Detained For Questioning
Anyone care to guess why?
While meandering through Pioneer Courthouse Square I noticed a security guard having a conversation on his radio. He looked serious and after spotting my camera I was approached. Pointing to a certain man carrying a backpack he asked; “Will you take some pictures of that man?” Without hesitating I began photographing the man from a distance but I asked the security guard the reason for his unusual request, also. “Because he has a gun and we might need pictures for evidence”, he replied. I was instantly gripped with an uneasy feeling of what have I gotten myself into. All I could think of were the tragic events of the past several weeks. My heart was off to the races.
The man began roaming the streets and so the security guard and I followed. He seemed perfectly harmless and at ease while taking pictures of the surroundings with his cell phone. He wasn’t trying to hide anything as the gun was not concealed but out in the open. By the time we had gone one full city block, though, the man was cautiously swarmed by Portland’s finest. There was no attempt to run and no arguing or shouting. He was briefly handcuffed as they searched his backpack and viewed the material on his cell phone. When the questioning process was complete the cuffs were removed. Obviously he had a legal permit and posed no public threat.
Less than 6 months ago no one would have noticed he was packing heat. Now everyone freaks out over the very utterance of the word “gun”. In a perfect world sales of firearms would be non-existent and the general public would be freed from the task of “staying vigilant” when going shopping or to a movie theater. Unfortunately our world is far from perfect so I understand why he was detained for questioning. What if the threat was real? The Police were merely doing their job to serve and protect. On the other hand I don’t blame the man for carrying a weapon for protection, either. Even I considered it and I’ve never owned a gun my entire life. After all, none of us really know when or where the next Sandy Hook Elementary or Clackamas Town Center will occur in our imperfect world, do we?
Btw, I’m not going to purchase a gun. Yes, the Clackamas Town Center shooting had my mind indulging in a paranoid-induced feeding frenzy of a plateful of “what-ifs”. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gone shopping at that particular mall. But after much soul searching I’ve come to one conclusion: I’d rather take my chances with the what-ifs than live my life in fear.