I used to be one of those people who asked questions like “Why would anyone need to carry a gun in a restaurant?” That line of thinking abruptly ended almost 16 years ago. I’ll get to that in a moment.
When I was growing up, I didn’t have much exposure to guns. At summer camp I fired a box or two of .22s out of an antiquated bolt-action, single-shot rifle. That was pretty exciting, and I do vividly remember the day when a guest counselor brought a .50 caliber blackpowder rifle to the firing line. Our allocated one shot each of fire and brimstone had us prepubescent boys channeling Daniel Boone for days.
Still, I grew up neutral to the issue of firearms. Sure, as a young buck, guns always fascinated me—I think it’s in guy DNA—but we never had any in the house, and I wasn’t motivated enough to whine, beg, and plead for more exposure.
As an adult, I was equally neutral. I didn’t have any objection to firearms, but when kids came on the scene, I made a deliberate—and in hindsight, unthoughtful—decision not to have guns in the house. Because, you know, kids. That was the extent of my passionless logic. If someone had forced me to relive my high school debate class and take a position one way or the other, I would have flunked simply by lack of substance.
In short, I spent the majority of my life as the poster child for the people we most need to win over – those who have never really thought about guns in a meaningful way. This is the group that can be swayed to one side or the other with a couple of discussions, or perhaps a life-changing event.
I was swayed by a life-changing event—an unfortunate on—on Mothers Day weekend back in the year 2000.
I was half-owner of a restaurant and had just moved away from the day-to-day operations to get back into the technology business. Saturday morning, around 9 a.m., I got a call from a 15-year-old employee of our restaurant. She told me that my business partner had been shot.
Still in a state of shock, she sounded frighteningly calm as she handed the phone over to a Sheriff’s Deputy. He then filled me in on the details.
A couple of guys had walked in the door around 8:15 a.m., surprising my partner and the 15-year old girl, both of whom were starting the process of preparing for our normal 11 a.m. opening time. They initially demanded money, but ended up shooting my partner 11 times, for no reason at all. They also tried to execute the young girl, but the gun jammed, and they ran off.