August 26, 2016 10:37:45 AM
I have lots of stickers on the front door of my office. Probably too many. I have the typical "We're Open" sign that reverses to "We'll be back at" with a clock face and moving clock hands so we can approximate our return from wherever.
I have the signs of our membership in the Greater Starkville Development Partnership. I have the membership and support of the Volunteer Starkville organization. I have the Better Business Bureau affiliation twice: Don't ask me why, but one of them is coming down.
I also have the "We don't discriminate: If you're buying, We're selling" decal. No Smoking and of course office hours and contact names and numbers.
What I don't have is a "No Guns on Premises" sign. I have been to several locations around town displaying the "No Guns on the Premises" decals. I didn't expect to have one and didn't expect to feel the need to post one.
I think the time has come.
As I was watching the news this week, I saw the shooting at the Little Red Barn Steakhouse restaurant in San Antonio, Texas. Apparently a disgruntled customer whose order hadn't been to his satisfaction began beating up on the waiter. The waiter broke away and returned with a gun. He fired it in the air inside the restaurant. No one was hurt but the outcome could have been so very different.
The story went on to say that while the restaurant had a policy of no guns on the premises, they didn't have it posted. The restaurant spokesperson indicated they were going to remedy that oversight immediately.
I really hadn't considered the implications of not having that posted on our business door. I never thought about needing to address the matter. Who would think that there would be a reason to bring your firearm into a property management office; answer: There isn't a good reason, and you aren't welcome in my office if you are packing heat. The exception to that is of course law enforcement personnel.
This is not about finding fault in the Second Amendment; this is its application to our every day existence. I have a gun permit and learned about shotguns before I hit my teens by shooting skeet at the Starkville Gun Club out on 16th Section Road.
My everyday existence along with most of us in Starkville doesn't include hunting for food or having to be ready to kill varmints that might be eating my crops or killing my livestock. Ninety-five percent of our population doesn't find themselves with that dilemma either.
So what are we doing with this obsession for open carry? Are we feeling so impotent that the only way to obtain a sense of empowerment is to have a gun at the ready? From whom are we protecting ourselves?
Who is the "them" that warrants a constant presence of a gun on your hip? Are we talking ISIS or your local gangster? Starkville's statistics for violence haven't spiked up, in fact, they have declined over the past four years. There is no burgeoning crime wave in our town.
Let's bottom line this: If you need to bring your gun into my office to rent an apartment or report a maintenance problem then you need to go find somewhere else to live. If you can't leave your weapon behind long enough to pay the rent, then I am worried about the paranoia you bring to the neighborhood.
I recently had a parent of a tenant who was attempting to be aggressive with the office staff. If he had come into the office with that attitude and a gun, a 911 call would have preceded my hello. My default is to the police not to the automatic in my purse or my car.
I have never felt threatened at any common locations such as Walmart or downtown in Starkville. I maintain situational awareness, but that doesn't translate into needing to arm myself for a foray to The Biscuit Lady's or Newk's.
My new sticker is on the way.
For those who want to take issue with this policy come on by the office, just leave the Glock in the truck and we can debate like civilized adults.