Just before Christmas, I got mugged.
You can read the whole story here, but the short version: I went to a play, had a drink after at a bar three blocks form my house, walked home with two girlfriends, got mugged by three dudes, each with a gun. They got our purses, phones and our keys. Everything went down in less than 20 seconds. It happened so fast that in the moment, I wasn't even scared.
We walked away from the situation unscathed, with a list of inconvenient things added to our to-do list before we traveled for the holidays. New IDs, credits cards, phones, purses. So many lipsticks. I know those things shouldn't matter, but it was so annoying.
I wrote about the incident on Hey Eleanor. Partially because I wanted to alert people to the fact that this was happening, but partially because something actually scary happened to me! And we survived! And that is a big deal!
There was just one intsy-wintsy thing I didn't think about before clicking "publish": my brother's wedding was the following weekend. And Christmas was just a few days later. I was seeing basically everyone I know in real-life, and they all would know about the incident.
Initially, I was kind of relieved to have something to talk to people about. Getting mugged is way more interesting than talking about your job or the weather! But then something unexpected happened.
People started asking if I was going to start carrying a gun.
I heard the question over and over again in the weeks following the mugging. However, I recently posted this hilariously honest video from Sarah Silverman, chronicling what she's thinking as she walks to her car late at night. This is how I feel literally every time I walk to my car at night. And sometimes during the day. I don't know one woman who walks around oblivious to her surroundings (unless they are walking with a group, which apparently doesn't protect you at all cause I got mugged in a group!). As women, we have to pay attention to who's sharing the sidewalk with us, what car is running, why that car is slowing down and what we're going to do if someone gets out of it. That's just our reality.
Anyhow, when I posted that Sarah Silverman video, a dude commented that I should start "carrying a little pistol in my purse."
Appreciate your concern, sir, but here's why I am probably never going to do that.
1. I Don't Think I Could Use a Gun Appropriately in a High Intensity Situation.
Whelp, I've been mugged at gunpoint, I can tell you that all I could do in that moment is hand over my purse. Handling a firearm in this situation simply wouldn't have gone well. I would have probably shot one of my friends instead of a bad guy because adrenalin!
2. Hey bad guys! Want a free gun?
If I'd been carrying a gun in my purse, I am positive whomever was mugging me would've not only gotten their mitts on my wallet, phone, ID and lipsticks, but also, my gun! And what if, say they'd mugged me with a knife or just by approaching me and looking scary? I be all, here's my stuff AND a gun! Knock yourself out!
3. The Escalation Factor.
Okay, in the Christmas mugging of 2014, there were three of us ladies and three dudes with guns. The guys simply wanted our phones. Could their guns have been fake? Certainly! So if I would've had my nice little pistol in my purse, I could've totally pulled it out and been like, "No bitch, how 'bout you give me your phone!"
And then things would've escalated, and someone might've gotten shot and killed.
For a phone and a few cancelled credit cards and some really great lipstick I am sure the bad guys didn't appreciate. Not worth it.
4. I don't want to die.
I pull a gun on a person who is pulling a gun on me. Odds that yours truly, the person who's caught off guard and also is not a criminal, is the one who dies? 10000000 : 1.
5. What are the chances?
What are the chances that I will be in an actual, real-life situation that would realistically best be solved my me killing a person? I'm going with very, very low. What are the chances of me being in a real-life situation where things could be bad, but not necessarily life-threatening? For example, getting mugged. Probably significantly higher.
Should I be carrying a gun, I don't think I'm "lucky" enough to find myself in a situation that actually warrants using a gun, but could definitely find myself in a situation where I might feel compelled to use it because I have it. And that leads to all sorts of problems.
6. Legal ramifications.
After my mugging incident, I talked to a buddy of mine who's a cop. I mentioned to him how shocked I was at the fact that so many people said I should get me conceal and carry. He laughed and said, people say stuff like that and don't think about how shooting someone affects your life. Thousands of dollars in legal fees, years navigating the legal system. Even if you were in the right, it's hugely complicating.
Even if I were in the right (and what if you aren't?!), you still gotta prove it. Not appealing.
7. What if I actually killed someone?
If you carry a concealed weapon, you have to be prepared to kill another person. That's the deal. Am I okay with that? Yeah, maybe, if they're truly a bad guy (or gal. #Feminism). But what are the chances that you actually kill a truly bad guy/gal? And even if you did kill a bad person, that doesn't mean it's any less psychologically traumatic for you.
In all likelihood, you'd probably end up killing or injuring someone who's just desperate for cash or your stupid iPhone and has no intention of hurting you. And then guess what happens? See #5.
8. I don't want to live in fear.
This might sound woo-woo to you, but I think the act of carrying a gun on your person puts you on high alert all of the time. I personally don't have the time or energy for that.
So guys, it boils down to this: The chances of me being in a situation that would warrant using a firearm are very, very small. If said incident were to occur, the chances that I would use the firearm in the romanticized we way we all picture is even tinier. Life is not a scene from Kill Bill. And thank god for that!
I'm better off doing what I already do: taking note of my surroundings. Locking my car doors. Crossing the street whenever see someone walking toward me on the sidewalk. Telling my husband and friends where I'm going and who I'm going with. Not walking alone at night. Taking a cab, even when I just want to walk dammit! Always having a charged phone in my pocket. Avoiding creepy stairwells and parking garages. Never taking candy from strangers.
I think I'm safer that way, even if you don't.
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I am not anti-gun, though I will say they do make me a wee bit uncomfortable. That said, I went on my first hunting trip a year and a half ago. It was very intense and completely life-changing. PS more proof that I would not fare well packing heat? Here's a post about the time I had a lone wasp in my house and freaked the eff out.