After all, it's hard to tell us apart -- we're all surly, scowling people who love camo and can't carry a tune in a basket, right? Just itchin' to "plug" somebody, right? Not quite as couth or clever as our betters, are we?
At least, that's the message I'm reading from one of our local civil-libertarian types, who seems to be very much in favor of 9 out of the first 10 amendments to the U. S. Constitution. But oh, that pesky Second! Oh, those feeeeeelthy, ignernt gunnies! (Oh, heavens, what if one moved in next door? There goes the neighborhood!)
Writing about the incident in which a Kroger employee shot and killed a man with a previous history of armed robbery, who was in the process of taking a hostage to the manager's office by threat of arms, she quotes her husband saying, "Here we go again. It won’t be two days until the gun lovers start insisting that everyone should be armed." And she agrees.
Really? Everyone? Nonsense, dear sir and and ma'am; like the State for a generation now, I simply insist that no law-abiding citizen should be kept by law from being armed if he or she chooses to be armed. Nobody's saying you should be, only that you should not be prevented from so doing.
Interestingly, Indiana has one of the most liberal shall-issue handgun carry permit laws in the country and has been that way for a generation; this state went shall-issue in 1980, seven years before Florida, and had been "permissive may-issue" since before WW II. 31 years on, Indy's still safer than no-legal-carry Chicago.
This doesn't prevent the usual Dire Prediction Of Blood -- not in the streets, this time: "I can see it now: Shoot-out in canned goods! Gunfire in the cereal aisle.... So what if a trigger-happy employee misconstrues a “situation” and starts shooting?"
Except, you see, we're already running the experiment. We've been running it longer than both the shooter and the dead criminal at Kroger had been alive. We already know the outcome: there aren't any "shoot-outs in canned goods" and 99.99999% of the time, the only red on the floor is from a dropped jar of tomato-based product (or hot sauce). Your worst fears have not come true -- because most people, yes, even those of us who had a State Police background check, got fingerprinted and paid for a License To Carry Handgun, most people are good and decent; most people are reluctant to take human life.
I don't carry a gun to shoot somebody, I carry a gun so I can have a better chance of keeping bad people from hurting me.
In Indianapolis, persons with carry permits are several percent of population and you can be assured that any time you're in the grocery, odds are you're in the presence of a lawfully-armed individual. Odds are even better they're not going to plug you over that last can of creamed corn, any more than they'd run you over in the parking lot for taking a space they wanted -- and nearly a hundred percent of the shoppers, checkers, butchers and stockpersons have a car. Why do you trust them with an automobile but not a gun?
Still no word from Kroger. It appears almost certain that they do have a "no weapons" policy; while it doesn't have the force of law, the man who stopped a criminal before things could go from bad to worse may yet lose his job over it -- and Kroger may be waiting for the fuss to die down before they act. Hey, Kroger? Don't count on us forgetting. We'll be watching.
1. It's still an open question if the malefactor had a real gun or "merely" something that felt like one pressed against his hostage's back -- and it doesn't matter; Indiana law recognizes that victims often have no way to tell and that the crime is the threat of force, the "do as I say or else."
2. In fairness, that's for a given value of "permissive." A middle-class or better-off paleface male would have had little problem; for the rest of us, the bar was higher, quite a bit so in some places. Which is why shall-issue is better.
T. R. MCELROY'S STREAMLINED TELEGRAPH KEYS
11 months ago