To carry or not to carry

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By May Anne Cacdac

The Iron Maiden

Thursday, July 31, 2014

ILLINOIS, USA -- Look out your window at 530 a.m. and you are sure to find your daily subscription of the Chicago Tribune at your doorstep or in the case of my older sister, just right at the driveway. I believe the newsboy comes around 4 a.m. or even earlier because when we embarked on our road trip and were up by 430 a.m. the paper was already there. Piping hot if it were pancakes.

Wednesday has just started for us, July 30, when it is already almost midnight in the Philippines (I keep reminding myself that when I go home, I would have lost a whole day already on the plane) and today’s stories are interesting.

“Concealed carry debate flares,” read the headline story.


“An 86-year old man who attempted to help police foil an armed robbery at a Crestwood phone store by firing at the fleeing suspect may not have broken the law, but firearms trainers say he ignored a basic rule of carrying a gun in public: Don’t try to be a hero,” the news item said.

“The man, who has a permit to carry a concealed gun in Illinois, won’t face charges for firing two shots outside an AT&T store in Crestwood, according to the Cook County state’s attorney’s office. A police officer pursuing the suspect had to duck for cover, not knowing where the shots were coming from, Crestwood police said. No one was injured.

“State-approved trainers who teach permit applicants the proper way to carry weapons in public said the Crestwood incident could have had a tragic ending. In the 16-hour courses required to obtain a concealed carry permit, trainers said they emphasize that people carrying firearms in public should not act like law enforcement officers,” the article went on.

And then the debate.

“What we see here is an individual who decided to be a hero and luckily didn’t shoot the police officer in pursuit or get shot himself…. Such action is not something we want to see in the state or across the country,” said Mark Walsh of the Illinois Council Against Handgun Violence.

On the other hand, here's what First Assistant State lawyer Dan Kirk said, “This is an 86-year-old individual who is law-abiding and comes across a forcible felony in progress and even before getting involved in the situation, helps others avoid being hurt or killed. This is someone who is a very model citizen. Obviously, to qualify for a concealed carry permit, you would have to be a person in good standing.”

The gun control debate in this country continues to rage on and while there seems to be a similar debate in our country, it is limited.

We could witness real-life an incident like the one Chicago Tribune reported or another incident similar to the traffic altercation video, which has gone viral and has made headlines in the Philippines and will probably be quick to forget about it not knowing the implications of everyday actions as these on our society.

I am not exactly a fan of guns but I have been around them all my life. I could vividly remember pops Willy cleaning his handguns (I believe he owned two) especially during the time he served as secretary to the late mayor and Army B/Gen. Ernie Bueno.

He would clean his guns and in a low voice educate me on how to handle the guns properly, telling me I might need to own one someday. I still don’t, by the way. I gave his old one up to the police when he passed. When police asked me if I wanted to keep the gun and instead register it under my name, I declined stressing while I am not against owning a gun I felt I was not ready for such a heavy responsibility.

To be a hero or to be a villain. With or without a gun, this is a choice we constantly face every day. And every day, our actions affect a multitude.
Was the 86-year old a hero or a dangerous man?

The way I see it, he acted to the best of his judgment and with good intent. I will take that over indifference.

Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on August 01, 2014.


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