Guns freak me out. I get nervous whenever I see a real gun within a few feet from me. I think of horror stories of guns accidentally firing and killing unsuspecting people, children included. It doesn’t matter if the gun is licensed or if it belongs to a responsible person who keeps a gun for protection, I do not want it anywhere near me.
So when Gabriel showed me a gun one day that they found in the bush in front of our house, I was alarmed. “Where did you get this? This looks real! Throw it away!” I rattled. I was confident enough to closely inspect the hand gun because the cartridge was missing.
“Mom, this is not real,” he and Markus said. Just the same, I threw the gun in the kitchen trash bin. The next time I checked it was gone. The boys had retrieved it.
“Mom, we’re playing with our friends,” they pleaded.
“This is not safe. Even if this were fake, it could be mistaken as real by people out there…” I went on to explain the dangers of holding a realistic-looking weapon. “If you want to play with guns, just use your hand.” I had never bought a toy gun for any of my kids.
“Mom…!” The boys obviously found that silly. Nevertheless, they gave up the “firearm”.
I tossed it in the garbage bin again, but I couldn't help wondering if the gun was real. It wasn’t plastic. It was a little heavy, and it looked very real to me. How would I know a fake from a real one?
That night and the day after, I kept thinking that maybe I should call the police and report the gun. What if this were a murder weapon that somebody wanted to get rid of? What if this were meant to set us up? What if this were the only evidence to a crime? These scenarios kept playing in my mind, and I didn’t even watch CSI.
I began feeling guilty for throwing what could be a vital piece of evidence that could lead to the capture of a guilty murderer. I must be a good Canadian citizen. I must turn it in.
But what if I reported this to the police and it turned out to be a toy? I would look really stupid and I will never hear the end of it. My kids would definitely have a field day laughing at their paranoid Mom.
The next day at work, I approached a sixty-ish officemate who used to be a cop with the RCMP in his younger days. I told him the story in hush-hush tones. He advised me to turn the gun in. Even if it were fake it could still be used by a prankster. And if it were real, it should be in the hands of the authorities.
“Don’t touch it,” he said, “or you might get your fingerprints on it.”
“Our fingerprints are already all over it. Besides it’s already in the trash,” I said.
Probably sensing my anxiety and my hesitation to contact the RCMP, he told me to bring it to him the next day.
As soon as I got home, I retrieved the gun from the garbage bin. I was careful not to touch it so I used a plastic bag in the absence of a pair of gloves. I shook off the leftover rice and other kitchen refuse that had stuck to it. Then I wrapped the gun very well and hid it in my bag.
The next morning, I couldn’t wait to get to work. What if I met an accident or committed a traffic violation and a cop checked my bag? What if this gun turned out to be for real? Fortunately, I reached my workplace without any incident.
I headed straight to my officemate, took out the well-wrapped gun and handed it to him. He gave a quick look at it, and said with a smile, “Oh this is not real.” He described to me how a real gun of that model looked like. Then he advised me to just throw the toy away and make sure it didn’t get to my kids’ hands.
I heaved a big sigh of relief even if I was slightly embarrassed about the whole matter. I did not help resolve a crime, but I regained my peace of mind.