I just read an article about a law enforcement officer who was asked to leave an Outback Steakhouse in Cleveland, Tennessee because he was in uniform and carrying his weapon. Outback, as some other national establishments, prohibits their patrons from entering their premises with firearms, apparently including law enforcement officers on duty. Digging deeper into this story, it seems that on this particular occasion, there had been another customer dining at the Outback who became unhinged and feared for her life when the officer walked by her with his holstered weapon because 'police are shooting people.' Even after expelling the officer from their establishment, this customer demanded to be escorted to her vehicle for fear of being shot, by the hungry officer, I presume.
Of course, in the aftermath, Outback has publicly made a confession that perhaps it was a bad judgment call on their end and extended to the officer a peace offering of a gift card to 'make things right.' I'm just guessing he still needs to leave his gun at home before taking them up on their offer.
It is not my intent to bash Outback Steakhouse, but rather to shine a light on what kind of people are out there. The customer who over-reacted at the sight of him obviously is living in a superficial bubble, oblivious to the real world surrounding her. I've mentioned before that I worked inside a prison for twenty-three years. I am not one of those living in a bubble. Cops carry guns for good reason...namely, there are very bad people out there on the street. Most of you who think you're in touch with the real world have no clue how bad some of these people are. Two weeks before my retirement date, I had a man stand before me in the middle of a prison yard and say,
"I should kill you where you stand."
He meant it. He didn't have a gun and neither did I so we both just shrugged it off and went on our way, but had he been in that Outback Steakhouse, he might have said the same thing to that customer who fears police officers who carry guns. There are worse people than that guy out there. They don't tell you they want to kill you...they just do it. From the heights of a hotel in Vegas, or standing at the door of a church in rural Texas, they kill people.
The church I attend is assembling a 'safety team' and sending them to training just in case there ever comes a time these men are needed to thwart some individual who walks in with a gun and starts killing innocent men, women, and children. This is the world we live in and we can't allow our society to get the point where we force those who are willing to lay their lives on the line to protect us to leave whenever some 'bubblehead' gets twisted at the sight of a gun on the hip of a police officer.
There are a lot of dangerous people out there and not all of them want to kill us. If enough of the 'bubbleheads' like that customer at the Outback join together, the safety of our country is in jeopardy. We cannot just 'wish something away.' We cannot spend our lives staring into our smartphones and pretending there is not evil in the world. The rest of us 'normal' people do not have to take on the responsibility of appeasing the 'bubbleheads.' Had I been the manager of that Outback Steakhouse who found himself confronted by a customer who has problems with police officers, my response would have been,
"May I get you a 'to-go' box, ma'am?"
As I mentioned, there are more than a few of what I consider dangerous people walking around amongst us. For example, the chick who flushed a live hampster down the toilet on an airliner because she wasn't allowed to bring it on board. Flushing a live hampster down a toilet is a red flag in itself, but as she claimed, having the need for a hamster as a 'support animal' is a really big red flag for me. If someone cannot get through their day without a hampster clinging to their shirt, they have issues. They definitely belong in the 'bubblehead' category. If I were flying, I'd rather sit next to a cop with a gun than some chick pining away for a hampster she just flushed down the toilet. I wonder which situation the woman from Outback would prefer.
We sit, on a nightly basis, and watch TV shows about bad people. They usually shoot a cop or two before the entire force shows up and kills them. But that's just make-belief, it's pretend...fiction, right? Eventually we turn off the TV and pick up our smartphones and head off to bed where we sleep soundly with not a fear in the world because just outside our window we know there are police officers patrolling our street, their guns strapped to their hips, protecting us from all those make-believe 'bad guys' who don't really exist...not in the bubble we live in. You know, that world inside our smartphones? Maybe we're all bubbleheads...