Fearing the (Gun-Toting) blind

While I’m walking to work with my Seeing Eye dog, this guy behind me muttering gibberish lifts my laptop bag off my back and  lets it fall, like it’s a door knocker.  “You stop that!” I shout.  We face off.  I’m hoping my fierce visage intimidates him.  Or the aggressive tail-wagging of my big black Lab strikes fear.  Finally, the man shuffles away, mumbling.

Which brings me to the subject of personal protection.  Fifty years ago, blind bluesman Reverend Gary Davis packed a .38 he called “Miss Ready.”  “If I can hear it,” said the Reverend, “I can shoot it.”  In our new millennium, debate rages about issuing gun permits to blind people. 

One faction contends that arming the blind is the height of folly.  They claim blind people are unsafe to begin with, let alone toting guns.  They say blind people can’t shoot straight, that blind gunmen would give drive-by shootings an unacceptable level of risk.

Another faction embodies the American principle of government by laws, not men.  They espouse a hybrid of the Second Amendment and the ADA.  The right to bear arms meets the rights of the disabled. 

Personally, I am glad my encounter did not end up with either of us in the crosshairs.  I believe mayhem was averted by keeping the stakes low.  To me, pulling a gun is fear compounded.  How easily the license to carry becomes the license to shoot.  Just ask the Reverend Mr. Davis and his sidekick, Miss Ready.

Call me a dreamer, but imagine if people did not feel the need to pack a six-shooter. That line worked for John Lennon until a mumbling man shot him dead.  We do not need more fear in general nor another reason to fear the blind in particular.  I’m out to prove the law of attraction and I prefer a happy ending.

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4 Responses to Fearing the (Gun-Toting) blind

  1. Janel says:

    Sorry that happened, very scary. Glad all is OK. I am very sight impaired and do own a gun. Are you talking permit to own or permit to carry in public… two different topics… I feel no one other then police should carry in public… now in my home I absolutely think I should be permitted to defend my family. Now I am a police wife so perhaps my views are jaded. I think if the blind/vi person is mentally stable and open to taking safety and extra training then there is no reason for not owning one. Now have fun getting one because it seems it is already set up to keep us from getting a gun… in our state I had to fill out the application in person in the gun shop… entertaining I am sure as my husband told me what the question was and put the pen where I needed to write. I have a very healthy respect for guns and what they do. Most people have no business owning a gun sighted or not really in my option.

    • Jeff Flodin says:

      Thank you for your reasoned and reasonable comment. I respect your message. One reason I wrote this blog was not to kindle debate over gun control, but to highlight the issue of fear, especially in light of the New York Times article “Fearing the Blind” which appeared about two weeks ago. Fear is such a strong component of blindness, at least for me, and I wanted to ask for a dialogue on how to reduce that feeling a friend describes as “that low level of dread and anxiety” that accompanies her.

  2. David Oglevie says:

    One of the major safety rules is to know what is behind that which you intend to shoot at as you will probably miss at least the first shot or two if in fear of your life or fearing grievous bodily harm. You also have to anticipate someone entering the target area between the shooter and the target. Vision is needed for both in public settings. Reverend Mr. Davis and Miss Ready lived in an less complicated legal era. In your home figure you’re gonna take out some drywall, an appliance or two, possibly an electrical circuit, etc. Or you could accidentally shoot out a window and the bullet enters your neighbors house.

    • Jeff Flodin says:

      Thanks, Dave, for reading and commenting. What you say makes sense and addresses what has been said above. Hope all is well with you, as I know you are out there in the wide open spaces, where rustlers roam and who knows what lurks behind the tumbling tumbleweed?

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