Everyone Carries, Ten Years Later

by: Jack Ratliff

A story that envisions a bold future where the only victims of gun violence are those who choose not to carry a gun….

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“Good evening. I’m Barbra Sinclair and welcome to KCRB’s Special Report, Gun Control: Everyone Carries Act, Ten Years Later.”

Theme music blares.

“It has been ten years since the Everyone Carries Act was signed into law. After the assassination of the President of the United States, the bill which allowed every citizen over the age of eighteen to carry a sidearm, unanimously passed through both houses of Congress before being expeditiously signed into law ten years ago this week by President Joe Biden.

“The bill also made provisions for high school students to carry a sidearm at school as long as they participated in the Gun Safety, Use, and Maintenance program, otherwise known as GSUM, at their local high school.

“Since this law was enacted, violent crimes including armed robbery, assault, and domestic violence have dropped to all time lows, but no one can forget the bloodbath that ensued in the five years following the passage of the act. Although the country was technically at peace, the interval known as The Bloody Five still endures as the deadliest five year stretch in American history.

“Because of their slow response in passing laws which defined what constitutes a legal shooting, Congress has shouldered the blame for The Bloody Five. In a recent study funded by Congress, the Napoleon Complex, also known by many as “short-man syndrome,” was the primary contributor for the initial surge in carnage. The study claims that with a sidearm, all Americans are made equal regardless of sex, race, religion, or size.

“Tonight I’ll be interviewing three people from different walks of life, including a representative from Happy Clown Burgers and Fries, the head of a local high school’s Gun Safety, Use, and Maintenance Program, and the Governor of California, Joan Fitzgerald. We’ll be right back after this short break.”

Theme music blares.

“I‘m Barbra Sinclair and welcome back to KCRB’s Special Report, Gun Control: Everyone Carries Act, Ten Years Later. I’m on location at the Folsom Boulevard branch of the popular fast food chain, Happy Clown Burgers and Fries, with store manager Joe Boyd. Joe welcome and thank you for talking with us today.”

“Thank you. I’m glad to be here.”

“You started working for Happy Clown when you were a senior in high school, is that correct?

“Yes.”

“Was the Everyone Carries Act in effect when you started?”

“No, it was about six months later.”

“And it was shortly thereafter when you were wounded and two co-workers were killed by a disgruntled customer?”

“Well, not exactly.”

“Can you tell us what happened?”

“Well, I was working the register and a customer from the drive-thru came into the store and demanded to see the manager. Before the manager got to the counter, the customer just started yelling at her because his order was wrong.”

“So the customer had gone through the drive-thru, and there was a discrepancy with his order and he came into the store to complain?”

“Right, but the customer was yelling really loud and the manager kept apologizing, and then the customer demanded a refund. The manager said all she could do was remake the order and that’s when the customer drew his gun and shot her in the chest and killed her.”

“And how did you get wounded?”

“Well, all the other customers pulled out their guns and started shooting, and that’s when the disgruntled customer was killed and I got hit in the shoulder. Another co-worker was wounded and another one was killed from all the gunfire.”

“Did you draw your gun?”

“No, I didn’t carry a gun at the time because I really didn’t understand what was happening with the new law.”

“But I see you carry a gun now.”

“Absolutely.”

“Did anyone ever apologize for shooting you or your co-workers?”

“No, never.”

“You came back to work for Happy Clown after you recovered from your wounds, and obviously you’ve chosen to make Happy Clown your career, but do you feel safe working here?”

“Oh absolutely. As you can see, Happy Clown has put up bullet proof glass in front of the cash registers just like at a bank, and we have a sliding drawer for passing food and money at the drive-thru. And look up there at the top of the glass by the ceiling, we have vents so customers in the dining area can still smell the burgers and fries cooking.”

“Have you been involved in any other shooting incidents since you were wounded?”

“Yeah, I defended myself from an employee who reached for his gun after I cut his hours. And another time at the grocery store the lady in line in front of me thought her total was too high and drew on the checker. I was able to pull my gun and get a shot off first.”

“So you have two justified kills to your credit. One in self-defense, and one in defense of a human life?”

“That’s correct.”

“Have you attended any gun training courses?”

“No, I have a simulation game for my PS7 and play almost everyday.”

“Joe Boyd, manager of Happy Clown Burgers and Fries in Midtown Sacramento, thank you for being with us today.”

“Thank you.”

“We’ll be right back with Gilbert Martinez, the gun safety teacher at Rosemont High School and then, Governor Joan Fitzgerald.”

Theme music blares.

