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.