To the Guy with the Gun

I was sitting a few rows behind you at the university commencement when your shirt accidentally lifted up, revealing your holstered hand gun.

Moments earlier I had just been complaining to my husband about how unorganized and chaotic the crowd was. We struggled to make our way through the packed shoulder-to-shoulder hallway as people crisscrossed in front of each other trying to find their family members. I tried my best to keep my social anxiety at bay while we weaved through the chaos. Eventually, we worked our way down the stadium steps to the lower level. Squeezing past the knees of strangers we found our seats. My anxiety about the crowd started to taper off as I removed my jacket and sat in the chair.

That's when I saw it. Your gun. My heart skipped a beat. There had been no metal detectors. No one searching bags or purses at the door. No security presence at all. The only crowd management was a handful of overwhelmed collage students, trying to give directions.

I realized if you started firing your gun into the crowd there would be a very slim change of escape. Even if there was a security guard somewhere, they wouldn't have enough time to stop you. The crowd was too large, the stadium seating too full.

We had literally squeezed into this auditorium with thousands of strangers to celebrate the hard work and commitment of people we loved, and in doing so we had essentially put ourselves in danger. I watched you closely as I realized the precariousness of the situation.

You were a young white male, wearing blue jeans and a t-shirt. I noticed your wedding ring when you put your arm around the the women sitting next to you. She was holding a baby in one arm and sitting next to her were two little girls.Your gazed moved slowly around the crowd. You seemed relaxed, but aware. The youngest girl jumped off her chair, squeezed between the seats and her mom's feet, until she reached you. With one hand you picked her up and sat her on your lap.

I knew then why you had your gun.

You didn't want to risk leaving the safety of your family to luck or chance. If there was going to be a mass shooter then you would use your gun to try and protect your family, and in doing so you would also protect mine.

Music started playing as the first graduates made their way onto the floor. Your little girls waved excitedly when their aunt walked by in her cap and gown, I hope you told them that could be them one day. I hope you told them to dream big, and not to let fear stop them.

It's easy to be afraid right now. It would have been heartbreaking for any of us to miss this special moment because of the fear of an attack.

As the ceremony continued my heart swelled with gratitude because we have the opportunity to build a life of our choosing. Everyone in this country, including little girls, have the ability to chase after a life of their dreams. We also have the right to protect those lives ourselves. We can literally take the responsibility for our protection and safety into our own hands, we can protect our families and their hopes for the future.

To the good guy with the gun - thank you.

1 comment

  1. We can not carry in our state but I long for the day we can so both my husband and I can carry! This world today is CRAZY and I believe everyone who owns a gun should be able to carry as long as they have gone through gun safety training ect.