I feel the need to preface this story with the fact that nothing happened and I, and everyone who was around me, is totally fine.
But yeah, today some guy came into my place of employment with two guns. One on a belt holster and another, that looked terrifyingly large, on his back. I don't see guns too often, but for some reason, when they're kept in a holster on a hip, I feel okay. There's something about the placement that leads me to believe that this person is just a plain-clothes cop or someone who is just coming from his or her gun safety class.
But a rifle? Why do you need to carry that across your back while in a bookstore? It's alarming. It freaks people out and brings back horrific memories of school and movie theatre shootings on the news. I respect that the law says a person can carry a gun, but I'm not so sure that means you should. Leave that shit at home! A couple of my coworkers thought the gun was fake, but I wasn't about to get close enough to make sure. Besides, it's probably crazier to walk into a bookstore with a fake gun!
I was really torn while this young man was in the store between being very freaked out and feeling kind of bad that I was feeling freaked out. "He is within his rights," the non-emergency policeman on the phone told us. There was nothing they could do even though I could feel the fear and confusion in the store as he walked around aimlessly. Which, let me point out, is super weird. We spot that quickly and keep an eye on it, usually suspecting theft.
I wanted to remain cool and treat him like I would anyone else. He was not breaking any laws. And it's not like I can see into every person's bag and know whether or not they have a concealed weapon, right? I couldn't, though. I couldn't be totally normal with my actions. I wanted to avoid him and couldn't help thinking that so many crazy shootings begin with someone doing something normal. "He got in his car and then..." "She ate breakfast and then..." "He walked around the bookstore and then.."
Yeah, it's scary.
+ Title from Tori Amos