Skip to content

Happiness Is a Warm Gun

I’m not into guns. I don’t know how to use one, meaning (at least, to me) I don’t need to have one.

That doesn’t preclude conversations like this:

Me: I’m walking 444 miles through the middle of Nowhere. The Natchez Trace.

Other person: Wow. Who’s going with you?

Me: I’m doing it alone.

Other person: What if you’re kidnapped/attacked/raped/stabbed/murdered/sold as a sex slave?????

Me: *Sigh* (Why do people always jump to the worst possible outcomes?) I guess any of those things COULD happen……….

Other person: Well???? How are you going to protect yourself?????

Me: Run away?? Dial emergency on my iPhone?? Take out a copy of my novel and start talking about it?? Because, Lord knows, that sends most people in my face-to-face life fleeing in the other direction.

Other person: Andra. Come on. You need a weapon of some sort.

Me: But—

Other person: Something you can whip out and point at them and—

Me: BUT—

Other person: incapacitate them. Like, you could shoot a knee cap, or—

Me: I don’t know anything about guns. I don’t WANT to know anything about guns.

Other person: All I’m saying is I think you’re insane for doing this alone. Every step you take, some predator will likely be shadowing you, ready to strike………have a GREAT time!

I’ve had a variant of this conversation so many times I’ve lost count. I’ve finally had enough. I decided to seek counsel from the one Expert I know and trust in matters of weaponry, firearms, target practice and self-defense.

I picked up the phone.

And I called my mother.

mama-get-your-gun

77 Comments Post a comment
  1. You won’t need a gun. Roy may need one in case he’s wanting to shoot at an armed raccoon trying to attack him in the shower, but you won’t need a gun at all. Maybe keep a picture of your mom handy just in case though. Ma knows best, I hear…

    February 20, 2014
    • I do think a t-shirt with the picture of my mother in the photo and the slogan below in Carlos’s comment would be hilarious.

      February 20, 2014
  2. Carlos Ovalle #

    Teeshirt slogan:
    “FORGET MY GUN, BEWARE OF MY MOTHER”

    February 20, 2014
    • See comment to Geelw above. 🙂 This made me laugh very loudly this morning. Thank you. Hope you’re back safely from a lovely trip.

      February 20, 2014
  3. Come on Andra, you could be the new Ma Baker!

    February 20, 2014
    • That wouldn’t be a good look for me, I’m afraid. 🙂

      February 20, 2014
  4. On several occasions I have had the desire to bring up the topic of personal security as well Andra. Up until this point I have been successful in biting my tongue. In all reality none of us knows when something might happen. The chance of something happening is not impossible but not probable. The best weapon you or any of us can have is our brain and the common sense God gave us. I would hope that you have your phone with you. That is hoping you have a good signal at all times. It would not hurt to have a taser in case you need it or a can of mace. You know that we love you and want you to be safe.

    February 20, 2014
    • You’ve seen the neighborhood where I live now, right? And the one I used to live in? I’m sure I’m safer on the Trace alone than in either of the places I’ve lived in downtown Charleston. I don’t know what that says about downtown Charleston, but I’ll leave that for people to interpret however they will.

      February 20, 2014
  5. Gun is extreme but mace is a good thing to carry. My daughter worked at a park last year. She carried mace for just in case when she closed at night.

    February 20, 2014
    • I worry about dogs getting after me or something similar. I suspect mace would work on them, too.

      February 20, 2014
  6. First of all, that is my absolute favourite Beatles song of all time (I know, right? How can a person just have ONE)
    Second, the next time I hear someone say that all Americans are just crazy gun nuts, I’m going to point them your way. This was a refreshing read, darling — it’d be funny but for your friend’s extreme reaction.

    February 20, 2014
    • All Americans are not crazy gun nuts. Having grown up in The South, I’ve seen my share of guns. *Most* of the people I know who have them learn how to use them, store them properly, and only use them for specified things (deer hunting, target shooting.) There are exceptions, and people seem to always report the exceptions, but in general, most of the people I know who have guns are responsible with them. (I’m not debating the responsibility/irresponsibility of having guns or whether people need to have guns or any of that. Please. I’m too tired today. And please don’t google South Carolina Concealed Carry in bars……..on second thought, do. That’s where you need to send your friends who say all Americans are crazy gun nuts. I can’t believe I live in this state sometimes. It’s lovely, and it’s horrifying, depending upon where you look.)

      Here’s an even better story for you.

