Know Your Rights

Author’s Note: You can agree to disagree with me, but I feel that what I am saying is completely valid and I make no apologies for it. These are MY feelings. You don’t have to share in them and I did not write this to argue, I wrote it because it’s my perspective. 

Rights in America change a little too frequently, so much so that it’s hard to keep up. The Founding Fathers are probably rolling over in their graves as they watch what has become of this nation.

Under normal circumstances I keep a lot of my personal beliefs to myself, but someone started an ignorant fight with me and it sparked the desire to write about it.

The very benign disagreement was deleted by the person who started it with her comment, so not only did I cease further communications with her, something I never do when I’ve known someone for 20+ years, but ultimately, I lost respect for her because she clearly knew what she was doing with her comments and I felt that was low. Don’t say something stupid and expect every single person to agree with you. This is not GroupThink.

Here’s what happened verbatim:

The first person (who, as I said, deleted the three comment disagreement) stated that she really wanted to go to the movies, but that she didn’t feel it was okay for the movie theater to “search through her purse”. She lives in the same state as I do, and I agree with her. It’s NOT okay. Her acquiescence in the same statement was “I guess that’s the world we live in now.” Um, NO, it’s not, and it’s irresponsible for you to say something so stupid.

People immediately chimed in with a plethora of anti-gun sentiments, so this quickly escalated into something it didn’t need to be.

I don’t think of guns and movie theaters in the same sentence. I truly don’t. I’m not ignorant, I know what happens and what has happened in this country, but to give that thought credence and act as though it will continue to happen because of responsible gun owners is not rational, intelligent thinking. Unfortunately, this was like like reading comments from a Million Mom March, as opposed to people with differing opinions sharing their views. I was the only person saying anything pro-gun, and believe me, I barely got started.

In regard to the statement that “this is the world we live in now”: It’s incidents of unlawfulness with malicious intent. However, it is not the entire globe. Anyone stating shit like that is utterly ignorant. I have NEVER, not once, gone to the movies and thought about harming someone. Neither has anyone else I know.

While many movie theaters are posting signs asking law abiding gun owners not to carry openly or concealed into their establishments, regardless of the fact that their state’s laws allow them to do so, others are simply going through women’s purses to confiscate candy, snacks, and bottled water, which isn’t about anyone’s safely, but ultimately about how much money you spend after purchasing a ticket. That has NOTHING to do with your personal safety or the safety of those with you. If they want you to be “safe”, if they are truly concerned about a potential shooting occurring in one of their theaters, then maybe they should have someone armed in every single theater as opposed to acting like going to the movies requires a TSA-type pat down.

Going to the movies is supposed to be fun, not stressful. If they want to prevent something from happening, they can’t make their audiences targets. After all, they weren’t searching any of the men, just women’s purses. Does that seem a little ass-backward? I don’t recall any females shooting up a movie theater, do you?

My response to this was “I would walk right out if they demanded to search through my purse without a warrant or probable cause. Know your rights.” And that’s precisely when some stupid bitch decided to turn that into more than it really is by saying “I guess your “rights” are more important to you than your safety.” I answered the lunatic by stating that she is ignorant, that a lawful citizen not only knows their rights but can protect themselves, their loves ones, and absolute strangers because they have passed a background check, have been fingerprinted to be able to carry concealed, taken a 40 hour class in firearms safety, among other things based on the individual state one resides in. Within an hour of my response, the entire interaction was deleted by the originator of said discussion, and I find that utterly cowardly. I do not abide by cowards.

