by Kenneth Harper Finton © 2015
“Did you see what Fred got me for my birthday,” Wilma said. “A brand new pink pistol.”
“You are planning to shoot someone,” Betty replied.
“No, I am not planning to do that.”
“Then what will you do with it?” Betty asked.
“Target practice, I guess. It’s small and fits my purse and hand.”
“Same thing,” Betty said.
“What do you mean?” asked Wilma.
“Target practice is learning the skills for killing people.”
“Not to me. I enjoy it.”
“What do you think a pistol it for?” Betty asked. “A pistol is for killing people. They aren’t for hunting. Rifles are for hunting. Pistols are made just to kill people.”
“Or target practice,” Wilma reiterated.
“Targets are pretend people. Same difference.”
“Well, I don’t know. Fred got it for me to defend myself.”
“Defend against what?” Betty asked.
“You never know. Maybe a wild animal might attack me or some big guy might come for me in a dark alley.”
“Here in little old Bedrock? This is the safest place I know. The major crimes are jaywalking and spitting on the sidewalk.”
“I could be visiting someplace dangerous and need it. There are lots of dangerous places.”
“You could just stay away from them,” replied Betty.
“But I want to be free to go any place I want,” Wilma said.
“So you will walk into a war zone with a little pink pistol for protection?”
“Maybe not a war zone. It doesn’t have to be a war zone. I could be hiking someplace and a big bear comes at me,” Wilma said.
“Do you know what happens if you shoot that bear? I hear that It is a felony to shoot a wild animal. Uncle Tex just arrested someone for shooting a bear on the trail and that man is looking at several years in jail and a big fine.”
“Well, suppose I am out at night and this rapist comes at me. At least I have my little pink pistol to protect myself.”
“Unless he grabs you before you get it out of your purse or takes it away from you. That is what happens most of the time.” Betty said.
“I would just have to be quicker,” Wilma replied.
“But how would you know he is a rapist until he actually grabs you and throws you down? By then it would be too late to dig for it in your purse.”
“That could happen,” Wilma agreed.
“Besides, I saw a video online once about people who had a pistol in their hands when someone attacked them and they could not pull the trigger. It is a big decision to pull a gun and shoot someone. When it comes right down to it most people freeze up and hesitate. That is how the bad guy gets the gun and takes it away.”
“I could pull the trigger,” Wilma said. “I am sure I could do that.”
“But how do you know what this guy intends to do? How do you recognize a rapist?”
“Maybe they gotta bad look on their face or move at me too quickly.”
“You would shoot someone for that? I don’t think so, Wilma.”
“They could have a knife or a gun that I could see.”
“Could a… would a … should a… there would not be time to react, Wilma.”
“Maybe not, but I would feel safer knowing my pink pistol is there,” Wilma said.
“Or you could do the sensible thing and not put yourself in such a position to start.”
“That is best,” Wilma agreed. “But I could wake up in the middle of the night when Fred is not there and hear someone in the house. I will have my little pink pistol to protect me.”
“You would go confront this intruder with your pistol and say, ‘Put your hands up?”
*Yes, I could do that.”
“I think you need lessons, Wilma. They could run from you or at you. Then you would have to decide whether to shoot or not. Do you think another person’s life is worth less than your own?”
“Well, that is not something I think about.”
“You’d better think about it,” Betty said. “What would Jesus do? What would Gandhi do? We already know that they would not want violence. They believed in civil disobedience, not violence.”
“Oh, Betty, you make it all so complicated.”
“It is complicated, Wilma. You have to think about the consequences of your actions.”
“Everyone has the right to defend themselves,” Wilma stated.
“Yes, they do and there are lots of ways to do that without a pistol in your hand. Pistols are for killing people. Do you know what pistols are mainly used for?”
“Target practice is for killing. No, most gun deaths are from suicide. Two out of three gun people who die by guns are people who kill themselves.”
“I have heard that, but I am not a suicidal person. Besides, Fred tells me that I have a second amendment right to be armed.”
“To be armed for what, Wilma? Killing somebody?”
“Well, the government could get out of control and we would have to take back our right and our country.”
“With a little pink pistol against drones and tanks and bombs and the world’s best fighting forces?”
“You make it sound futile,” Wilma said,
“It is futile. Convincing people with words and actions are the best way.”
“How do you do that with a burglar or a rapist?”
“You gave to be creative, Wilma. Ask them about their favorite song. Ask them to sing it to you and join them in singing.”
“Oh, sure. I can see them stopping immediately and starting to sing.”
“People always need convincing. That’s the one talent you really are good at. Sing them a happy song and see what happens.”
“Ha! That’s a crock.” Wilma said.
“Maybe,” Betty said, “but being you is your best defense. If anyone gets to know you, they will like you and not want to harm you. That is better than shooting somebody.”
“But Fred gave me the pink pistol for my birthday,” Wilma said.
“Tell him you really do not like pink and do not want to shoot anyone, Wilma. That is true, isn’t it?”
“Hmmm,” Wilma replied, lost in thought.
BONUS SOUNDTRACK, “RUN, ROBIN, RUN”