A shiver ran up Woody’s spine as he hurried past the protesters and their openly carried guns. He was grateful to be able to feel that shiver, as it hadn’t been at all certain he would regain sensation in his legs, let alone walk again after a stray bullet from a random shooter had grazed his spinal cord three years ago. He’d been in the wrong place at the wrong time.
It kind of felt like wrong place, wrong time again as the people protesting against tighter gun controls eyed him suspiciously. Woody didn’t manage a full breath until long after he had made it around the corner and down a full block. As gunshots sounded from behind, he instinctively hit the pavement, taking the woman in front of him down with him.
Still shaking as he realized the shots had sounded like they had come from back at the protest, Woody apologized and helped the woman up. Police cars sped past, sirens screaming.
“No need to apologize,” the woman said, dusting off her jeans with hands that shook as much as Woody’s own. “I didn’t know whether to run or drop. I would have just frozen. It’s just luck that it wasn’t any closer.”
Woody nodded his gratitude at her understanding. The adrenaline coursing through his body wasn’t diminishing. This was part of the PTSD. The woman must have noticed because she cautiously reached a hand toward his. “Would you like to get a soda and something to eat?”
Still nodding and unable to speak, Woody took her hand and let her lead him into a nearby restaurant. He didn’t notice that she had slipped a note with her name and phone number into his pocket until he arrived home hours later. He stared at the paper, wondering if he had the nerve to dial the number. Smiling to himself, he set the paper on the counter in the kitchen and went upstairs to bed.
“Maybe this is crazy, but I think the right to own a gun is trumped by the right not to be shot by one.” …Andy Borowitz
My friend, Sabine, in our Gratisangha posted this quote a while back. I kept it and it inspired this story. As a Canadian, I’ve always wondered at the American focus on gun rights over the right to safety. As gun violence becomes more prevalent on my side of the border, I find myself wondering at the insanity of our world in general. And now, with what’s happening in Ukraine, it’s hard not to despair. May sanity prevail!