open carry

Open carry at the store this morning

I’m not here to argue Second Amendment rights. Please don’t even bother responding if that’s what you want to talk about.

What I want to have a conversation about is a problem that seems to have been missed by so many people when they consider the option of open carry.

But first, let me tell you a story about something that happened many years ago.

We were at a park up in Houston. There was another mother there – one that I realized quickly also had an Autistic child. Her child, though, was probably about 15, and he might have had other issues besides just Autism.

Simon was young enough that he was still in diapers throughout the day, and when we got to the park, I had done a quick diaper change because he was too wet to get through the afternoon, and the bathrooms were far away. I had folded up the diaper and put it in a bag, but the teenager spotted it and knew what it was. He lunged for it before his mom could stop him, and he tried to grab it. He had an issue, one that I’ve heard of more since then, in that he would try to eat diapers.

The other mother got aggravated and asked me to throw it away quickly as she tried to control her son.

At the time, my only thoughts were about how hard it was to be her, to try to wrestle with a boy that was bigger than her, and how I wished that Simon would turn out to be more functional and without any weird eating habits. It was, to me, a moment of concern.

Now, though, the story in my mind has a different point.

What if that teenager liked toy guns – or any guns – and didn’t understand that he shouldn’t touch them if they were other people’s?

Plenty of kids and teenagers without disabilities might have a problem keeping their hands to themselves, but they can be taught and understand things.

Some kids on the spectrum – or with other disabilities – may not reach that point. Having someone walk around with a gun on their hip, a gun that they may feel the need to reach for if someone else goes for it…well, it worries me. I know that if Simon reaches for one, it’s because he doesn’t know what it is, and he doesn’t know what it will do. But all it takes is for someone with a quick trigger finger to feel threatened, and we’re in a shooting situation.

So, please, if you open carry, realize that there are kids and teens and adults out there with disabilities. They aren’t threatening you if they reach towards you. And if you feel that they are, well, that’s a problem I can’t help you with.

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