Beer Not Guns

One night I was up late, sitting in the little sun room at the front of my house. I had some candles lit and I think I was playing guitar. I saw someone walk in through the back door of my house. I lived with 3 or 4 people so I was not alarmed but when he got close I could see that it was not someone I knew. I said something like “hey, man, what are you doing walking into my house.” It became clear very quickly that he was way fucked up on drugs or something. He was fairly incoherent. He started saying stuff like “It doesn’t matter ’cause we’re all gonna die anyway.” I felt this could turn into a dangerous situation. I noticed a large kitchen knife clearly in view. To try to diffuse the situation, I offered him a beer. Again he went on about how I was going to die. I was not very confrontational — I was calm and rational and acted like I was trying to understand what the hell he was talking about. One of my roommates was asleep downstairs. I yelled down, “Mark, come up here.” He sounded pissed and said “What?!?” I said, “Get up here.” He must have understood from the tone of my voice that something was up. He came up the stairs in his tightie whities. The guy said again something about how it doesn’t matter and we’re all gonna die. He then swept his arm across the bar and knocked a bunch of plants on the ground, shattering them. Mark acted disinterested and walked back downstairs. Within about 3 minutes I saw a flashlight in the back yard and it was the police. Mark had called 911. The woman officer asked if she could come in. I said yes. The guy reached into his pocket and pulled out a bag of weed and stepped on it. The police officer cuffed him. She asked what happened and I told her. She said, “You gave him a beer? That’s an interesting tactic.” I did not point out the bag of weed on the floor and she didn’t see it.

Apparently the guy had entered someone else’s house across the street, too, which is why the cops were so nearby. I was asked if I wanted to press charges and I declined. I smoked the weed.

The reason I titled this post the way I did was because one of my roomates had a handgun that he kept loaded in the house, which pissed us off. If it had been him and not me, the situation would have turned violent. By staying calm and non-threatening, I was able to diffuse the situation. Now maybe I was lucky and maybe I could have been attacked and killed. Maybe I would have wished I had a gun in that case. I can’t say. I do know that being focused on a peaceful resolution paid off by creating a peaceful resolution. Violence begets violence.

Beer Not Guns

4 thoughts on “Beer Not Guns

  1. Dan says:

    You and I agree on a lot of this, but I do not think criminalizing guns makes us safer either. It will always be easy for criminals to get guns and no amount of laws will help. Maybe better enforcement would be a good start and we could probably make some progress by enforcing the laws on the books now.

    My main point of the earlier post was to encourage this guy to not be confident in the behavior of the next stoned guy he meets just because this one did not try to hurt him. Thats all.

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  2. I am not anti-gun, per se. I am anti “guns make us safer”. I own a handgun and a shotgun for hunting. I will probably own a rifle at some point. Guns are not bad and law-abiding citizens owning guns is not bad. What is bad is this notion that guns make us safer. The USA pretty much conclusively shows that when all factors are roughly the same (i.e. vs. Canada, the UK, Australia, France, Germany and other westernized countries) massive gun ownership causes more gun deaths. I think this is because it is so much easier for criminals to get their hands on guns. The law abiding citizens are only the problem when they sell guns to criminals, which happens all the time. That is why the Brady Bill was a step in the right direction. The prime purpose of any gun control legislation should be to keep guns out of the hands of criminals.

    Michael

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  3. Dan says:

    I think you handled that situation very well, but I also hope you do not get cocky either. Prisons are filled with people who killed strangers under the influence of one thing or another. This definitely could have gone bad.

    As for your friend with the gun, how can you be so convinced he would have used the gun? Yes some wackos might think they are dirty hairy, but many gun owners are responsible and capable of keeping a cool head as you did.

    Its obvious you do not have good feelings about private gun ownership, but that does not mean that all drug hazed intruders are harmless and it also does not mean that all gun owners act like nut.

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  4. And I think fear begets violence. We live in a fear-filled culture. We own guns because we’re afraid of the boogey man. We may amend the constitution because we’re afraid of people who are not like us. We react violently to that which we do not understand. Your calm demeaner and lack of fear were critical here. You didn’t understand why the guy chose your house. But, oddly, you weren’t going to condemn him for it. This story speaks to your sense of humanity, I think. I liked it.

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