Guns and Supermarkets


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In 1984, while shopping at the local supermarket on Long Island, a neighbor’s child, a well- known bully, harassed my daughters. In no uncertain terms I told this individual to cut it out. Seconds later the bully’s mother approached me with her handgun pointed directly at me, yelling that I had accosted her child. I told my children to leave the store immediately, but they ran to the store manager, instead; the manager refused to get involved.

Customers ran out of the store; the woman and I exchanged words, all the while she held me at gunpoint. Suddenly, and without warning the woman and her family left the supermarket, got into their car and drove away. I ran to the manager’s office and demanded to know if he had called the police. He said he had not. When I asked why, he told me, “Mrs. M*** is a very good customer.” 

I asked him to let me use his phone; he would not allow that, either. In order for me to call the police, I had to return to my home. Afterward, the police told me they visited my neighbor’s home, discussed the situation with her, and ascertained she had done nothing wrong. She had a carry permit; the gun was legal. Moreover, because she worked at the airport as a customs agent, she was considered a peace officer, and frankly, because of her peace officer status they believed her story, not mine.

Then I called the main office of the supermarket chain. They informed me the store manager was within his rights not to get involved. A lot has changed since 1984. Now, it seems we have an armed populace that seems inclined to turn a supermarket into a battlefield.

Even with my experience in the supermarket so many years ago, I do not carry a firearm, although I’ve been thoroughly trained in firearm use. Without modesty, I will tell anyone who asks that I am a good shot, but I am also well aware firearms are merely tools. Just owning a weapon will not keep you safe. No individual is not a cabinet maker simply because he owns a power saw. And all the exciting movie scenes featuring shootouts are created and enhanced through the skills of the film’s director and its editor. Those scenes are merely fiction, which we as civilized people should never wish to emulate; and finally, there are many aspects to self-defense that do not rely on firepower.

As for my gun-toting neighbor — not long after our encounter, both husband and wife lost their jobs at the airport because of “abuse of power” issues; in other words bullying. Their eldest son assaulted and cracked open the skull of a classmate during school hours, on school grounds. Within two years of my encounter with them, the family had to sell their home and move away. The following year, a federal investigator visited my home, looking for information; it was then I discovered that the FBI was investigating the adults of the family for criminal activity.

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