Last Monday, Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue said that it's okay for guns to be carried into public areas of Atlanta's Hartfield Airport, the nation’s busiest. And he said that his own wife might want to pack a firearm for long walks between the parking lot and the terminal. “If my wife wanted to carry a gun, if she was going from the parking lot, walking from one of those far parking lots to pick up a grandchild or something like that, I think that’s a good idea, yes,” he said. A spokesman for Perdue said the governor has a gun permit but his wife does not.
Earlier this year, Perdue, a Republican, signed controversial new legislation that allows Georgians who have passed background checks to carry concealed weapons onto mass transit, as well as into state parks and restaurants that serve alcohol. On July 1, the day the new law took effect, Atlanta officials declared the airport a “gun-free zone” and said anyone carrying a gun there could be arrested and charged with a misdemeanor. Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin argued that allowing guns could endanger people because airports remain attractive targets for terrorism.
Perdue said he hasn’t asked his legal counsel for guidance and was simply offering his own “lay opinion” (someone ought to advise the Governor that it's not a good idea to offer your uninformed opinions on controversial matters - it really is okay to wait for the facts to come in). The law’s sponsor, a Republican former police officer, called Perdue’s comments “right on the money,” further noting, “People have a right to defend themselves. That is what this law is about.”
Why does the Governor's wife, who probably travels with a police escort anyway, need to pack a firearm to walk from the airport parking lot to the terminal to pick up her grandchild? I'll be the first to admit there's crime in Atlanta - horrific things seem to happen daily - but not at the airport of all places. Southside apartment buildings, shopping center parking lots, and late-night bars all have more than their share of robberies, murders and rapes. But at the airport, it's difficult to make a quick getaway and the place is swarming with cops, security and surveillance - it's not a good place to commit crimes. What's the Governor so afraid of?
On my last post on this matter, Greensmile commented, "Brave means going unarmed when the risk of harm is slight in order that you yourself do not add to the risk of others. We have ceased to be the 'home of the brave' and that is why, despite the shrill howling that dresses gun-clinging in the language of 'freedom', we will cease to be the 'land of the free'." I couldn't have said it better myself.
Also, as I've previously noted, only between 10 to 20 percent of our so-called "observations" are based on our visual sensation, and the rest is provided by our mind's perception. I worry about the perceptions of a frightened, gun-packing, Republican paranoid, scuttling between the airport parking lot and the terminal, frightened by his/her own shadow, cautiously watching every person of a different race. How might that person react to a sudden motion, however innocent, by some person with different cultural behaviors? Would he/she pull a gun on a black porter coming over to offer assistance? A smiling, bald-headed Buddhist bowing in gassho as they passed one another?
Someone's gonna get killed, and the blood will be on the Governor's legislation-signing hands.