October 24, 2015

Being Afraid of Getting Shot at the Gym: Not Such a Strange Thought.



I was doing my pool walking exercises last night at the gym when it occurred to me that I could get shot just being there, minding my own business.

I mean, people get shot while minding their own business at the movies or while going to class at the community college or while sitting at a café drinking a cup of coffee.

Why couldn’t I get shot while doing my pool exercises at the gym?

In fact, if you go out the front door of my gym and look across the street you can see the grocery store where Arizona State Representative Gabby Giffords was shot. That’s my grocery store. I shop there all the time. I could have easily been there when, for whatever reason Gabby Giffords and a whole bunch of other people were shot.

Who’s to say that some Guy With a Mental Illness couldn’t come into my gym and pull a gun out of his Nike shorts and start shooting.

Or maybe it would be a guy who’s angry and has a problem with controlling his anger. He could be angry because he was sick of being a skinny kid all his life or because girls didn’t talk to him or because of a hundred different reasons that, in the end, wouldn’t matter to me in the least. What would matter to me was that I got shot.

Funny how reasons don’t matter when you’re lying face down mortally wounded in a swimming pool.

No. Under those circumstances you kinda really wish the Guy With a Mental Illness or the Guy With Anger Issues hadn’t had the gun in the first place.

But, oh, wait!

Maybe it wouldn’t be a Guy With A Mental Illness or a Guy With Anger Issues that would shoot me. Maybe it would be a Three-year-old Who Found Mommy’s Gun in her gym bag.

“Oh, no!” the mom would scream as Johnny waved the gun around, his tiny little trigger finger clipping off random people while they were doing their squats or their bench presses or like me, just doing their water walking in the pool.

“So, ironic,” I would be saying to myself while I was coming up for my last gulp of air, “to be shot and killed by a three-year-old child.”

I’m a legal transcriptionist. That’s what I do for a living.

One day I was transcribing the police interview of a homeless man that had witnessed a shooting.

Someone had picked the homeless man up to give him a ride and the driver stopped by his house on the way. When they pulled up to the curb another man came out of the house with a rifle and began shooting at the car the homeless man was riding in.

The driver was killed and as the man with the rifle walked closer to the car the homeless man crouched down in the front passenger seat terrified that he was going to be killed as well.

Out of the corner of his eye the homeless man could see the shooter moving around to the front of the car with the rifle draped over the crook of his arm. The next thing the homeless man heard was a loud “crack.”

“Oh my God. Oh my God! I just shot myself in the foot!” the guy with the gun cried out. “Call the cops! Call the cops!”

“Did you actually see the anybody get shot?” the cop asked the homeless man.

“Are you f*cking kidding?” said the homeless man. “When I saw that dude with the rifle, I got down on the floor. I may be homeless but I ain’t no fool. That dude there—the one with the gun—he’s the fucking fool.”

Almost funny. “The dude with the gun, he’s the f*cking fool.”

When I was a little girl my dad had taken me and my sister to the movies when the smell of smoke suddenly started to fill the air during the movie. I could literally feel the fear gathering as the audience started to rise up like one giant beast and people began running for the exits.

“Sit down!” my father shouted while running to the front of the theater. “Sit down!” he shouted again. “It’s only smoke!  Don’t panic.”  The people in the audience paused and within seconds the manager of the theater ran to the stage, told the audience that it was the popcorn machine that had caught on fire and that the fire was entirely under control.

“There’s nothing to worry about,” he said. “The fire’s out.”

Oh, for the days when all you had to be afraid of in the movies was whether the popcorn machine had caught on fire.

Way more relaxing than having to worry about whether some guy in the row behind you was going to start shooting. Or whether you were going to get shot while you were minding your own business, doing your water walking at the gym.



Relephant read:

What Liberals Need to Know about Gun Control in the U.S.


Author: Carmelene Siani

Editor: Travis May

Image: Flickr/Melinda


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