You would have thought that after everything which has happened, the law on the ‘the right to keep and bear arms’ would have been revoked. But America continues to astound me with its nuances.
Back in the U.K. guns have always been almost a myth to me. Sure, we have gun violence, and an ex of mine who was a soldier knew all about them. But other than holding a shooting gun one time in Cuba, I had never really taken in their potential. Even with the Las Vegas shooting… that was miles away. Though it was very upsetting, it didn’t affect me.
The fear around protection in America, really should be described as a pandemic. Finding out that a boy I was dating casually sometimes left his gun in his car, or that on the way to the state fair our friend couldn’t come in because of his pocket knife he carried with him at all times, had mystified me. But in my usual manor I laughed it off at the “Americanism” of it all.
On Thursday, I started a 14-hour bus journey to New York. On Thursday, I was actually scared of being shot.
I’m used to alcoholics and drugs (anyone’s who’s been to a U.K. festival is). But this man was scary. Constantly shouting stuff which made no sense, making racist remarks towards our driver, and turning his head around to stare at me at any chance he got (when wife wasn’t looking), made me super uncomfortable. But I brushed it off. His constant trips to the toilet made me wonder just what it was he had been doing in there and quite frankly, I don’t want to know.
So when a man two seats in front, of me asked a woman two seats behind me, if she had any spray (there was a particularly smelly passenger) I thought nothing of it. Until the addict thought something had been said about him. An argument erupted right in front of me and I was on my own. There was no way for me to get out without potentially being in the firing line. My friends had gone to the toilet in the petrol station. I had no one to look at to confirm that it was all going to be alright. I just froze. With them both shouting out “don’t call the police” and “let’s take this outside”. My heart was pounding. I almost wished that if anything was going to be done it would be done on the bus so that the girls were fine. They couldn’t come back in without potentially being hurt themselves. The man repeatedly got up and sat back down, screaming in the other’s face. The language which was being hurled across the bus in front of me was enough to scare me into thinking I was in the ghetto. He lifted his shirt up and shouted, “I will pop you!”. The seat in front blocked my direct view, but what resonated was the silence which the whole bus felt at that moment. It terrified me. Something had to be hidden under his shirt, right? That’s when full violence broke out and a fight began. Other men tried to stop it, the man’s wife tried to stop it. But as he pushed her to the side and almost slammed her head into the window. I actually had to contemplate things.
- Calling the police wasn’t an option. They’d hear me and potentially make me the target of any unwanted attention.
- I couldn’t ask the girls too. I could see them from where I was sat so he would definitely be able to if he looked
- The driver was nowhere to be seen. A small timid Asian man was not going to do anything with these 6 foot men.
It seemed to settle down as quickly as it started. I had deduced that the hot-headed man seemed to be all talk. The fact that he kept saying he had bail money, and was on the phone to one of his comrades again about beating the guy up once we arrive in New York, was scary enough for me not to not have slept for the rest of the 10 hours of the journey.
It left me contemplating a lot though. If such an item can put so much fear into people, why have it? When people can pick one up so easily, potentially when they’re not mentally stable, why have it? The fear the threat of this thing caused, in itself caused so much damage. But what hit me the hardest was that in America people fear for their lives on a daily basis and can’t go around in the street without some sort of “protection”. The fact that the people of ‘The Greatest Nation on Earth’ don’t feel safe in their own homes is astounding.