Saturday, July 14, 2018

Packin' fear

You're 17 and you've been arrested twice for carrying a firearm. You're thinking about getting another  because you don't feel safe walking your neighborhood without one.

Stories like these are real and not rare. I spoke to a social worker recently who manages cases in one of America's most violent neighborhoods. She told me teenagers there are routinely arrested for illegally carrying guns but not for committing a crime with a firearm. They buy a weapon for protection because they fear being shot at home, walking to school, or sitting on a corner.

They become hypervigilant. They look over their shoulders. They talk to their workers about fear. They carry guns. And some of them become victims of gunfire. Some die.

During the debate about gun rights in America, some people often suggest the answer to gun violence is arming everyone. Arming teachers in schools. I guess, arming clergy in churches because we've had shootings in churches.

Perhaps when everyone carries a gun, we'll all become hypervigilant, walk about with our heads on a swivel and we'll need to talk to our social workers about our fears.

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