Stand your ground?
Growing up in America, more specifically North Idaho (yes, very much different than the southern part of the state) there were certain things you just took as a given. Without reading out a laundry list of good and bad what comes to mind is guns. Guns and conservative, home rule leanings. None of this in itself is good or bad it just is. For the most part it used to be no one meant anyone any harm, it was just how people thought and most of the time never felt the need to explain it justify any of this. Another thing that used to be part of the region was a small collection of racist known as the Aryan Nation. That’s not to say there weren’t more racists in the area but these particular individuals were the most brazen, so much so that in the 1980s they occasionally felt the need to fill out the proper paperwork and exercise their constitutional right to march down main street to celebrate Hitler’s birthday. The event was always a bit laughable in that roughly 18-20 white men of all ages but mostly past the 40 mark would march down the 6 or 8 blocks in the center of town while being verbally berated by on average over 2000 onlookers. Those men are all now gone, legally evicted after losing a civil suit for threatening a mother and her son with weapons. A small victory over ignorance.
That was then, this is now. When I first went back to my home town in November of 2015 with my London born, adopted, black son I was anxious to say the least. I couldn’t shake the days of angry old men waving confederate and Nazi flags marching through the center of town. Fortunately my anxiety was for nothing and no one gave us a second glance. Asking a friend who works as a fireman why this was he responded by telling me no one cares about any of that any more. I couldn’t have been more relieved but unfortunately things change. Since our last time back Donald Trump had been elected president. Never my first choice but what’s done is done. One of the many downsides to this is people who would’ve kept their views to themselves now feel vindicated. They see their president not condemning blatant racism and now feel they can voice their ignorance at anytime without being asked. Add to that the recent law that anyone can carry a concealed weapon and that Idaho is a “stand your ground” state and you have a recipe for people to justify using a gun to defend what they think is their constitutional right to publicly voice their racist views. What have we become? Then a thought entered my head. If confronted by someone like this while I’m with my son what is my recourse? I would willingly lay down my life for this little boy so how do I protect him and my family? Do I myself start carrying a gun? Not that I would but I’ve had plenty of instruction on the safety and use of such things but what I realized is ultimately I shouldn’t even be thinking of this as a possible option. Do I cancel any future plans to return to my hometown because of something that probably won’t happen? Is this what America has become? I have no immediate answers.