Is today the day I become a member of the America I read so much about? That other America: the gun club — the world in which people experience living with guns or dying from them.

Owning a gun for hunting purposes is completely understandable. But I have wondered what it would be like to carry for personal protection. Whom would I shoot? Would I always know for sure? Would everyone know I am a good guy if I am carrying? Reckon I’d need to practice enough to handle all the different situations with each type of gun.

I would really need to practice regularly; how would that impact my mindset? On the other hand, would I always live every day free enough from anguish or stress that I would not have the impulse to use it on myself? Or what if I were to develop a mental illness such that my judgment fails? Things happen in life, after all. People are not born paranoid, demented, disillusioned or mean spirited.

So, I’ve got my keys, cell phone, wallet, handkerchief and … pistol? Where do I carry that? Or do I always carry it? If not, when? And an AR15? In the coat closet or next to my bed? Or locked up in a safe, but then it would be out of reach in an emergency. Or in the safe except by my bed only at bedtime? That would work. What would that feel like?

Perhaps I would feel safer. From whom? What would it be like to take the extra effort to properly carry a gun at all times? More than just aware of my surroundings: vigilant and at least a little fearful, always. In the land of the free? I would wonder how free I would feel. So at this point, I choose freedom: freedom from fear, as much as I can in a world so full of guns.

Bob Cain

Bennett Street

Charleston