The Best Version of “I stand behind you in line at the store..” Facebook copypasta

In the wake of the Orlando shooting in June 2016, a popular copy-paste narrative (a ‘copypasta’) caught on as a way for gun owners to assert themselves, but I rewrote my own version as a response to it.

Original:


I stand behind you in line at the store with a smile on my face…and a gun under my shirt and you are none the wiser, yet you are safer for having me next to you. I won’t shoot you. My gun won’t pull it’s own trigger. It is securely holstered with the trigger covered. It can’t just go off. However, rest assured that if a lunatic walks into the grocery store and pulls out a rifle, I will draw my pistol and protect myself and my family and therefore protect you and your family. I may get shot before I can pull the trigger…but, I won’t die in a helpless blubbering heap on the floor begging for my life or my child’s life. No, if I die it will be in a pile of spent shell casings. I won’t be that victim. I choose not to be. As for you, I don’t ask you to carry a gun. If you are not comfortable, then please don’t. But I would like to keep my right to choose to not be a helpless victim. There is evil in the world and if evil has a gun, I want one too.

My version:

I stand behind you in line at the store with a smile on my face… I can see the outline of the gun under your shirt, and you are none the wiser, yet you believe that I am safer for having you next to me. You probably won’t shoot me, unless the same magical thinking that leads you to believe that I’m safer by your presence also magically leads you to mistake me for the shooter.

Your gun won’t pull it’s own trigger. It is securely holstered with the trigger covered. It can’t just go off. However, the assurance you offer that if a lunatic walks into the grocery store and pulls out a rifle (or whatever) that you’ll will draw your pistol and protect yourself and your family and “therefore protect me and my family” isn’t a vote of confidence in your ability to wield it, especially since even the outlaws do this.

You may get shot before you can pull the trigger to respond; and you say you won’t die in a helpless blubbering heap on the floor begging for your life or your child’s life, but I won’t either, because this imaginary scene of you dying some great American hero only happens in your head.

Rest assured, your wildly implausible death, if it ever does despite being statistically guaranteed to never happen in your entire life, will be in a “pile” (casings do not land in piles, esp from a waved-around handgun) of at least one spent shell casing.

You won’t be that victim, because that victimhood is false. That victimhood, rather, is victory.

You choose to be Rambo for a situation that simply does not occur, and believe yourself to be a Rambo defending everyone else as if you were some kind of hero. But, you are not my hero.

You will believe it until your dying breath, but really, you live in a little world of your own invention, that takes as much consideration of the reality of others as much as the intruder did.

As for me, you don’t ask me to carry a gun, and couldn’t convince me that I should anyway. If I am not comfortable, then I won’t — but it won’t be just because I’m not comfortable.

I believe doing so is wrong. It is your right to be wrong, at your leisure, sure. You say you would like to keep your right to choose to not be a helpless victim. There is evil in the world and if evil has a gun, you want to be just as evil as it is.

I will not be a blubbering heap, either. I will be rest assured, in my dying breath, if, for some bizarre reason this wildly implausible event were to ever occur, that I neither girded myself with, nor acted upon, the identical variable by which the intruder was designated evil. There will be no trial for me, similar to the amount of trial you offered the intruder.

My death will be entirely innocent, and I won’t be subject to national ridicule, obscene legal fees, life-crushing lawsuit awards against me, nor insurmountable loss of personal relationships for:

(a) adding to the casualties count by hitting innocent bystanders by mistaken presumption to be the shooter;

(b) being confused by security (or by other big shots like yourself) for being the shooter by firing openly, because knowledge that the shooter didn’t have an accomplice isn’t obvious and adds to the uncertainty of which shooter is friendly or foe;

(c) asserting the identical and hypocritical degree of blind judgment as the shooter by taking the life of someone you did not know one second prior but are willing to end at a moment’s notice.

You will have to live, but in agony, with that knowledge, for the rest of your life, which may even lead to you taking your own to escape it.

My agony is innocent, and brief.

“But I say to you who hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. To one who strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also, and from one who takes away your cloak do not withhold your tunic either.” (Luke 6:27-29)

“Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.” (Matthew 16:24-25)

“TAKE UP HIS CROSS.” Not taking up the nails by which he may nail others to crosses, but take up that by which others will nail you to yours. For every hammer that strikes bullet that you fire, that is your hand with the hammer that strikes the nail of another upon their cross. I can think of no greater honor than to be nailed to my cross. I will not gasp out for your help.

You are not the source of my help.

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