      I led a Rotary trip to England in 2010. Twelve of us went, and we stayed with English Rotarian hosts for two weeks. One of the trip members was a former FBI agent, and his partner was a plainclothes female police officer.

      None of the English people at the first stop wanted to keep them, because guns. They’d have to have guns, even though they are illegal in the UK. Somehow, some way, they’d have guns.

      After they got to know us and realized we weren’t all gun nuts, they told that story, and the female police officer cackled. It turns out, she went to the airport to leave and forgot she had her police-issued gun in her purse. She had to call her sister to come out to the airport, and they had to do this oh-so-crazy switcheroo in the bathroom so that she could get on the plane and go to England.

      February 20, 2014
      • Oh, that’s nuts. Just nuts. Having lived in the US of A, I know not everyone is gun crazy. (Again, let’s not open that can of vipers) But it’s what the media portrays. Just as it portrays us Canadians as excellent hockey players. Oh, what’s that you say… Canadian Women just took gold? Oh, well, I guess SOME stereotypes are true.

        February 20, 2014
      • Isn’t it??? I saw our governor grinning while she signed that into law, and I was like, SERIOUSLY????????? They can bring a gun into a bar, but they can’t drink? Really, HOW are they going to police that? Is the bartender supposed to refuse to serve someone who comes in and throws their big honking piece up on the bar and orders a double Scotch???

        You do have the mayor of Toronto. He’s very entertaining.

        February 20, 2014
      • That he is, darling. That he is. Oh, I made a certain (nudge nudge wink wink) purchase today, to keep me busy reading as we get snowed in the next couple of days. Excited! (also, you seriously need to drop by… big stuff happening at Casa de Hann-Basquiat…. I’ll bring out the Grey Goose & Grapefruit juice)

        February 20, 2014
  7. Are you sure they weren’t asking you if you would be carrying a penis? At least when I read it that would fit in with what was said lol

    February 20, 2014
    • I know what this song means……………:)

      February 20, 2014
      • I love the level of satire in the song for sure, such a great jab at that macho vibe!

        February 20, 2014
  8. Ah, but … God is a Bullet.

    February 20, 2014
    • You believe in God?

      February 20, 2014
      • You really want to start that? You really want to get things cranked up? Troublemaker!!!

        February 20, 2014
      • NONONO. I am too tired today to be cranked up. I was teasing. Pleasepleaseplease read it as teasing.

        February 20, 2014
      • Is this the thread where we’re discussing religion?! Who goes first?!

        February 20, 2014
      • Nobody. NOBODY.

        February 20, 2014
  9. I own 2 firearms and a reflex bow, but carry a tazer.
    Pepper sprays are a good option, too.
    What did mommy say? Mine would have advised an old-fashioned hatpin. That’s what she carried, and even had occasion to use.

    February 20, 2014
    • Whatever Mom says, I’m not putting it on the blog. People need some mystery on this issue. 🙂

      February 20, 2014
  10. You’re words ring clear as a bell. Guns worry me, as does the Second Amendment ( that is the one that allows you to carry guns isn’t it?). If I was in charge of things we’d still be in a flat world situation. I would have discouraged all explorers and made people stay at home to cook, read, write and think….would have advised them to stay behind locked doors and not believe anyone who knocked at the door. TAKE A GUN or even better take Steve McQueen with you…the dangerous, pale eyed killer not the film director…although he would be more interesting to talk to if you stayed at home like I advised in the first place….ask your mother..maybe not, she’s holding a ;45.

    February 20, 2014
    • Guns concern me too, Roger, if only for very frightened people holding them. Fear gets people killed.

      February 20, 2014
    • I’m afraid of guns. I would definitely shoot myself if I tried to use one.

      February 20, 2014
  11. Guns require education and practice. Period. If you don’t like ’em and have no experience, stay away from ’em. There’s a lot more to it than point-and-shoot. I grew up with them and still find classes and practice regularly.

    February 20, 2014
    • I’ve fired a gun once in my life. It was a high-powered hunting rifle. Because every Southern belle needs to know how to hunt. I didn’t like the experience, and I never did it again. I’m sure if I went to classes and learned more about it, some of that fear would go away.

      February 20, 2014
  12. ’cause you never saw the need…. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gphgdxTL_V4

    Seriously, I’m leaning to the thought of a taser (but take a lesson in how to use it). 🙂

    February 20, 2014
    • You have to get so close to someone to tase them, though. My mom bought me one once, and I freaked out so much, she sent it back.

