After I told a friend I was going to be leaving at the end of next week for a cross-country trip, she asked, “Are you packing?”

“Mostly finished,” I said. “Just have to pack the car.”

Another friend laughed. “She didn’t mean that kind of packing.”

A moment of confusion, then the light dawned. “No,” I said. “No gun.”

The second friend said to the first, “She doesn’t believe in guns.”

Rifle TargetThe truth is, I have no objection to guns or any weapon. I certainly don’t believe in gun regulation — there is too much government interference in our lives now. As for me, personally, I realize we have a right, perhaps even an obligation to protect ourselves from harm, but I don’t want to own a gun. (Though I did enjoy my experiences at a local gun range, shooting a variety of firearms. Was actually pretty good at it, too, for a beginner.)

Any weapon you have can potentially be used against you. Even worse, you carry a weapon and are so aware of carrying it, that it changes things, maybe even attracts unwanted energies; you don’t carry it at all, so it does you no good; or you become so used to carrying it that you no longer remember you have it, which brings about a dangerous situation as you fumble for your gun or knife or pepper spray. (Well, maybe you are different, but that’s how I am. I did think about getting pepper spray or hornet spray, but unless you know how the wind is blowing, in the confusion of a confrontation, you stand a good chance of having the stuff blown back into your own eyes.)

Even if I were able to do everything right and were able to protect myself with a gun, I doubt I’d shoot it. I do not want that sort of karma, even if it’s justified. Besides, knowing me, there’d I’d be, holding my puny gun on the villain, and wondering if it were cosmically correct. What gives my life more importance than his/hers? Is this really how I want to live my life? Is this how I want to die? And while my mind is going round and round and round, the villain would do whatever it is that villains do. And so that expensive bit of weaponry would be worth no more than a cap gun.

Still, I am going to be packing — packing a smile. A recent fortune cookie told me, “Your winsome smile will be your sure protection.”

And if my smile isn’t enough, well, I am taking a pen, and a pen is mightier than the sword.

So, see? I got it covered!


(Pat Bertram is the author of the suspense novels Light Bringer, More Deaths Than One, A Spark of Heavenly Fire, and Daughter Am I. Bertram is also the author of Grief: The Great Yearning, “an exquisite book, wrenching to read, and at the same time full of profound truths.”)