Let me tell you a story that happened last week.
I drove into a Falls River Greenway parking lot. I had 15 miles before me.
In the parking lot was an older white male, standing in the middle of the drive with a gun and holster on his belt, a “patriotic” shirt tightly tucked in.
No badge. No way to tell if they were an officer of some sort.
Because open carry is legal here in NC, I was unsure of what to do, if anything. To add to the concern, a group of young Latinx men were loading up their fishing gear into a nearby truck, and the man was pacing directly in front of them.
I was worried for them. I was worried in general.
Had my boys been with me, we would have left.
I texted Rhonda, just so she would know what was going on if something happened.
Open carry laws cause confusion.
How can we tell if someone is about to shoot up a greenway, or is just “exercising their supposed right to carry a weapon of mass murder?”
I stuck around for a bit, stretched, tied my shoes. The men in the truck left, and though the armed man kept standing there, I went on for 15 miles.
Should I have called the police? Perhaps. Perhaps not. I don’t know.
But a few things now:
-if I see someone carrying a gun, I’m calling the police. Even if it’s “legal,” I think we’re past the point where we can take the chance.
-white men are still the most dangerous gun owners. I get a lot of pushback when I say that, but the statistics, facts, bear it out as true.
-despite all this, I refuse to own a handgun. Even for “protection.” The presence of a gun statistically makes a situation less safe, not safer.