To all the legal gun owners in this country: Thank you. You legally purchased your weapon, you learned how to use it, and you keep it in a safe. You hunt with it and humanely harvest truly healthy, free-range protein. You sit quietly in the woods with your son or daughter watching the sun come up through the trees, experiencing nature and a moment that would make Walt Whitman seethe with envy — all while I sleep in the city about to experience my bourbon-induced hangover and rain-soaked newspaper. 

Furthermore, I know that if you could, you would use your weapon to defend my family. For that, I thank you sincerely and with all my heart. And I would do the same for you and your family. When I close my eyes, I see myself in slow-motion flying through the air, lighting up a 9mm Beretta, each tiny missile finding purchase in the chest of a bad guy. And when it is over, the bad guys are dead and the good guys are alive but a little shaken. I tell everyone, “It’s all OK now. Take your families and go home. Just doing what any good citizen would do who happened to have a gun.” Just like in the movies. 

I’ve shredded paper bull’s eye targets in a range and blown to smithereens pop cans off hay bales. And if I were ever attacked by a pop can, in a controlled setting, with plenty of time and no pressure, watch out. “I’ve got a thirst for justice! Drink this, Diet Coke can! Bam! Bam! Bam!” 

I’d like to believe I’m a gifted gunslinger like you who wouldn’t panic, wouldn’t choke, would always find the right target — because in pressure situations, I always make the right decisions. Surprise me and I will react like I’ve had hours to think about the perfect response, especially in high-pressure life-or-death situations. Because that is how people are. 

Adrenaline is clarity-juice. Just like in the movies. 

Steve Bankes 

Oak Park 

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