For starters, I am not a criminal and therefore if you do not have a warrant or a legitimate reason to search me, I do not have to submit to being searched, be it my person or personal property, without reasonable cause. Certainly NOT at a movie theater where I am paying hard-earned money to watch something I want to see. I don’t carry a gun in my purse. I don’t know anyone who does, so if that is how a movie theater is going to conduct themselves, they do not need my business. If they think they’re going to confiscate a gun from a law abiding woman by such means, they’re wrong. However, I’m also not a mental moron. Unless I am going to an airport to board a plane (in my state, you can be armed and be standing at baggage claim waiting for someone. If you’re approached by security or a police officer because, for some reason, you’re imprinting, all you have to do is show them your concealed carry permit and ID. They might be a little dramatic, but if you’re not aggressive, they won’t be either.), walking into the post office, walking into a government agency (I’ll use Social Security as an example since I had to replace my card a few years ago), or going into a courthouse, then searching through my bag is completely unacceptable. Would you let a restaurant do that before they seated you? No, you wouldn’t, because that’s not acceptable behavior, nor is it acceptable for anyone to do that at a fucking movie theater. Moreover, you have to check a weapon at the front door of any courthouse or lock the firearm in the trunk of your car, the choice is yours. Otherwise, you’re going through a metal detector, so it’s not like you can hide anything. How many women have had a wand used on them because they were wearing an underwire bra that had real wire in it? I have. It takes two seconds for them to say “I don’t mean to be nosey, but I have to ask. Are you wearing a push-up bra or any type of underwire bra? Oh, okay. It’s the bra. You can go, miss.” I have yet to cause anyone harm with a bra, though there are days those fuckers hurt and should be abolished.

I was once asked to leave a Kubaton attached to my keys behind with an armed guard. He held it for me until I left, no harm, no foul. He didn’t treat me like a fucking criminal for having a self-defense weapon in my possession because I have the legal right to do so. After all, this is still America, not Nazi Germany.

A TSA agent once checked my hair because the screening showed a piece of metal. She immediately saw it was my hairclip and that I did not have a bomb strapped to my head. That was the end of that. I very clearly didn’t require a cavity search.

Second, it is important to know your rights. When you don’t, you’ll allow stupid shit to be done to you and you’ll accept things you wouldn’t allow if you’d had the proper knowledge.

Many people turned the original comment into a war against guns. “Oh, everyone is so violent.” or they outright stated that “People who are mentally ill need to have guns taken away from them.” Categorically speaking, that would mean someone who suffers from OCD, has bouts of depression, PTSD, or anxiety could potentially have a concealed carry permit revoked because a bunch of assholes think that somehow impairs your judgment. Unless a person is paranoid and thinks the entire world is out to get them, the chances of that gun being used outside of a range are slim.

Would I tell an anxious rape victim that she had no right to a concealed carry permit to protect herself from future harm? No, I would NOT. Would I tell a single mother that she didn’t have the right to own a shotgun to protect herself and her children? No. Would I tell someone who has an order of protection that she needs to wait weeks, or months, to purchase a firearm for protection? NO. However, all these people cared about was causing an issue where there wasn’t one.

People will argue that guns can escalate a situation, and that may be true in the hands of the wrong person, but it’s not the truth in every situation known to man. Would I prefer to shoot someone or be raped? The former, always. Would I prefer to shoot to protect myself or be shot? The former, always. Every woman in this country has the right to defend herself however she sees fit, and for anyone to say she does not have the right and that she be allowed to be a victim in any situation disgusts me.

This country was built on the back of a horse and guns have always been used to defend and protect. We have the right to bear arms. We have freedom of speech and freedom of religion. And yet, Americans think we need to take rights away from ourselves every single day and they are 100% WRONG.

Two Americans disarmed a gunman on train and protected people a few months ago. That is heroism.

Many Americans immigrate to Israel to join various factions of the IDF, to protect land that is, from North to South, slightly larger than the state of New Jersey.

Our military is taught to use force in combat if necessary, yet they are not allowed to defend themselves on U.S. soil, which is absolutely deplorable. You’re telling them to be victims when they could diffuse a situation with their experience.

