Several weeks ago a news story with pictures made the headlines when a 22-year old man was "shopping" at a JC Penney store in Utah with an AR-15 strapped to his back. (Link to story: http://www.ksl.com/?nid=148&sid=23769604)
Apparently he was doing it because he could and it was legal and he wanted to "educate" people.
It has been bothering me to the point of nightmares.
I am the mother of five year old boy/girl twins, and the Newtown massacre - well, I am NOT over it.
It is my job as a parent to teach my children how to behave, and I don't just mean "manners" - I teach them how to behave around potentially dangerous situations - "Don't touch a hot stove!" - and what to do if they are lost, or the house is on fire, or a tornado is coming.
And now I also have to teach them how to behave around gun wielding lunatics, because it is becoming a societal "norm" that they may have to face.
I am not happy about this, but it is now a necessity. Maybe it should have been before - the Batman massacre really started the discussion for my husband and I - but after Newtown, it is obviously not optional anymore.
We don't have guns in our house. My father had guns - a couple of hunting rifles and a pistol at one point when his work with law enforcement caused him to be threatened (he wasn't law enforcement, but he helped put bad guys in jail, and they didn't like it) - but they were kept put away, out of sight. I am not a "hunter" person, so other than sixth grade "hunter safety", guns are not a part of my life, AND I LIKE IT THAT WAY.
Guns are tools. I get that. Hunting rifles are used to hunt - so why was this fool bringing one into a JC Penney store?
My immediate response would have to be "To Hunt."
I cannot tell the difference between a random madman armed with assault weapons and an idiot trying to make a moronic point that BY LAW he is entitled to behave like a fool by bringing (charitably) a "HUNTING RIFLE" into a place where the only "GAME" is human beings.
For safety's sake, I would immediately flee the scene, urging everyone else to do the same, but making sure my children are safe first and foremost.
I don't care if it could be considered an over reaction by this fool and his friends. I don't have super secret telepathic powers that enable me to discern "MURDEROUS MAN ABOUT TO GO ON A RAMPAGE" versus "FREAKING MORON WITH BAD JUDGMENT TRYING TO MAKE A STUPID POINT."
He is a man openly carrying a "hunting rifle" where the only available targets are PEOPLE.
Stoves are hot. Tornado sirens mean seek shelter. Guns are dangerous tools; if you see one where it doesn't belong, get away!
I love my children. That man needs his guns taken away, and if the law can't do it, I hope his family takes care of the problem.
If they don't, there is a good chance the man is going to end up shot.
I don't carry a gun, but the next "non-telepathic parent" he encounters might, and I don't want my family anywhere near an unnecessary and completely foreseeable "firefight."
In the meantime, I am starting this petition to ask JC Penney to join other sensible retailers across the nation to ban "open carry" guns in their stores so that my children and I can shop safely without being endangered by irresponsible gun owners who don't understand that hunting rifles don't belong in retail establishments and/or the potential firefight between them and an armed "non-telepathic" person trying to play the hero.