My father wants to buy a gun, a hand gun. On January first the law changes and concealed weapons will be allowed in the state of Iowa. I'm not sure how I feel about that law and I'm not sure how I feel about Sonny carrying a gun. I don't think I like either one. We are taking a step backwards with this legal action.
The neighborhood my father and I reside in once was populated by hardworking German families who were employed by the meat packing plant. As the plight of river cities go the properties nearest the river, the earliest established homes, fall first into disrepair and become rental properties and subsidized housing as the city expands in the opposite direction.
I encounter sullen looks from minority group members as I drive these streets and there are boarded-up houses that contained busted meth labs. Here in the church parking lot a gang shooting occurred while a bingo game was going on inside the school. Am I racially prejudiced? Of course I am. With my small town upbringing there is no way I could have escaped. I am more liberal than the beer-swigging red necks down at the Moose lodge, but there were few people of color in my earlier years.
Sonny is 86 years old. His reflexes, eyesight and hearing are all compromised. To be confronted by a thug, body already tensed and coiled and ready for the attack, I worry. Experts have estimated the length of time required to pull out a gun for the average citizen can be four to six seconds. An assailant already braced for action can sprint 10 feet in 1.5 seconds and disarm the innocent. He plans to wear a shoulder holster under his little jackets. How will he hide the bulge against the thin linen? What if it snags in the lining of he coat and results in a misfire? What if it jams?
Hand guns are difficult to aim and fire accurately. Our main connection with weapons is demonstrated by the cinema we watch and it just isn't as easy as Clint Eastwood shows it. "Feeling lucky today?," has no place in the rhetoric of a new gun owner. There is one comforting statistic. An uncountable amount of assaults have been aborted by the victim making known the presence of his gun to the assailant. The element of surprise has been reversed.
Thankfully, my father is a calm man and he possesses good reason and judgment and takes time to examine an issue before acting. Impulsive decisions do not define him and I believe he would use a gun as the last of any attempts to subdue the situation. He has owned a cell phone for several years and has only used it once saving the thing for emergency situations. He and my mother were exploring the hills of Wisconsin and the car stalled. Dad makes the cell phone call and . . . he couldn't catch a signal. Gotta laugh at that.