Tuesday, June 9, 2009
A Loaded Question
This weekend at the shooting range a high school kid was our main attendant (?) I don't really know what to call him, but he was to a shooting range what a caddy is to a golf course. He had a ton of knowledge about any and all things gun related, and it was obvious he enjoyed his job. We actually didn't require much attention from our attendant, because my friends are impressive when it comes to shooting clay pigeons with their shot guns. I am not. I struggled with Nintendo's Duck Hunt growing up, and I didn't even try to compete with the guys this weekend. So this kid left us alone for most of the morning- until we brought out the grease gun.
In between rounds we made small talk. We learned that he wanted to go to the military after high school, which I think is a perfect fit, because I want a guy that loves guns to defend our country.
At one point the two of us had this exchange:
"Why do you carry a loaded handgun?" I asked because all morning I'd noticed the gun tucked into the back of his jeans.
"It's in case I have to shoot someone..." he replied, paused, and then continued "...in case a black person shows up."
He said those words, and then looked at me with a smile. My brain was frozen. I kept replaying his comment in my mind, because I was so shocked at his words I assumed he must had said something else?! After my mind confirmed that he did in fact make a joke, in 2009, about shooting a black person I became extremely annoyed and disappointed.
I wanted to ask him what he'd do if a gay guy showed up? Would he shoot me too? I wanted to educate him on the ignorance of his statement. I wanted to, but I didn't. We were at his shooting range. He had a loaded hand gun, and nothing I said would do anything to wipe away such stupidity. I just looked at him without a smile until he looked away, and then I walked away.
I can't stop thinking about my question and his answer. I was shocked when I read The Help and how they treated their black maids in 1963, but this is 2009. This is a high school kid. He was born in the mid-1990's. He's never lived in a time when this was acceptable. We have a black president. We have a black supreme court justice. We have Tiger, Beyonce, and Oprah. I am so disappointed that, clearly, cultural racism still exist in my beloved Texas. I am disappointed and annoyed.
My only hope is that he did not use the forbidden "n" word, which means small town Texas is at least headed out of the darkness. He knew enough to say "black person" instead of the "n" word.