There is a lot of talk these days about guns. In response to the massacre of the day, the debate ensues: should we ban guns, regulate guns, eliminate the current restrictions, mandate that everyone own a gun? On and on the discussions go and there never is a conclusion.

Hey, Pat, why the hell are you talking about guns? This blog is about abortion stuff, isn’t it?

Well, yes, but I have a little story that blends the two issues and explains where I come out on the issue of guns.

As the Executive Director of the National Coalition of Abortion Providers, one of my main tasks was to do media interviews. Whenever a doctor was killed or a clinic blown up, I’d get the call and I would somberly rail against the violence. I was on the Donohue Show, Good Morning America, Nightline, you name it. Never did the Steve Harvey show. I did those shows because our doctors were for the most part afraid to show their face, lest they become the next target.

Every time I did an interview, the calls to our office from pro-lifers would increase. Not very nice calls. Not direct threats but enough to make my stomach turn. After the murder of Doctor Bart Slepian and another round of interviews, the FBI decided it was time to make a visit. They were just looking for as much information as they could get about clinic violence, threats, stalking, etc. At the end of the interview, however, one of the agents said “considering your visibility, we recommend you carry a firearm.”

WTF? Are you kidding me?

I politely told them there was no way in hell I would carry a gun and while they could not order me to get one, they were pretty adamant that I should at least look into it. Ironically, right across the street from my office in Old Town, Alexandria, there was actually a small gun shop. A small place on the upper floor of a colonial townhouse, hardly anyone knew it was there. So, one day out of curiosity I walked over. I was greeted by a crusty bearded southern type guy.

“Hi, I’ve been told that I should be carrying a firearm. I’ve never touched a gun in my life so I have no idea what I should be looking at.”

He asked me to show him my hand and he started exploring his case of guns. “Obviously, we’re talking a handgun here, one that you can hide in your clothes.” He took a handgun out of the case and handed it to me. “Tell me how that feels.”

I held the gun, wrapped my hand around the handle and slipped my finger into the trigger. Thinking I was Clint Eastwood, I pointed the gun away from the clerk and aimed at the clock on the wall. Then I started to perspire, my hand started shaking violently and I became nauseous.

I put the gun down on the counter and told the owner that I had to think about this. I walked outside and was making my way to my lunch stop when I started envisioning walking up the street and having some anti-abortion terrorist come up behind me intent on doing me harm. But, before he could strike I calmly reached into my pocket, grabbed my gun, turned around and shot him in the head. Yeah, right.

Realizing I was not Clint Eastwood, I then had a more troubling thought.

I’m walking up the same street and a friend of mine notices me ahead of him. He runs up behind me and puts his hand on my shoulder, surprising the hell out of me. My adrenaline starts flowing, I don’t hear him call my name, I reach into my coat and turn around shooting.