Teresa Ovalle

Welcome to Me

Devil’s Advocate – Peata Riley

on December 14, 2015

I am incredulous that we are having this conversation. I can’t believe that Q thinks that carrying open – carrying your gun so it is visible to others – is a good idea. I’m disappointed.

“But why would you want to scare people like that, Q?” I ask. “It doesn’t make sense to open carry.”

“It doesn’t make sense that people should fear a gun just because they can see it,” Q says. “It makes more sense that people would fear what they can not see, a monster under the bed, for instance, or a gun in someone’s bag.”

“That’s the point, Q. People are generally afraid of guns because of the power a gun has in the hands of an ill-intent person,” I say. “People see a gun and fear that something bad will happen.

When you carry concealed, they don’t know you have a gun, therefore, people don’t have the initial fear. A concealed gun is for emergencies, only to be taken out when absolutely needed. That’s the point of conceal carry. Open carry can be seen as a show of force.”

“Peata, you’ve been to the information hubs. You’ve read more information about guns than anyone twice your age,” Q begins, “but I also know you’ve read the history behind the guns, the laws – both old and new – and how effective the laws were in the old days. You’re not stupid, Peata. Don’t make me spell this out for you.”

“That is exactly my point, Q,” I say. “I’m not stupid. I’m familiar with the history, and I’ve read the fear right off the front pages of many newspapers.

Between 1965 and 2013, there were 25 mass shootings in the United States. I’m certain there were more after that, but I can only remember the statistics I read most recently. A lot of people died at the hands of rage-filled people with guns. The more this happened the more people feared guns.”

“Where did most of the shooting take place?” Q asks.

“According to what I read, most of the shootings took place in a business or work place and in schools,” I answer.

“In those days, was it true that most work or business places did not allow guns on the premises?” Q asks.

“That seems accurate,” I answer. “Most businesses, whether private or not, did not want guns on the property. Many businesses posted signs to say as much. Schools were not allowed to have guns on the premises, either.”

“Don’t you find it odd that most crazed gunman went to locations where, traditionally, people were not allowed to carry a gun?” Q asked.

“I don’t find it odd, at all,” I say, “I find it disturbing. I don’t know what was going through the gunmen’s heads, but it seems like they picked places that they could do the most damage with the least possibility of someone stopping them.”

“That is my point exactly, Peata,” Q says. “We’ll never truly know, but it seems accurate that the gunmen picked prime locations – where guns were not allowed – to do terrible damage.

“Do you now see where I’m heading with the open-carry issue?” Q asks.

“I think so,” I admit. “You’re thinking that if more people open carried in more places, that some of the horrific incidents that occurred could have been prevented or the situations de-escalated with far less damage.”

“Yes!” Q says in exasperation.

“Then why do you think more people did not carry open?” I ask. “I mean, some of the states had open carry laws, but it seems that most people chose to carry concealed or not all.”

“That is a two-part question, Peata,” Q says. “The first part has very little to do with open carry and more to do with carry laws. Remember that most of the places we discussed did not allow people to carry guns– open carry or concealed – so even if people wanted to carry, they were not allowed. There was no chance for a gun-carrying citizen to step in to change the situation because of the applied laws.”

“Two, just as you stated earlier, people are generally afraid of guns,” Q continues. “Even today, a gun handler is expected to always carry, but rarely open carry because open carrying makes people feel uncomfortable and it scares them.”

“But I thought you were trying to tell me that open carry was a good thing and that you were suggesting I practice the technique.” I say with frustration.

“I never suggested you carry open, Peata,” Q says matter-of-factly.

“Hmm,” I respond. “Then why all this talk about open carry, Q? I’m not an advocate of it, but you still persisted.”

“Because sometimes playing the devil’s advocate is fun,” Q says with a smirk, “and it makes for a good teaching opportunity.”

Q watches me as I ponder his words. I realize he may be right. Because of this conversation, I see why open carrying a gun can be attractive to some people; it has the potential to de-escalate a situation just by the simple fact that the gun is visible. It could easily be a deterrent.

“But Q,” I ask, “what about those people who walk around with their guns showing just because they can? What about them?”

“As you know, Peata, open carry is legal but discouraged in most territories because the effects it has on the general population – it scares people,” Q begins, “so for the gun handlers who open carry for the right reasons, well, they’re okay. You have to have faith they know what they’re doing.”

“As for the others you mentioned,” Q continues, “those are the gun handlers to be watchful of. They are generally safe and know what they are doing, but they open carry because they can and for no other reason. Be vigilant and remember why you became a gun handler. Always do the right thing, focus on your skills and continue to be the professional that you are, Peata. And leave the other guys alone.”

Peata Riley is a fictional character who lives in the future. Peata is the vehicle the author uses to spin a tale of common threads separated by temporal dimensions. Enjoy.