      February 20, 2014
  13. I’m sure you’ll be fine, Andra, besides, everyone in the blogosphere knows where you will be, watching virtually over you. You don’t need a gun. Just show them a picture of your calloused feet. tee hee

    February 20, 2014
    • There’s a thought. It looks even scarier today. 🙂

      February 20, 2014
  14. 1) One of the best Beatles songs ever.
    2) We were listening to satellite radio on the way to therapy, and this came on. Sam was still singing it when we got there, went inside, and the therapists came in. #awkward.
    3) I love love love the picture of your mother.
    4) For pity’s sake, I grew up in the middle of nowhere. My mother would be thirty times dead, as would my sister in law, who is a huge hiker, and both of them tend to go solo.
    5) I would, however, suggest a coach’s whistle and advise that you not carry a lot of foods. Bears are pretty easy to scare off if you have to do it (hence the whistle), but mostly, they’d rather not meet you, just as you’d rather not meet them (hence, don’t smell tasty).

    Which reminds me – MY mother in law is also a huge hiker, and she’s going to be in town during the best chance for me to catch you on the Trace. If I make it, you may get to meet her, too. (She’s a super neat lady, in far better shape than either of us, and, while far more capable of walking fifteen miles than either of us, is much more likely to walk a few miles, then go play with the grandkids and Scott for the day and meet us down the pike with them.)

    February 20, 2014
    • I’d love it if she came, too. That would be awesome.

      February 20, 2014
  15. It’s sad that someone (probably a well-meaning person) had to come and sow fear into this adventure. I agree with narble and Jesterqueen. A whistle is a good idea.

    February 20, 2014
    • I used to have a good whistle. I don’t know what happened to it.

      February 20, 2014
  16. I like the whistle idea. Maybe mace, although I’d be afraid of spraying myself in the face. Guns give people a false sense of security and also makes them more likely to do stupid and irrevocable things (just read the Florida news …) The most important security measure is to be alert, be aware of your surroundings. This may be a little late, but have you thought about a GPS monitor or tracker? My husband has one that he takes with him when he goes out stargazing. His favorite spot is deep in a forest and he may be out there until the wee hours of the AM. For my peace of mind, he bought a transponder (Del Lorme InReach) that he uses to send me an email when he arrives at his spot and then again when he leaves. It also has a panic button that alerts emergency personnel and provides his coordinates. I believe he has the model that is used by the Coast Guard. Fortunately, he’s never had to use the Panic button and, hopefully, he never will. But this way we can both rest easy when he’s out there.

    February 20, 2014
    • I’m hoping my phone can work for this, but we’ll see. I go meet with Verizon this evening. I got a mophie charger, so I can use the gps the entire time I’m hiking.

      February 20, 2014
      • Ah, good idea 🙂

        February 20, 2014
  17. Jill Clary Stevenson #

    I’m with you on the gun thing, Andra. I’ve never even held one and don’t want to. And to think I married two men from Charleston, a bastion of the gun-totin culture. Surprisingly, neither hunted but both owned guns given to them by their fathers (at the tender age of 12 in both cases). When Andrew was born, Dan sold his shotgun. It always made me nervous to see it so I was glad to see it go. You will be safe – you have Roy!

    February 20, 2014
    • Isn’t that a funny Southern custom? My dad had two shotguns that were gifts from his father. When I was growing up, they hung on a gun rack in the den. I think he sold them, because my brother doesn’t have them.

      February 20, 2014
  18. “Me: …Take out a copy of my novel and start talking about it?? Because, Lord knows, that sends most people in my face-to-face life fleeing in the other direction.”

    Ha! Like Jay Sherman?

    Oh, Andra, you’re riding yourself way to hard on that.

    February 20, 2014
    • Most people I see in my everyday life tell me they’ve bought my book. When I say I’d love to hear what they think of it when they read it, they usually say, “You want me to READ it?????” (Cue deer-in-the-headlights-eyes.)

      February 20, 2014
      • You’ve GOT to be kidding!! What on earth’s the purpose of buying it if you’re not going to read it? If I had nothing else on my plate, I’d have probably consumed it in one or two sittings! I AM hooked and I AM enjoying it (truth be told, I wasn’t at all sure if I would, as it’s not at all within my go-to reading categories).

