I’m A Marine. Guns Make Me Nervous.
A veteran shares what gives him pause in owning a weapon even after experiencing the D.C. riots
On May 31, 2020, rioters ransacked our apartment complex the night DC burned. I woke up at 2 a.m. and watched from the 8th-floor balcony as protesters fought with police and destroyed the stores on our block. The mob had set a church near the White House ablaze. They worked their way through the city and looters smashed the windows of the shops on the main floor of our buildings, as well as the luxury stores across the street.
A group of thieves broke into the Boss store and dashed out with arms full of suits, jeans, and shoes. The cops tackled the thieves and made them drop their booty next to the sewer as they made their escape. Cops threw flash-bangs. Protesters threw M-80s back. The two sides squared off at the corner of 10th and H, while riot squads pushed the crowds back with plastic shields.
My one-month-old slept in the bassinet next to our bed and my three-year-old daughter slept in her room through the whole incident, but I was wired. The commotion felt like war, and I was woefully unprepared. I couldn’t get my family out of the city. It felt like Iraq and Afghanistan again.
I asked myself, “Should I go downstairs?”
What would I do? What could I do?
I wasn’t in a position to defend the apartment building, nor did I want to. Not my building, not my problem. I also wasn’t sure how (or who) I could help. I had no illusions of being a lone hero coming to the aid of police or protester. So I scanned the house sheepishly for something that resembled a weapon.
I remembered I had a karambit knife hidden in our bookshelf. A karambit is a curved blade with finger notches and a loop for your thumb or pinky, depending on which way you wielded it. I scooped the blade up and scanned out the windows while pacing back and forth. The protesters didn’t breach our lobby, nor would they have been able to get up the elevator, but I had flipped into sentry mode and our two-bedroom was now my watch…