I grew up with NYPD officers as next door neighbors. When one cop moved out, another would move in. You couldn’t have been safer. My Mom once had a roommate whose brother was a cop. Whenever he wanted to go out drinking, he needed to leave his service weapon someplace safe, as it wasn’t allowed to go off-duty with him at the time. Everyone else was afraid of guns, except for my Mom. He’d tell her where it was and she’d babysit the gun until he came back. I grew up with a healthy respect for firearms.

I had a friend call to tell me about a date she’d been on. She freaked because the guy she was seeing was a cop and she had no idea that the entire time they were out together, he was carrying concealed. She went to hug him goodnight and jerked away the second she realized he was armed. I explained that he was off-duty, but her personal experience with guns was so negative that she never saw him again. She didn’t want to be around guns or have them in her life. I explained his side of things gently, and then I let it go because her feelings were based on trauma. That I understand. They were not coming from a place of ignorance or hatred, they were coming from a place of trauma and fear. She was never going to be able to get past that, and I told her that was okay.

No matter where you live in this world, guns can and will continue to get into the wrong hands. It’s a given, and it’s sad. However, those I know are pretty unexpected. I don’t expect a 65+ year old Grandmother to be walking around packing heat, but a great many do. To each their own. I have found that every male gun owner expects me to be dainty, dumb, and a Republican. I’m not dainty, I’m far from stupid, and I’m not a Republican, so I just let them talk themselves into a wall. All I hear is “Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.”

All that being said: School shootings are unacceptable. If you’re paying to send your child to a community college or a university, you’re sending your children off to public school, you have a very reasonable expectation for them to be safe and remain safe. If you’re going to ban guns from campus and not allow guards and security to be armed, then you’re 100% asking for trouble. There is always going to be some lunatic looking to martyr themselves onto the news. Healthy people don’t talk about Satan and they don’t shoot people based on their religion. But does that mean guns should be taken away from everyone? No.

The current President of the United States is using all of these tragedies as a way to further destroy this country. Our relations with some of our closest allies have been tarnished and/or strategically broken by this sorry excuse for a President. It is absolutely shameful.

Guns themselves do not kill people. It’s the person holding the gun who is responsible for any good or bad they commit. I could say that some writers should have all pens and all forms of technology taken from them due to horrible writing, but that would be dismissed because people don’t see words as ‘weapons’.

We’re not arguing for “knife control” when people are stabbed. We’re not arguing for a lot of things that involve our daily safety, but every other person has an opinion about “gun control”. Many of whom do not own guns and never have.

If you are an actor or actress with armed bodyguards, either for yourself or your family, then you have absolutely NO right to say that this country needs “gun control”. Especially when you make your money on television or in films that A) have violence in them and B) Use guns. If you’re from a country where guns are banned, take a good look at your military personnel. They are not going into battle unarmed. How do you think your freedoms are being protected? With stickers, candy, and handshakes?

Overall, this world is violent. I do not place blame on individuals, governments, or weapons for that. I place blame on how people think. It’s not normal to stampede over someone on Black Friday to save money on Christmas presents, yet it happens, people get hurt and some die, and yet, NO ONE says we need to better control those sales because there will always be a Black Friday. We care less and less about the human condition, but we’re all too ready to point fingers and spew uneducated words, or hate.

If you know nothing about firearms, educate yourself before you say something stupid. It’s crucial to know your rights, no matter where you live in this world. You don’t have to like what I’ve said, you don’t have to agree with it, but I think we can all safely agree that our rights shouldn’t be violated.

If you’re doing things lawfully, good for you, you’re responsible and educating yourself. Unfortunately, there will always be people who will illegally purchase a weapon of any kind, or make bombs in their homes, with the intent of harming others. Do you think terrorists care about your safety? Do you think they care about legally acquiring a weapon of any kind? They don’t. So before anyone tries lecturing me about my rights, they should do their fucking homework and know what they’re talking about first.

In all situations; know your rights.  

copyright © 2015 by Lisa Marino & Blackbird Serenity LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

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