I host educational events. The Kyle Rittenhouse trial and its outcome have me wondering: What if someone displays a gun at an event I am hosting? What is an appropriate response?

Openly carrying a gun in public is a provocative act; it puts others on the defensive, whether the carrier intends this or not. Seeing the gun, I would worry immediately about the safety of my guests and myself. Is this person going to shoot us?

I might ask “Why are you carrying a gun here?” The answer could be “I mean you no harm.” It could also be “I’m against what you are teaching, and I’m here to make you stop.”

As I imagine this situation, I doubt I would ask about intent. I would worry about provoking the person in doing so. Instead, I would likely call 911 and then try to put distance between this person and my guests. I have seen too many news reports on active shooters and those they kill to simply wait and see. I would assume the worst and act accordingly.

Humans are wired for fight or flight when threatened. The addition of guns will inevitably change the dynamics of even the most peaceful public gathering as fear takes hold. Consider the stampede when a gun discharged recently at the Atlanta airport.

I have a question for those who carry guns openly in public spaces. What response do you see as appropriate? Flight? Fight? An inquiry about your intent? I would really like to know.

Tom Meuser
Portland

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