"Everyone lock your doors and turn on your outside lights. Now!"
The other eve, DH and I were sitting, staring at our respective gadgets when I happened on that alert from our community's NextDoor electronic 'bulletin board.'
Shortly thereafter, we heard the unmistakable
whup-whup-whup of a police chopper overhead, its searchlights casting crazy, erratic beams across our yard.
Turns out, there was a home invasion just a few streets away. One in custody, two at large.
(At the time, I didn't realize - not that far away, little more than a week before - two elderly women were brutally murdered as they sat at the breakfast table enjoying coffee and the morning newspaper.)
DH and I simply exchanged looks. Without being prompted, I went to the bedroom to retrieve my petite revolver ... then sat with it my lap, trying to contain my imagination.
This sort of stuff isn't supposed to happen in our neighborhood: Decidedly middle class ... 50 shades of brown, sprung up from barren cotton fields little more than a decade ago.
I had to ask myself -- were someone to force entry, would I have the wherewithal to pull the trigger?
You see, years ago ... in a fugue state of insanity (lol) ... I co-habitated with a retired member of the NYPD. One eve we were goofing off and he challenged my reflexes.
Foolishly, I replied, "You're on!"
Well, before I knew it, the handgun I'd been wielding was in HIS hands, aimed squarely at my chest.
I'm embarrassed to admit, it's been more than a decade since I've actually fired my gun. At the time, I thought it prudent to be legal and signed up for Tampa P.D.'s concealed weapons class ... which, somewhat surprisingly, placed an enormous emphasis on the psychological ramifications of discharging a weapon.
Friend Diana recently asked, "You don't really think you'd shoot someone now, would you?"
... I had to bite my tongue.
I may not know much, but I believe no-one has any business owning a hand-gun if they're not prepared to use it.
Except, I'm not sure of my own ability anymore.
Perhaps a can of wasp spray is better suited?
... or a magenta-colored taser, like one of my favorite authors carries?
For the better part of my childhood, I saw my father carry a sidearm. It was merely a tool; something to be respected. There was no mystery to my friends and me ... no particular attraction.
Today? Where did we, as a society, go wrong?
I've no answers, but God help us, I hope someone comes forward with a viable solution for all concerned.
Have a great week ... and keep safe, OK?
Hugs from Phoenix,