Thursday, August 30, 2018

Danger Close

So, there was an armed robbery in daylight, in an alley fairly close to the house the other day. The robber gratuitously shot his victim in the leg before running off, too.

Partly this story illustrates the steepness of the crime frequency gradients in 21st Century urban America. Here, a gentrified neighborhood where mothers on maternity leave from jobs at Eli Lilly or Rolls Royce push their infant children on porch swings in the half-light of pre-dawn is only blocks away from one where gang bangers do drive-bys on business rivals.

In the mornings, I wake up and put my feet on the floor when the alarm goes off. Then I watch the local news while consuming coffee, soda, bacon, and the cocktail of pills I'm still taking to repair my shoulder. After the first ten or fifteen minutes of the national news (which comes on at 0700) I head out around the block for my walk.

This morning, in light of recent events, Bobbi replied to my "I'm headed out" with "Do you have a gun?"

She was asking out of genuine concern, and so I did not reply sardonically with "I'm wearing pants, aren't I?" or "Am I in the secure area of an airport?"

But I'm not carrying a gun because I'm afraid. I'm carrying a gun because carrying a gun is what I do. If I'm dressed, there's a Gen4 Glock 19 on my person, whether I'm at home or out and about.

I carry a wallet in case I need to buy something. I carry a flashlight in case I need to see something. I carry a knife in case I need to open something. And I carry a gun in case I need to stop someone from trying to grievously harm me.

This doesn't mean that I walk around thinking everyone's trying to grievously harm me, any more than it means I think everyone's a dark place that needs a flashlight shone on them.