January 22, 2015: Unexpected Reaction

I don’t know if it’s a by-product of age, or being at peace with Christ, but it is unusual for me to have feelings of panic and anxiety.   I just realize that there are few things that I have total control over in this life.  That’s why this incident stuck in my mind. 

This past weekend I was in line at a grocery store switching my awareness back and forth between the two entrances when my Spider Sense went off.   I turned around to see a diminutive person in a light tan colored Niqab.  Or maybe it was a burka, I’m not an expert on Middle-Eastern fashion.  In any case the face was covered, OK everything was covered and I’m getting a sense of anxiety that is not provoked by baggy panted young men in athletic shirts. 

I’ve got nothing to identify this person other than being short and s/he has a toddler in tow.  As I turn to scan the rest of the store all these thoughts race through my head. 

I thought the Angel of Death would be taller.

My concealed carry is useless against a suicide vest.

I’m at ground zero and there won’t be many parts to identify my body.

I love my wife and kids. 

Jesus I pray to you now and at the hour of my death.

I can bolt and run but my mom need this laundry detergent.

Be rational, not emotional.

I’ve completed a 360 and wasn’t alarmed by anyone else.  The wo/man starts unloading their basket.  S/he says something to the cashier as s/he is waving one of the bundles of flowers and walks away with the toddler in tow.

I scan the items s/he left on the conveyer belt wishing I had x-ray vision.  Is that a box of chocolate Entenmann’s doughnuts or a disguised bomb?  Is that really a bundle of flowers 3 for $12?  Is that a bag of chips or a biological hazard?

I have not felt this level of apprehension since I went under the knife to remove skin cancer.  I had a better chance of identifying the surgical team than this person in line at a grocery store. 

I was startled on several levels.  First that someone got behind me without me being aware.  Second that I had such a visceral reaction to the way this person presented themselves.  Third that someone chooses to retain such an obvious distain for assimilation to American norms.  It was not my feeling for American mores that disturbed me, it was a security issue.

I guess this is the kind of irrational fear that anti-gun people feel when they think they have “made” a concealed carry person.  The gun being carried is not going to make a concealed carry holder go berserk any more than the Niqab was going to make this person run around the store mixing bleach and chlorine.  Unless of course, s/he was already pre-disposed to do so and was “casing the store” or making a dry run.

A little research on the internet revealed that the amount of cover worn is a cultural and fashion statement, not a strictly religious one.  So I’m wondering if this type of garb is allowed in a bank when hats, and sunglasses (essentials in Florida) have to be removed upon entering the lobby.  Don’t conceal carry in a bank either, which is why I use the drive-through now. 

While I expect my fearful reaction to seeing a person in a Niqab or Burka will subside as I encounter more of them and don’t get blown up, I can’t expect the same from gun haters.  The people that fear guns being carried by Citizens shouldn’t be able to tell which one of every dozen or so people they encounter in Florida is carrying.

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