        I’d also like to mention (in light of Robert’s comments below) that until I read this post today, the idea that you might somehow be at risk on this adventure (from anything worse than mosquitoes and poison ivy, that is) never really crossed my mind. I have always envisioned you would be well-prepared, capable, determined, and jubilant at the end of the trail! Wish I were able to come along for a day. 🙂

        February 20, 2014
      • That’s what I want to say. Dawes Cooke told me he bought the book the other morning at Rotary, and I said, “I can’t wait to hear what you think when you read it.” And he looked at me like READ IT????? I mean, I hope he will read it……and I should stop talking about this now, because he is a high-powered attorney and all, and I like him very much, and I’m going to be spending almost two whole days with his son (tomorrow and Saturday.)

        I need to somehow write a blog post about this. We are too categorized as a people. I’ve had some of my best experiences with things I just did that I never thought I would like. I’m so glad to hear you’re enjoying the book. You aren’t the first person who’s told me it was outside the bounds of what they would normally read, only to be pleasantly surprised. I’m glad. Really, really glad.

        I wish you could come along for a day, too. I’m not worried about poison ivy. Mosquitoes, though………..they lurrrrrrve me.

        February 20, 2014
  19. tarakianwarrior #

    Okay, you know I carry a gun, er, I think you know…anyway, I was raised by a Marine who hunted (poor defenseless animals) as that is what we ate (i.e., venison, rabbit, bear (gross), goat (even more gross), antelope (stringy and nasty)…but I digress…), however, if you are concerned there are two things you can carry…bear spray, or wasp spray. Bear spray can hook onto your belt, wasp spray you can keep in a pocket. Wasp spray is really good as the spray is long and concentrated. Anyway…that’s my two cents. 😀

    February 20, 2014
    • I bought bear spray in Montana once. I took one look at the whole contraption and handed it to MTM. If a bear actually got after me, there would be no way I could pull all those knobs and levers and whatever to shoot anything out of that can. We spent $40 on that thing for one hike at Glacier, and I was like, “At least we can take it home and use it for future hikes.”……….They confiscated it out of our checked luggage at the airport.

      Your description of food is hilarious. Bear is greasy. I’ve had goat in Europe, and it wasn’t bad. I’ll take your word for the antelope.

      February 20, 2014
  20. 1: You are probably much safer doing a publicized walk of the Trace than you are walking in any community in the US (especially FL.)
    2: People can be passive aggressive jerks. In the guise of “concern” they are trying to bring you down because they are JEALOUS of what you have done and are about to do. They couldn’t do it so they want to spoil it for you. (Now leaving family business and coming back to land).
    3: You don’t have time to learn to use a killing machine properly and since you are a rational and reasonable person, the odds would be strong that you would have a great deal of difficulty actually gunning someone down.
    4: Heavy duty flashlight, whistle, spray and a good GPS tracker for MTM’s peace of mind. (I suggest the first three for everyone anyway – well except a small flash in town).

    Illegitimi non carborundum!

    February 20, 2014
    • If I even knew how to use a gun, I don’t think I could shoot someone. But I have a theater friend here who was raped when she was a teen, and she was like, “I could totally shoot someone who threatened my life.” I can see that. I can also see how quickly a situation like that could turn on me. A group of three people stop and try to drag me into the car. I shoot one of them. The other two say I did it without provocation. Two against one. I lose in court. (I’m not using that as an example of what I think about what happened in FL at all. I’ve seen a guy just like that guy in real life. He got arrested the day I saw him for screaming at people for playing their music too loud on a neighboring boat. When they wouldn’t turn it down, he got out a flare gun and threatened to shoot them. Everyone was drunk, and it was a really scary situation. I was glad I was not in that line of boats and had some distance in my favor.)

      February 20, 2014
  21. I think you’re right. Living in fear doesn’t help anybody! Being sensible and prepared (and I know you’re doing that) does. So you’ve got your “check in” times, which means if you get in trouble or go missing it won’t be long before somebody figures that out. You’ve got a phone (which may or may not have reception). You’ve got your “emergency pack” (which you’d be much more likely to need than a gun in any case). And you’ve got your very capable brain and your travel experience (a resource that clearly the gun toting advisors undervalue). Of course if you want to whip something out and flash it in their face the moment of disconcerting will give you plenty of opportunity to run away. 🙂

    February 20, 2014
    • Travel experience is valuable. And I’ve got my friend Alice looking for the best meat-and-three’s to feed Dad while she’s with us in Mississippi. I thought I might lose a few pounds on this walk, but after listening to her talk about where we’re going to eat the first week, I’m sure I’ll gain. 🙂

      February 20, 2014
  22. If ya don’t like’m, don’t carry. All the suggestions above are good. Don’t worry, you’re savvy about travelling and you will be just fine. Heck, I’m jealous. I’ll be with you in spirit!

