There's been a lot swirling around most of our heads this week about mental illness, crazy, hate, sexual preference and violence. To me, it all boils down to innocent people being violated and gunned down, threatened and dead without reason.
For those of you who don't know me well, I was raised by a church going, highly educated woman, who was also a gun-toter for most of my formative years named Annie. I myself have never desired or felt the urge to carry, posses or own weaponry, but Annie did, and lots of it. She believed fully in the right to bear arms and, quite frankly, if blacks were allowed to join the NRA back in the day, she might have been a card carrying member because when I grew up in the Deep South where wealthier blacks were targets of crime. Her home was broken into often by her own neighbors. I recall hearing of her being a target of crime by her own people several times after I moved away to the north as a teen.
During the peak of the drug years of each decade, she found herself living with children and grandchildren, and wondering if something might happen to harm them or herself. She had China, jewelry and a refrigerator and freezer full of food at all times. This was really unheard of in our community. Her home was broken into if she left it for any extended period because there was no security company, and locks were not safe.
I remember the day she told me of the only time she ever had to bring out her weapon. It was during one of those times I'd escaped to he to recover from the many trials of abuse I'd suffer during my relationship with my ex. I could always tell her why I was there, and she'd never judge me for fleeing to her, and when he called, she knew I would return and warn me of the sorrow that would soon follow.
She prefaced her story that day by saying that it was merely a pistol-whipping and that she never pulled the trigger on the gun she yielded to defend herself.
I was a grown woman sitting in a rocking chair in her living room, and I was shaken that she shared a story with me that made me get her even more, and why she was who she was even in her 70's. She got her gun because someone she loved threatened her and she needed him gone. I started making a plan to change my life, and I did, for a while. I wish she had lived long enough to see that the pattern can indeed be broken. Because you got your gun, and had the courage to tell me that story, I know my own strength within. And, just in case you’re wondering, rest assured, I still don’t really get the gun thing and won’t be pulling into my local gun shop or shooting range anytime soon. And, if anyone has ever really played darts with me, they know, that's a good thing.