There were a lot of guns in that El Paso, TX, mall, and even more in cars. Yet no heroes were rushing to their cars and back into the mall.
Being raised in Texas, we start shooting in elementary school, target practice is weekend recreation, we don’t miss gun shows. I reiterate: There were a bunch of guns in that mall. But that won’t be in the news. Most people (excluding military) who concealed carry are fearful. They have never had to defend themselves as an adult. There are many adults with childhood trauma toting guns, but unhealed trauma needs healing, not arms. The rest are afraid of who they might not be when facing fear, which is completely normal to not know, so they pretend to be the gun-toting hero.
It is strictly a game of pretend. A low percentage of humans have the instinct to manage a gun in that scene. I know many Texas gun-toters in El Paso learned they don’t have that instinct—that they are not heroes just because they have a gun. The rest of the world may not know, but they do, their family does, and their children do.
It will be the children who have witnessed this delusion who will change it. They know their parents aren’t heroes. They don’t want parents that are heroes. They want parents that are alive. They want to be alive.
If I am ever labeled a hero, I want it to be by my grandchildren and great-grandchildren as they are typing that book report for school about mass shootings that used to happen, and they attach my letters to the editors and Congress about new gun-control legislation. I want them to know that there isn’t just that one kind of brave hero, but also the hero that has wisdom, the hero that has clarity, the hero that has foresight, the hero that has perseverance and the hero that can effect change for the future rather than one instance. There are a lot of different kinds of heroes we could be. The hyperfocus on the gun-toting hero is keeping us from becoming the ones needed today.