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The fun part about Skype is feeling way more connected to your chat buddy than instant messenger or a phone call will allow — it’s almost like being inside of their home.

So when I was chatting with a friend the other night and she pulled out a pistol, I freaked out. It was justifiable and made sense in the situation, but guns rank at or near the top of things I’m afraid of. Let me explain.

My friend lives alone in the city and loves it. Like I do, she often worries about her safety as a single woman with nothing separating her from the crazies of the world but locks and a security system, but she has always insisted that she’s well-protected. Of course I tell myself the same thing and take any necessary precautions…what else is a girl to do?

That night, as we talked about this and that, some man was lurking outside of her window. He’d been there before, just hanging around, kind of peeping but making himself known. Keep in mind that people passing your window is sometimes part of living downtown, but nobody is supposed to be trying to communicate with you through it or be a nuisance. She waved the man off, yelled for him to go away, and put a stern look on her face. That didn’t work, so she pulled out her gun and pointed it at him. That still didn’t make him leave (she ended up calling the police, who escorted him away), but it scared me plenty.

My friend insisted that having one makes her feel safe and joked “relax, girl, even Madea keeps one in her purse!” But the idea of having a gun — an instrument made only for killing — has always disturbed me. Blame all of the PSAs from back in the day about how guns in the home are more likely to kill innocent people than ever be used for protection, or blame the fact that I don’t know how to handle and have never handled a gun. Whatever causes it, I have a hard time believing that my “guns are bad” mentality is keeping me from protecting myself.

Do you own a gun for protection? Would you keep one in your home?

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