    February 20, 2014
    • I just don’t know how to use one. I’m never nervous around people who have them when they know how to use them.

      February 20, 2014
  23. I don’t know anything about guns either, Andra. I don’t like using the ones at the shooting arcades at the fair either, I feel self conscious using one as I know I’m doing it wrong. I don’t even like water pistols come to think of it, and that’s saying something considering I’m Piscean…
    Nah. You don’t need a gun. You’ll be fine. You could always call on Voodoo Lou if you need help.

    February 20, 2014
    • It’s funny you mention Voodoo Lou………….thanks for the post for tomorrow. 🙂

      February 20, 2014
  24. It’ll probably won’t happen, but if it does, it’ll probably be a man, so just knee him where it hurts and run like the wind.

    Trust me, I’m a guy, he won’t be able to walk for a few days…

    February 20, 2014
    • It’s the ‘run like the wind’ part I worry about. I’m not a very fast runner. 🙂

      February 20, 2014
  25. I thought you were dragging Roy along, and he has a Tommy Gun. Probably better to take your Pistol Packin’ Mom… I’m sure you would squeal and shoot your foot if you fired a gun.

    February 20, 2014
    • Roy is NOT allowed to bring the Tommy Gun. NOT. ALLOWED. If Mom decides to bring her Beretta, she’d better not tell me, either.

      February 20, 2014
  26. Love. 😀

    Is that really your mother?

    February 20, 2014
    • Yep. That’s really my mother.

      February 20, 2014
      • Cool – that’s street cred. It’s not the gun thing, it’s the whole story and pic and all that. Well played, my friend.

        February 20, 2014
  27. Lance #

    You should dial up your blog on your phone and show it to your potential attacker, that would disarm anyone.

    (I hate guns, would never own one, and hope you never do either)

    February 20, 2014
    • Well, my father claims the only thing he’s leaving me is that Tommy gun he bought out of the back of a funeral home. Even after I screamed that I didn’t want it. Only made him more determined, I’m afraid…………

      February 20, 2014
      • Roy has a Tommy gun? Hoo boy. As soon as I read that, “Danny Boy” started playing in my head. Roy wants to be in Miller’s Crossing, I think:

        February 20, 2014
  28. omg the ending!

    February 20, 2014
    • Mom loves these posts where I portray her as a bad ass, even though she cringes at my typing the words ‘bad ass.’

      February 20, 2014
  29. I grew up in a house with tons of guns in it, and my dad would leave his rifle out in the corner behind the front door during hunting season. I guess it took too much energy to put it in the gun cabinet. Because I was a girl, I was only taught t fear guns, never to fire one. He would let me go to watch him fire his muzzle loader, but again, I was never taught how to use the damn thing. I guess that’s a good thing. It’s a wonder I didn’t turn vegan because I certainly hated eating all the animals he shot. Oh, and he used to clean his guns in the living room while sitting in his arm chair. Learned not to walk in front of him while he was going it. There’s two small pellet holes in my mom’s front picture window from his “unloaded” gun going off while he was cleaning it.

    February 20, 2014
    • What a story, Jeri. I wouldn’t let a gun anywhere near me if I’d grown up with that. My dad was never a hunter, so the guns were always put away. (If hanging on the gun rack up high on the wall qualifies as ‘away.’)

      February 20, 2014
  30. Your momma is a bad ass!

    February 22, 2014
  31. I love that picture! Brilliant!

    March 11, 2014
  32. Coming from Australia I am a tad confused about the proliferation of guns in the US, but am in no position to criticise or lecture. So a more light hearted comment.
    Recently Veronica and I drove up through New Hampshire to Vermont, and staying at a great place in Rochester.
    We loved New Hampshire’s number plate slogan: live free or die.
    And couldn’t resist buying a ‘Weird Vermont’ t-shirt.

    March 20, 2014
    • I live in the US, and the whole gun thing confuses me, Tony. You’re not alone. 🙂

      Driving through New England is such a treat. I’m glad you got to do it. We’ll be in Australia from late May to mid-June. I’m really looking forward to visiting your country again.

      March 20, 2014

Talk Amongst Ourselves

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: