Right beneath Arizona’s unofficial nickname of the Grand Canyon State, there should be another moniker, perhaps in festive italics: the Land of the Gun.
The latest movement in the gun orgy is a bill Gov. Jan Brewer signed into law Monday that allows concealed weapons in bars and restaurants that serve liquor.
We’re not sure how many lives will be saved by such a move, but we have a feeling the wait staff and bartenders may become a tad more attentive to their customers.
Anyone who has stared down the barrel of a gun knows how quickly you learn to move.
My stare-down-a-barrel moment was when a crackhead robbed the Ben and Jerry’s ice cream shop where I worked in Manhattan.
He had the weapon hidden in a folded newspaper he laid on the counter when he ordered a vanilla cone with chocolate sprinkles.
I turned around to get the sprinkles and turned back to the unfolded paper and the barrel of a handgun.
The man never got his ice cream, since I promptly dropped it when I noted the gun pointed at my face, but he did get all the money out of the register. He also got all the money under the register, as the airhead with whom I worked called him back into the store with, “Wait, don’t you want the big bills under here?”
There’s no doubt guns can do a good job of getting what you want by intimidating bartenders, bank tellers and poor little ice cream girls.
On the flip side, guns can also protect the law-abiding folks.
Many of us give a nod of “he-got-his” approval when we hear of the homeowner who shot the home invader, thereby saving the dwelling’s occupants as well as the giant TV and stereo system.
Yes, guns can protect you, but they can also be mishandled, abused or fall into the hands of kids who end up shooting each other “just to see how it works.”
While permits are required to carry handguns, folks don’t need a permit or any training to buy one. Gun shows and private sales don’t even require background checks.
Instead of making some regulations more stringent, the laws seem to keep getting less restrictive.
I’m not sure if that should make us feel safe, or very afraid.
I’m also definitely undecided when it comes to owning a gun. I’m jaded by too many horror stories about guns being turned on their owners or folks accidentally shooting their faces off.
In addition to being banned from watching “The Love Boat” and “Three’s Company,” my brother and I weren’t allowed to play with toy guns as kids. We were taught fear and loathing of these deadly weapons and had to sneak around with our bright pink water pistols.
The only time I shot a gun was at the Tucson Police Department’s Citizen’s Police Academy, under the supervision of a highly trained officer, so I felt pretty safe.
It was also fully exhilarating. Especially since I managed to clock the target square in the forehead with every single shot. Well, I think the last one hit him in the chest.
Shooting the thing made me giddy, which is where the real danger of guns comes in.
How many others, like the father and son duo I saw shooting off a rifle in the Rillito riverbed on New Year’s Day, get the same kind of thrill and want to go shooting for the heck of it?
Never mind the crackheads, bank thieves or restaurant robbers, it is guns in the hands of the giddy that should concern us.
No law can conquer that. For that we should be afraid.
Ryn Gargulinski is a poet, artist, performer and TucsonCitizen.com Ryngmaster who doesn’t have a gun but has two big dogs, a meat hook, a machete and a medieval mace. Listen to a preview of her column at 8:10 a.m. Thursdays on KLPX 96.1 FM. Listen to her webcast at 4 p.m. Fridays at www.Party934.com. Her column appears every Friday on Rynski’s Blogski. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
Have you ever had a gun pointed at you?
Did you ever point one at someone else? What happened?
Did you rob a Ben and Jerry’s?