Guns & transit don't mix

The Illinois state legislature is debating a "concealed carry" bill that would allow people to carry guns in public. That's always good ... ignore all of the actual problems in this country -- over 15% of people unable to reliably afford food, housing and medical care; people being shot in schools and workplaces -- and claim that your childish desire is somehow an important matter on which to spend time and resources. I think I get it, your gun is a symbol of your manhood, and we can't deny you the "right" of expressing your manhood in public.  But tell me again how you're going to calmly use it in a moment of chaos -- perhaps aboard a crush loaded bus -- to solve any situation?  It's not happening. People still believe in the childhood fantasy that "a good guy with a gun" will solve all problems are smoking something which also should not be allowed on transit.  The problem with sanctioning violence as a society is that we can't guarantee the good guy will always win.

We already have enough tension in crowded spaces, and everyday stress can make people act irrationally -- some people are so stressed that a simple fare dispute can cause them to assault an operator. In Mexico City there are shootings in traffic jams. Do you really want a George Zimmerman carrying a gun to "defend" his manhood when a "suspicious" young black man bumps into him by accident?

It's not hypothetical. In Dallas, shootings on DART vehicles and facilities have been more common than in other places. After one such incident, a DART spokesperson had this to say:

“I don’t really know what can be done; you have a right to carry in the state of Texas,” spokesman Mark Ball told KTVT-TV (Channel 11). “If there is anything in the future that we can possibly do, we’ll do it.”

If it's not illegal to carry a gun, how can police stop people from using guns?

The NRA is just trying to sell more guns. Rather than taking any of their arguments seriously, we need to be proactive (find ways to prevent violence), not reactive (merely respond to violence with more violence). Maybe some of our previous attempts haven't worked, but means we should keep trying new methods. Unfortunately the arbitrary fixation on the misunderstood second amendment doesn't help.

Want to be prepared in case you or another passenger is assaulted? Carry a bottle of pepper spray.