Her story begins with a horrific home invasion:
It was a full-force pounding of a body trying to break into my little house in Washington, D.C. It was the sound and scenario that, as a single woman living alone, I feared more than spiders in the housThere he was: tall, dark clothes, big. He backed up and then raced to the door, pounding his body against it. Then he kicked at it the way actors take boots to the heads of bad guys in the movies.
I dialed 911 and ran downstairs, my 100-pound Newfoundland with me.
I gave the dispatcher my address, let her know that I lived around the corner from a police station and said, “Please hurry.” She heard the loud noise and remained on the line with me.
I watched as the wood expanded with each pound. The white paint splintered some. The deadbolt held at the top, but the bottom half of the door popped open, letting in the steam heat from the summer night. I took that chair and slammed it so the side pushed the door back in line with the frame. I held that chair with everything my 5 foot 3 inches had.
It ends like this:
I am one of the millions of people in this country who live with depression. I knew that in the gun registration form there would be a version of this question: Have you ever voluntarily or involuntarily been committed to a hospital? The answer is yes — voluntarily. But because my hospitalization was years earlier and I wasn’t in treatment at the time, I could have gotten a gun. You’d look at me and never know that sometimes my fight against the urge to die is so tough the only way I get through it is second by second; I live by the second hand.
Please take away my Second Amendment right [italics mine]. Do more to help us protect ourselves because what’s most likely to wake me in the early hours isn’t a man’s body slamming at my door but depression, that raven, tapping, rapping, banging for relief.
I have a better chance of surviving if I never have the option of being able to pull the trigger.
The article — an Op-Ed in Saturday’s NY Times — is titled: “Please Take Away My Right to A Gun.” But that’s not the killer. That would be the callout quote, in heavy black type, which reads:
“Millions of us need to be protected from ourselves.”
Essentially, the writer describes her struggle with depression as more threatening than the intruder at her door, which seems debatable at best. But when it comes to her self-assessed unsuitability to own a weapon, I believe her. Anyone who could endure an attack on her home like that, and still conclude that they are better off unarmed is to be admired for their honesty and their insight into themselves. But her message is chilling: because she, and millions like her, may kill themselves with a gun, the government needs to protect them from their illness.
She’s right; she shouldn’t have a gun. Hell, she shouldn’t have an automobile. She shouldn’t have a paring knife. She shouldn’t have a bottle of bleach.
She has a right to live her life outside an institution, but she has to accept the risk that entails. Instead, she suggests that we all have to live in the institution. In order for her too be “free,” we must agree to share her chains.
This kind of nonsense is what leads to mayors mandating soda cup sizes. But people justify what is plainly unreasonable by saying “Well, even if it only saves one life….”
The world would be a much safer place is we were all chained to our sofas. We could save millions of lives if we banned sugar altogether. And alcohol. And dropped the speed limit to 40. Or closed all the swimming pools. And if it would save just one life, why should anyone have a bathtub? Showers will do, and save energy in the process. Close the bridges People jump from them. Ban surfing. Skydiving. Football.
How far do you want to go with this?
As for the woman writing this editorial, I sympathize with her, and agree that she needs help in her struggle with depression. I just don’t think every other citizen must tailor their lives to conform to her specific needs, any more than I think everyone should forego wine because there are millions of alcoholics. But hey, if it will save just one life…..