“Welcome back to KCRB’s Special Report, Gun Control: Everyone Carries Act, Ten Years Later. I’m Barbra Sinclair and I’m here on the shooting range at Rosemont High School with Gilbert Martinez, the head of Rosemont’s GSUM program. Thank you for letting us come out to your range. I have to admit, I’m very impressed with what I see here.”

“Thank you Barbra, as you can see, we are far enough away from the instructional buildings and several feet below the roadway so as not to endanger students and the public.”

“Yes, this must have been quite an expense to taxpayers.”

“Actually Joan, Rosemont campus was built on an old quarry and the district had been putting off filling in this area because of budgetary concerns. When Congress mandated that high schools must implement a firearm safety program, we crunched the numbers and found that we could build a model facility for firearm safety for half the cost of filling in the pit.”

“How long have you been a teacher?”

“I’ve been teaching for almost twenty years now.”

“So you were in front of a class during The Bloody Five?”

“Yes, I was teaching History here at Rosemont.”

“Can you tell us a little about how the range works?”

“Absolutely. Firearm training courses are mandatory for all students who wish to carry a firearm on or off campus. The courses start freshman year with GSUM and continue until graduation. The first thing students learn is basic firearm safety. Once the students have a solid understanding of how to handle a gun, we like to get them out here to the range. Becoming a proficient marksman is just like anything else, it takes practice, so we need to get the students sending rounds down range as soon as possible. And then it’s back inside to teach our students how to clean and maintain their weapon so that’s it’s always in good working order. But what’s not mentioned in the course title is that the curriculum also includes the fundamentals of what exactly a justified shooting entails.”

“Recently, one of your varsity baseball players was shot and killed. Although the player never reached for his sidearm or physically attempted to harm the shooter, the shooting was deemed justified because of the shooter adhered to the law as currently composed, which has caused some backlash from the player’s family.”

“Yes, that’s right.”

“Can you tell us what happened?”

“Well, the shooter was a sophomore with physical disabilities.”

“What kind of disabilities?”

“I can’t give the students name or disclose her exact medical condition.”

“Sure, we understand that you can’t release the names of minors, but I understand that the young man who was shot was a senior and he had just accepted a baseball scholarship to LSU.”

“That’s correct Barbra. He had won several Golden Glove awards and held just about every hitting record in the state.”

“What led up to the shooting?”

“Well, the ballplayer had been harassing the girl about her disability…”

“Harassing her in what way?”

“He was making offensive remarks about her condition. On one occasion, it became so bad that she started crying and one of my fellow teachers became involved and brought the incident to the attention of the administration.”

“Once the school was aware of the harassment, did they take any action?”

“Of course. The ballplayer was counseled and made aware that his actions were inappropriate, and his parents were notified.”

“But that didn’t resolve the issue?”

“No. The ballplayer continued to harass the girl.”

“Did she bring it to the attention of the school?”

“Yes. After the second incident, the ballplayer was given sensitivity training.”

“What did the sensitivity training include?”

“It was thirty minutes of instructional video, and of course, his parents were notified, again. After a third incident occurred, he was suspended from playing baseball for half a game.”

“And the school documented all three incidents?”

“Absolutely. But when the girl began having even more difficulty walking, she came to school in a wheelchair and the ballplayer began to haze her verbally. When he used his foot to prevent her from proceeding to class, she drew her handgun from her shoulder holster and fatally shot the ballplayer.

“Because of the documentation of all three incidents, the shooting was deemed justified because the girl was protecting her psychological well being.

“KCRB has obtained court documents filed by the attorney representing the parents of the ballplayer, alleging that the girl used excessive force because she emptied her entire clip into the young man.”

“Yes, but since the girl was using a small caliber weapon, and the ballplayer was large and heavily muscled, he didn’t go down immediately. So, as she was taught, she continued to fire until her clip was empty.”

“Were any bystanders hurt?”

“No. All of her rounds hit the ballplayer in areas capable of causing fatal wounds.”

“And you attribute her accuracy to the firearms training course here at Rosemont?”

“Absolutely Barbra. Since the training course was implemented, injuries to bystanders have dropped by seventy-eight percent and injuries caused by the accidental discharge of firearms have dropped by ninety-two percent.”

“Those are incredible statistics. I hope you are sharing your success with other schools?”

“Of course. We are assisting schools statewide in improving their firearm safety programs.”

“What about students who exercise their right not to carry?”

“Students who choose to exercise their right not to carry a firearm tend to become the targets of bullies and begin to carry within the first few weeks of school. So at this point in the semester, one hundred percent of the student body, as well as the faculty, are carrying a sidearm.”

