So there I was at Williams-Sonoma, looking at copper serving trays marked with warnings not to actually use them for serving while my girlfriend shopped for magic sponges and $15/lb candy. Suddenly, out of nowhere, a fat man in a bright chartreuse shirt barged in between us to look at something on a shelf – not very politely, I might add. I immediately noticed that 1) the back of his shirt read “!WARNING! I SHOT THE LAST TAILGATER!” and 2) he was open carrying a Glock 19/23 in a Safariland duty holster. I took a photo, but he was moving, so the image didn’t capture his shirt and his gun at the same time.
I followed him over to the customer service island where he asked an employee for another employee that he had spoken to previously, describing her in oddly specific detail (as this was happening, I was moving behind a very impressive kitchen knife display to a point about three yards behind him, and not once did he notice that I was following him so closely). When informed that she wasn’t there and that any employee could assist him, he said in an agitated tone, “oh, I know. I have a message for her.”
As he said this rather mysterious phrase, his hand dropped to his Glock with his thumb ready to disengage the holster’s retention, right as I took a photo.
If he said anything else, I didn’t notice, because I was focused on his right thumb. But then his hand came off the gun, and I stopped thinking, “I’ll need to aim at his lower back so there’s less chance of hitting any of the Williams-Sonoma employees on the other side of the counter.” I did not draw or move to draw my pistol.
Thankfully, his bizarre behavior ended as soon as it started. He poured himself a cup of water from the complimentary Williams Sonoma water pitcher – sadly, they didn’t have any complimentary Williams-Sonoma candy out that day – and walked out of the store, having a conversation on what I hope was a wired headset, otherwise he was just talking to himself.
Was there a perfectly innocent meaning to all of this? Maybe. But he didn’t know the employee’s name, so it’s not like he was her adorably awkward uncle and just wanted to show her his new gun while he was at work. The other employees were left talking about how that guy was crazy, but they knew there were sane gun owners out there. Frankly, I was impressed with how nonchalant they were – but I don’t think they saw him put his hand on the pistol. They weren’t interested in calling mall security, but I later contacted local law enforcement.
This is why we can’t have nice things. This is why CCW reciprocity is a hard sell. This is why gun people get a bad reputation. And some people shouldn’t own guns.