Monday, February 18, 2013
I hesitated to write this because of the volatile atmosphere surrounding any mention of guns in our society. This is not political, so please do not respond with comments that are. It’s important to preserve the supportive, non confrontational atmosphere of SP. I only want to describe what happened and my thoughts as I ran.
It’s difficult to run any distance on my country road. There are no shoulders or sidewalks. The lanes are narrow and traffic often exceeds the speed limit. I keep close to home and continually repeat distances of 1/4, 1/2 or occasionally even 1 mile.
On Saturday I planned a long run. As I started up the road I heard the unmistakable sound of gunfire. There are a lot of guns in our area. I’m used to hunters and hearing shots in the distance, but this isn’t hunting season and this sounded close. This was also constant.
I went back home to describe the situation to my husband who knows more about guns than I do. He used to hunt with his father when he was young. DH said that someone was probably doing target practice and he described how this can be done safely.
As I resumed my run, the shots continued. I wondered if the shooters had really set up the safe range DH described. How would I know? I certainly wasn’t going to check it out. I thought about stray bullets and the distance even I know they can travel. What if these people weren’t being careful? I don’t know everyone on my road, but I have no reason to believe they are not good people. Yet, what if they were drinking and their judgment was impaired?
As I continued my run in tense ¼ mile sections, I thought about people who live in high crime (usually low income) areas where gunfire is a way of life and usually indicates malicious intent. Is it any wonder that they don’t just “get out and walk” or do some other form of outdoor exercise as they are often advised to do to improve their health? Their limited access to healthy food has been well documented. Gym memberships and home exercise equipment probably isn’t in the budget either. Obesity rates are highest in the lowest income areas. Education can help, but environment is difficult to overcome.
Saturday’s experience finally affected me enough that I gave up and drove to the gym. I can do that because I have options. Not everybody does.