's a normal day, a standard Walmart trip. Out of the corner of your eye, you see something out of the ordinary.
It takes a moment to realize that the young man pushing that cart is, in fact, holding a rifle.
Obviously, at this point, you're thinking about the shootings that happened last week. Nine people died in the Daytona shooting, 22 in El Paso. Dozens more were wounded, physically and emotionally, by loss. You saw the American flag outside the store, at half-mast in their memory. It's sad to think about what's happening to the world.
Snap back to the moment and the man holding the rifle in one hand is holding a phone in the other. What is he saying? You're too far away to hear. You make your escape quietly. And you hide. Once you're outside, you hear the fire alarm go off. People then stream out, some screaming about the gunman. Some hide, like you. It's chaos as the police arrive.
Later, you find out that he didn't shoot anyone. Thank goodness, because he had a hundred rounds on him, as well as heavy body armor. Dmitriy Andreychenko, just 22 years old, caused only panic and chaos. No harm.
Somebody there detained him.
A former firefighter, who carried his gun openly, legally, and non-threateningly, found Andreychenko after the fire alarm was pulled. He followed Andreychenko through an emergency exit and detained him. He held him at gunpoint until the police arrived.
I've read very little written about this fireman. Why? Maybe it's because he carried his own gun. Nobody wants to talk about that, How guns can actually save lives.
What if that firefighter hadn't been there? What would that gunman have done? Nobody knows, and I personally don't want to picture it.
My uncle conceals and carries. As a former prison guard, living in a semi-dangerous place, with three and a half kids, he feels it necessary. And he's been in situations that have come close to him drawing his weapon for his own and his family's protection. He is ready to defend and protect others from threats.
In our world, right now, guns are being loudly protested and loudly fought for at the same time. In the meantime, while we argue amongst ourselves, real life is happening. Real people have their lives taken from them without reason and without purpose. Real families are torn apart by loss.
Maybe that man carrying a gun through Walmart didn't intend to shoot anybody. Maybe he just wanted to cause panic. Who knows why any person like that does anything. What I do know is that it is not normal behavior. It's not normal. No right-thinking person would carry a gun in the way he did, in any public area.
People with messed up minds do messed up things, regardless of whether they have access to guns or not. In Britain, where handguns are banned and rifles require a license, violent crimes reported to the police have risen 19% in the past year. It's not because of guns. People hurt each other with and without weapons. Check that fact here.
My point is, banning guns isn't going to ban violence — but the laws we have in place now don't help, either. Seriously, the only restriction we have on purchasing firearms is age. Whose idea was that? It's an old idea, no longer applicable to our world of mental illness and stability.
What's so crazy about teachers being able to hold weapons? School shootings would be less tragic, or not tragic at all. If not arming able teachers, then increased security measures should be taken, in every school. I felt safer in a larger, more chaotic high school with visible, armed officers everywhere than in a smaller school with almost no security.
This isn't about comfort anymore. This is about staying alive.
Only people that are mentally stable should have access to guns. And we should have access to guns. The world only seems to be getting worse. We need to be able to defend ourselves and others around us, or tragedies will not ever cease.
Nothing is going to change unless we, the ordinary people of this country, make it change. We have the power, if we work together toward the same goal. And we need to work together more than ever now. I, for one, have faith in us.