I live near the world’s cutest, coolest little independent bookstore. It’s in an old cotton warehouse made hip years ago by the addition of shops selling things like vinyl records, moustache wax, handmade jewelry and incense.
I’m in the store fairly often, sometimes to sign books, sometimes to stock up on exceedingly clever greeting cards or sometimes just to scratch behind the ears of the store’s requisite four-legged assisted manager. Bookstores and cats go way back, you know.
It’s a great, intimate spot staffed by good people with good intentions who don’t really expect anybody to come in wearing a gun in a holster. But that’s what happened recently. A couple, both packin', brought three kids into the store to shop. Yeah, that’s not weird.
The snarky me wishes they had been dispatched immediately to the self-help section, as in GET SOME. This is a sleepy riverside bookstore where patrons politely finish their ice cream cones outside first, not the Wild West. Does anyone need to be armed while helping their kids decide between “It’s Not Easy Being a Bunny” and “Goodnight, Goodnight Construction Site”? Seriously. I want to know.
A friend who works in the store confessed she was “freaked out” by their visit. Cue accusations of “snowflakes” and, yes, the odious “butthurt,” two of the more popular labels used by the right to dismiss us foolish, frothing liberals.
Cue also the part where I write about growing up in rural North Carolina in a house where I had to shove the shotguns aside to get to my winter coats and sweaters. I would normally write that just to reach out to y'all in hopes you’d like me. Ugh. So needy. Glad she’s gone.
But let’s get back to Bonnie & Clyde. My friend assures me that shots weren’t fired that day but the store did install a “no firearms allowed on premises” sticker shortly after the family left. Cue self-righteous “I bet you’d let a cop with a gun in if you were being robbed, heh-heh.”
Yes, well. Earnest, goodhearted people understand that police protection isn’t the same as letting regular (sort of) armed citizens wander about. I suspect that couple was making a statement. Why else brandish weapons in a book store? What if they had the gun smarts of Barney Fife, beleaguered deputy? I could be killed perusing Poe. Cue “one down…”
For those of us who believe in the gun sense movement, Election Day 2016 was, to borrow the popular children’s book title, a “terrible, horrible, very bad day.”
More than 31,000 people die by gun violence in the United States every year. The average U.S. gun owner has eight weapons. Our gun obsession leads the world. No. 2 is Yemen. The NRA spent $30 million to elect Trump. Truthfully, there are cowards in both parties who won’t stand up to the gun lobby because they depend on those campaign contributions. Next election, tell them “Goodnight, loon.”