Saturday, March 14, 2009

His Own Personal Arsenal

He was a 48 year old new patient to our clinic. He had a pasty white face and grey scraggly hair. His wire rimmed glasses drooped past his cheekbone. He talked to me in a serious monotone voice.

I asked him questions I ask every new patient. One question I ask is, "Do you own any guns." It is illegal for someone to own a gun if they have been incarcerated and whenever I ask those patients that question, I usually get a resounding "No!" followed by something like, "I'm not going back to that hell hole." I stopped asking my Somali patients that question a long time ago when I was laughed at by an interpreter. She told me that these Somalis have fled a country full of violence and that's the last thing they would want to own. 

Occasionally, our African American or Caucasian patients have answered, "Yes" and then I ask them if there is a trigger guard, if the ammunition is kept separate from the gun, and if the guns are locked up. They have almost always answered, "Yes" to these questions.

"Do you own any guns?", I asked this pasty white patient. He immediately said, "Yes I do. I have one loaded, cocked, and ready to go. It's sitting right on my coffee table". "On your coffee table?!" I said without even thinking. "Yep. As soon as I moved here, I started hearing gunfire. So I decided I needed to protect myself". "Okay, so you have one gun?" "No, ma'am. I have five pistols and two rifles. I have another pistol ready to go, sitting next to my bed." 

I instantly became afraid of this paranoid man and didn't want to ask him anymore questions. I did, however, ask him if he brought one to the clinic. "Not on my person but I've got one ready in my car. "

I don't know if it's legal to own this many guns but I sure wasn't willing to ask him. 

4 comments:

Premium T. said...

Glad you're back.
Your posts illuminate parts of our society that we'd rather not see, but need to see. Thanks.

Life With Dogs said...

I would have asked him if the voices in his head were in a good mood that day.

Yikes!

Molly The Dog said...

Hi Premium T. Thanks. It has been way too long.

Molly The Dog said...

Hi L with D. Thanks for your comment. Believe me, I was anxious to get out of the room. It's just another reason I only have my first name on my badge.