Essay

Is this man given over to hero fantasies?

My wife and I stopped at the restaurant at Fair Oaks Farms in northwest Indiana as we returned from a long weekend in Chicago. That restaurant is at about the halfway point of our trip home and has become a Chicago trip tradition.

photo of man in black holding a gun
Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

We got a seat in the bar and presently a couple was seated next to us. The fellow openly carried a semi-automatic pistol on his hip.

It was overwhelmingly unlikely that he would have any reason to use his gun that Sunday afternoon. Fair Oaks Farms is a quiet place families like to visit, in open Indiana farm country. It’s not some sketchy bar in a bad part of town.

But I don’t know anything about this guy. Does he have any idea how to use his gun? Is he prone to hero fantasies where, at the first sign of trouble, he leaps into action like Captain America?

Or is he well trained with his firearm, of mature and calm demeanor? Is he perhaps a law enforcement officer?

It could have been either, for in Indiana it’s easy to get a carry permit. Unless you’re a felon, or have a conviction for domestic battery, you need only apply, register your fingerprint, and visit your local law enforcement office. You can then carry anywhere in Indiana except in a school, at the Indiana State Fair, in courthouses, in the Indiana Statehouse, and at lakes managed by the Army Corps of Engineers.

As I’ve written before, I feel safe in my world and see no need to own or carry a weapon. I don’t understand people who feel that need — but I also don’t know anything about their lives. Perhaps they legitimately don’t feel safe in their worlds. As a result, I choose to live and let live.

But that doesn’t mean I have to feel safe when I’m around a stranger who openly carries.

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