“Thank you Mr. Martinez.”

“Thank you.”

“We’ll be right back with Governor Joan Fitzgerald.”

Theme music blares.

“I’m Barbra Sinclair, and welcome back to KCRB’s Special Report, Gun Control: Everyone Carries Act, Ten Years Later. I’m here in the Governor’s office, sitting with Governor Joan Fitzgerald. Welcome Governor, and thank you for taking the time from your busy schedule to talk to us.”

“Thank you, I’m glad to be here and have this opportunity to talk to your viewers about gun safety and to let everyone know about some of the upcoming events sponsored by the state to help make the Everyone Carries Act more effective.”

“Before we get into those programs, I’d like to talk about your history with the Everyone Carries Act. When the law first passed, you were a state senator. You opposed the law and vigorously petitioned Californian’s to exercise their right not to carry.”

“Yes, that’s correct. The Everyone Carries Act has drastically reduced violent crime, not only here in California, but nationwide. But the number of bystanders hit during justified shootings and the number of deaths caused by the accidental discharge of firearms remains alarmingly high. Every study to date shows that firearm-training programs dramatically reduce the number of injuries to bystanders during shootings and almost completely eliminates accidental discharges. I believe government at the federal, state, and local levels should be one hundred percent involved in making gun safety programs available to everyone who carries with a minimal out of pocket expense for participants in the programs.”

“Was there a single incident that inspired you to start carrying a sidearm?”

“No, it wasn’t because of any single incident. If you recall, during The Bloody Five politicians were being shot almost daily, and political events were turning into running gun battles in the streets.”

“And you were one of the few politicians who continued to campaign out in the open.”

“That’s right. You can’t be in touch with the people if you’re hiding behind bulletproof glass. But at the same time, I was getting tired of being the victim. Even with a large security force, people were still taking shots at me. Carrying a sidearm and shooting back is what finally brought down the number of shootings at my public speaking events.”

“Since you have started carrying, you have been credited with seven justified shootings that resulted in death, but you are also credited with the deaths of eleven bystanders.”

“Yes, and I have apologized to the families of each. But, I would also like to point out that since I began taking firearm safety courses, the number of bystanders hit at each of my shootings has decreased dramatically and in the last four shootings, no bystanders were hit by me. In addition, all the rounds that I fired struck the intended target in an area that caused fatal wounds, so I firmly believe in firearm safety because through personal experience, I know gun safety programs work.”

“And you’ll be taking that message on the road?”

“That’s right. For the rest of my term, I’ll be traveling up and down that state promoting Shooting Days with the Governor, where I’ll be on the range shooting with average citizens. We’ll have certified instructors on hand to give shooting tips so everyone can learn to shoot and qualify at the advanced levels. Recently, I became a certified gun safety instructor and I’ll be teaching gun safety classes as well. At all the events, there will be gunsmiths on hand to answer maintenance questions and to adjust your gun sights for free. We’ll also be giving away free ammunition. In addition to free ammo at events that I attend, the state will be handing out free ammunition at similar local community sponsored events such as Shooting Day with the Mayor.”

“Free ammo, isn’t that kind of a throwback to the days of buffalo hunting on the Great Plains?”

“Oh no, I’m sorry….let me clarify that. The free ammo is for use at the range on the day of the event only. It’s so everyone can come down to practice and qualify, including low income families.”

“So you can’t just show up, grab some free ammunition and leave?”

“No, it has to be used on the range that day.”

“Wow, sounds like great fun.”

“Absolutely, it’s more than just training. We’ll have shooting activities for adults and children.”

“We have time for one last question. There has been an ongoing debate on legalizing the open carry of rifles and shotguns. What is your stance on this issue?”

“I am opposed to the open carry of rifles or shotguns because they are an offensive weapon, not a defensive weapon, and shotguns inflict far too much collateral damage.”

“Thank you for your time Governor. I’m Barbra Sinclair and I’ll be right back with a few final words after these messages.”

Theme music blares.

“Welcome back to KCRB’s Special Report, Gun Control: Everyone Carries Act, Ten Years Later, I’m Barbra Sinclair. In the ten years since the Everyone Carries Act became law, the debate over arming all citizens with a sidearm has ended and the issue has now become how to carry safely. What this KCRB report makes clear, is the only real victims are those who choose not to carry. Thank you for watching KCRB’s special report, Gun Control: Everyone Carries Act, Ten Years Later, I’m Barbra Sinclair.”

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