I’m really not exaggerating when I say that practically every weekday morning comes with some event, large or small, that makes me think that I must be on The Truman Show or something. Usually it’s absurd traffic jams or the school bus company failing at their raison d’etre. But occasionally things will happen like my elderly neighbor will wander outside on a frigid winter morning or something else equally notable.
On Wednesday, the baby and I made our way to the bus stop, still reveling in the recent switch to a new bus company that does these crazy things like “show up” and “transport children to school before 10 a.m.” We noticed a news van and a group of people gathered on the corner, plus some police cars. I asked another mom at the bus stop what was going on. “Um, apparently there’s a hostage situation,” she said.
She, of course, was sketchy on the details but heard that there had been some kind of domestic dispute and the husband was supposedly holed up in the house with some weapons.
This obviously worried me, since there was a SWAT team present. Were there other people in the house? Was the situation going to go nuclear before I could put my kid safely on the bus and hightail it back to my house? Was I a total idiot for staying there regardless?
The situation ended up being resolved several hours later in a most ridiculous fashion. After the wife had initially left the house, the husband, probably realizing that the police would be coming, left as well. So the police and the SWAT team were standing outside, shouting surrender orders through a bullhorn, firing tear gas and flash bang grenades. We got to hear one of those flash bangs go off, which was super startling and prompted me to get my “INCOMING!” duck and cover ready to go. They also sent in a robot to suss out the situation, after which point the family dog finally surrendered to police. The police finally called the guy on his cell phone and found out that he was two blocks away.
Now, obviously, he needed to be arrested on the domestic violence charge. It’s also possible that he’ll face firearm charges since they found several guns in the home, including an AK-47.
It’s not shocking to me that people possess illegal firearms and that those firearms are hopefully way more gun than they need. But it really freaks me out that this guy had a small arsenal and lives just a few steps away from a preschool. Not that there would be any good place for him to live with such things, other than in a cabin that he built himself somewhere in the woods.
My stance on guns and gun control has evolved over the years. I used to be firmly anti-gun, supported all strict gun control measures, and would have gladly supported any candidate proposing to ban them altogether. But I came to understand many people’s justification for owning them, whether or not I agreed with them. I’ve remained a supporter of gun control measures though. There will always be underground methods for obtaining any item. That shouldn’t stop us as a society from regulating how they’re traded above ground.
I just really have not met anyone who has felt that they really REALLY needed a gun outside of hunting who wasn’t a) kind of an idiot about it or b) up to some dirty business. Like the friends who live waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay out in the middle of nowhere and own guns to protect their home from crackheads. I mean, I don’t know why a crackhead is out in the woods but maybe you need to move to, like, a populated area so you’re not defending yourself on your own. And, yes, there are shooting sprees and attacks and all of these things, but unless you’re actively training to respond to such a situation often, you’re probably not going to save the day just because you have a concealed weapons permit.
After our house was broken into, we did the inevitable mental circus of “what-if” scenarios. We were extremely freaked out that the burglar had entered our home while we there, asleep, and were just so, so thankful that he was only there to steal things and not interested in hurting anyone. I really and truly don’t care about my things and even if the dude had announced that he was going to be taking every last thing in my home, I would have let him with the understanding that he not lay a finger on any of us. I have insurance, you know? Plus, more importantly, stuff is just stuff and neither a single thing in my home nor my pride is worth any bodily harm to me or my family. But we did wonder about what if it had been a break-in with the intent of doing harm to us. How would we have defended ourselves? The truth is, I don’t know. And we did seriously considering purchasing a gun. But I just couldn’t bring myself to be okay with it. I didn’t want a gun in my house. I didn’t want to constantly think about the fact that my family and I, like everyone else in the world, am just one (statistically unlikely) coincidence away from some horrible fate.
Unless that guy in my neighborhood was about to start a revolution but had to beat his wife first, which seems somewhat improbable, he was just some sociopathic jackass who thought he was bad enough to need an assault rifle.