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  • Growing up, I had a cowgirl outfit complete with holster and two silver guns which I played with for years. But when I was nine, my father left to work in Florida for several months. Before he left, he made sure my Mother and I could protect ourselves. He gave me a short tutorial on using his hand gun. I didn't know he had one. But he showed it to me and explained several important factors, none of which I absorbed because I was utterly terrified. As his voice faded into the background, all I could focus on was what kind of situation would have to occur in order for a nine year old girl to pick up her father's hand gun. He handed it to me. It was blue and heavy and my hands were shaking. He put it back down and that was the end of the lesson. I tried very hard to forget that the gun was in the house.

    A few years later, a girl at my school was sleeping quietly in her home one street over when her father, stressed over work situations, shot her, her brothers, her mother then himself. She alone survived. I would lie awake in my bed at night and wonder if my dad was stressed at work, and if so, would he decided to take us all down just like her dad? I feared going to sleep so sometimes I didn't.

    A few years after that, our house was burglarized and the guns, as well as some antique coins, were stolen. Who knows where they went. But when my friend Phil was murdered a year later, shot in the head (and hands - defensive wounds) with a stolen gun, I wondered if my Dad's gun had been the weapon.

    Then I went to Chicago. I heard gunshots at night once or twice a week. I learned that the popping noise was not firecrackers after all. My neighbors were robbed at gun point not long before a man was shot and killed in the alley behind my apartment. I met a five year old girl with a mangled face. She had just arrived from Bosnia and could not stop crying. Tears fell from her frightened eyes over her wounds. Her jaw was missing - It had been shot off the day her family, her entire family, was shot and killed in front her her. She alone survived.

    No, I can't say I have ever felt a gun has made a positive impact on my life.
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