I have recently joined the ranks of smartphone owners. I like it. But after reading about the recent San Francisco shooter, I have resolved to be careful about when I use it, especially in public places. The San Francisco Chronicle reports:
“A man standing on a crowded Muni train pulls out a .45-caliber pistol. He raises the gun, pointing it across the aisle, before tucking it back against his side. He draws it out several more times, once using the hand holding the gun to wipe his nose. Dozens of passengers stand and sit just feet away – but none reacts. Their eyes, focused on smartphones and tablets, don’t lift until the gunman fires a bullet into the back of a San Francisco State student getting off the train.”
This was all captured by train cameras. The man openly held a large handgun in plain view and no one noticed because everyone around was totally engaged in their handheld flat screen fixations.
“‘These weren’t concealed movements – the gun is very clear,’ said District Attorney George Gascón. ‘These people are in very close proximity with him, and nobody sees this. They’re just so engrossed, texting and reading and whatnot. They’re completely oblivious of their surroundings.'”
If you want to know why the Second Amendment seems so alien to many in America, look no farther. If one decides to carry a weapon, one is deciding that the public environment may not be risk free. You are acknowledging that, to make sure you and yours stay safe, you must stay alert.
People who are not carrying a concealed handgun can and should do the same. Even though the odds are in you favor, you should use your eyes to navigate in the world and avoid hazards. If someone is tired, I don’t blame him for falling asleep on a bus or train. In most cases he is probably going to be safe. But the fact that sleep can be justified doesn’t mean that it is a good idea for mass numbers of people to to do it at the same time. Nor should they adopt habits while awake that practically close their eyes to their environment most of the time.
If people have decided that they should be kept safe, without contributing in any way to make themselves and those closest to them safe, then no wonder they don’t understand the Second Amendment. No wonder the only reaction to gun crime for some of these people is to whine that the government needs to do more to disarm everyone. These people aren’t just outside of “gun culture”; they are part of an antithetical culture.
Everyone knows that civilized society is supposed to protect its members. But it should do that by expecting and teaching its members to protect one another. Paid professional guardians can help (police), but they cannot be the only protection. Relying on them is like expecting the stewardess to put the oxygen mask on each passenger when the plane is crashing.
I’m not against smartphones, but people need to learn to stay alert. Most times it will seem unnecessary, but that rare event will be a matter of life and death.