Should I Carry a Gun Too, for Protection?

Commentary, Nancy Ybarra

I’ve lived in Richmond for as long as I can remember. Central is the hood I grew up in. I attended Richmond High School, but then I went off to finish at Samuel L. Gompers High School. Living in central my whole life, I realized that it isn’t the safest place to live. There are drugs on the street, people using those drugs, and violence. But central still has a special place in my heart. It’s where I ran and played; it’s where I met my childhood friends, who I still have today.

Growing up, hustlers on the block looked out for me and made sure I was never messed with. They protected me as they watched me grow. They also have a lot of respect for my mom because when one of the hustlers on the block got shot, she saved his life. She heard someone yelling for help and she opened the door, only to see him lying on the concrete floor, right next to our fence. She called my oldest brother to help her take him in the house, and soon after she called 911. Police told her that he was shot six times, but was going to survive. Since then, they were always making sure we were okay.

Bust last year all that changed. I was walking on the1500 block of Chanslor Ave, on my way home from seeing a friend, at around 9pm. It was dark and I was on foot because I don’t have a car.

Just before hitting the corner on 15th Street and Chanslor, three young men approached me, and pushed me against the fence. They looked to be between the ages of 16 and 21. One of them held a gun to my head and said, “Give me everything you got,” while the other two searched my pockets. I told them I didn’t have much. I wasn’t carrying my wallet that day because I had forgotten it at home, and all I had was my phone and my I.D.

At that point I was just hoping to keep my life. My body went numb, and I was still. At that moment I was just trying to remain calm. I was more helpless than scared, because I knew I couldn’t fight back against a gun. After they did what they felt like they needed to do, they took off running. I was in disbelief because for the very first time, I had been robbed on the streets.

I continued walking home and when I got there I didn’t call the police, although I felt like I should’ve. I didn’t call the police because of the simple fact that the thieves had my I.D. and I wasn’t going to risk anything, so I just decided to leave it alone.

Now I constantly have to look over my shoulder. I don’t feel as safe as I did before the incident. I try not to walk at night anymore. Instead, I get on the bus.

Being robbed at gunpoint has changed me. It has me thinking that maybe I should carry a gun too, for protection. It’s not something I want to do but I feel like it’s something I should do, for self-defense. I don’t want to feel vulnerable ever again. It’s a tragedy that things like that happen. I wish we had jobs and programs for the youth. Then maybe incidents like this wouldn’t occur.

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2 thoughts on “Should I Carry a Gun Too, for Protection?

  1. First off what is a hustler and why would a criminal be available to protect you 24/7 as you believed? How did the three youths get close to you without your knowledge? You probably now realize that you need to develop situational awareness so that you can avoid these kind of situations in the future.
    You also have to ask yourself what good would a gun have done you in the incident you describe? Would you draw a gun with one already pointed at your head? I do not think so and therefore a gun would not have changed things. Not calling the police was also the wrong thing to do. Now they can steal your identity and you are not on record as having had your ID stolen. The fact that you are afraid to cal the police makes you the perfect victim and you need to change that. I am not chastizing you but rather forcing you to answer questions that should be asked by you.

    I carry a gun as do millions other. Unfortunately the majority of them do not get proper training and feel that merely carrying one makes them safer. I think you found out in your recent incident that even if you had a gun there was nothing you could do. Most attacks come suddenly and unexpectedly and very few people are willing to commit the time an energy to learn proper self defense with a gun. Somehow they think shooting their guns once or twice a year at paper targets that do not shoot back prepares them for the street. As someone who was brought up in public housing I learned that the best way to avoid being a victim of crime is to move to an area with a low crime rate if you can. I did and made lots of new friends in the process.

  2. You both have very good points. My area isnt the safest at times and when I was 16 my friend and I were victims of an assault. 2 Vs 18 to be exact. Since then I trust no groups and have been paranoid. It has made me more aware of my surroundings. I have been in many confrontations and almost near gunpoint 2wice. In a situation such as that having a gun does not make you any stronger. Vinny has good points but be smart about things. The world is and was always a dangerous place. I am now 26 and would still be cautious when coming home at 11pm or 1am. Teenagers or adults, no one is invincible. If you want to carry a gun then know how to use one. Having a firearm does not ensure victory.
    Never carry a weapon without the intent to use it. I carry pocket knives and dusters and it makes me feel more secure. Hell carry pepper spray. But just know it is not the weapon it is the situation. Multiple opponents are always a losing situation for even the most skilled fighters. I practice martial arts for years and still find it difficult to fight multiple opponents at once. Always run and analyze your escape. Over all be careful.

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