Friday, August 8, 2014

The Gun Conundrum

So you're carrying your gun.  Either you watch a lot of Fox News and have been frightened into believing that anywhere you go there will be a paranoid bully waiting to take you out.  Or you are a paranoid bully looking for someone to take out.

Fact is, the world is a confusing place for gun-toters.  Let's take the beach community of Atlantic Beach / Morehead City, North Carolina, which is where I have been vacationing this week.  My own resort has posted by the tennis courts a sign that says that guns are not allowed anywhere in this resort.

I was relieved, but then I thought, how would all the gun-toters know about this?  I've been here for five days and only just saw the sign.  Suppose I'd been traveling from Georgia, where everybody is encouraged to carry their arms everywhere, all the time, just in case.  Or maybe to impress the ladies.  And I've heard (from Fox News) that here in the South (you gun-toters know it as "Dixie") no bleeding heart Obamacare liberals are going to stop you from protecting yourself and your loved ones from, well, them damned liberal gun-toting Obama-loving Democrats.  And especially in North Carolina, where their God-fearing, Koch-worshiping politicians have ensured that those that got it, flaunt it.

So of course I take my weapon on vacation.

And here we are, a real American family, on vacation.  We've been to the beach, we've barbecued and stayed up late drinking our brew.  We've even honored the voluntary ban on smoking in the rooms.  But we've never been to the tennis courts.  Are we in the wrong here?  And if we were (which we are probably not) how are we supposed to know?  And if we found out when we got here we aren't supposed to be carrying our guns, what the heck are we supposed to do with them?

Here's another example.  Last night I went out for Italian.  Let me tell you, I have been coming here, on and off, for twenty-three years, and I say with some confidence that there is not a lot of great food in the Atlantic Beach area.  And I am the person who is able to rout out great food nearly anywhere I travel.  But I figured this place, a couple miles away in Morehead City, sounded like it had potential.  I'd been eating in all week and thought I might have my dinner there.  I had already checked to make sure they served alcohol, because in these God-fearing parts of the South, you never do know when a family restaurant will just assume lemonade and sweet tea are the perfect accompaniments to steak or oysters.

Crispino's had an interesting online menu and served beer and wine.  It was in a large shopping center, and looked like either they were preparing to expand, or they had just decided to use the shop next door to store pizza boxes.  It was fairly small, with several people waiting for take-out, and otherwise empty.  Not a single person eating in.  So I decided I would do take-out.  As I sat waiting for my order, I noted with displeasure that Fox News was on the television, but at least sound was muted.  I prefer my pizza without partisan politics, but one young man watched, rapt, as the gospel according to Fox played on the screen.  I took out my book.

But just before my order was ready, I noticed a sign that said:

Now this really got me thinking.

If the proprietor appreciates judicious marksmanship, does this mean for just the good guy with the gun?  I'm assuming one would prefer the bad guy not to hit any unintended targets as well.  Also, was the young woman who took my order so inordinately polite because she was afraid that being rude might cause the need to arise for a weapon to be unholstered?  And just suppose that some bad guy comes in to this very small pizza place and even judiciously targets another customer (or employee); what are the chances he is going to be able to hit his target without taking some chunks out of the booths?  And suppose another customer decides to judiciously fight back; how likely is it that not a single customer standing there waiting for their take-out is going to get hit?  Not to mention the possibility that the gun-toter in question doesn't know the meaning of the word "judicious?"

Well, fortunately, I was sitting so I wasn't a great target.  Even more fortunate, I wouldn't be sitting for long because my order was almost ready.  I was glad I had decided not to eat in after all.

But later I wondered at the confusion caused by this situation.  Suppose you had your weapon at home and you were feeling a bit naked and unprotected, and then you came in here, ordered your pizza, and then realized you could have brought your gun.  And also that other people probably already know they can bring their guns.  How can you possibly enjoy your meal under the circumstances?

Or suppose you bring your gun, enjoy your pizza without incident, and then walk over to Dunkin' Donuts only to find that they don't allow guns.  Or maybe they do, my point being you don't actually know until you go in.  Some quandary, isn't it?  I would think the situation would put so many people on edge that somebody is bound to get shot just from the stress of not knowing whether to tote or not.

Meanwhile, back to Crispino's.  The food was good.  I would certainly have gone there again on a future vacation.  But now that I know guns are welcome, it's put a damper on my enthusiasm.  So my plan is to go to TripAdvisor and write an honest review, stating that there is no food that is worth the risk of marksmanship, judicious or not.

I encourage all y'all to do the same when you encounter an establishment that doesn't just allow guns but encourages them.

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