Summer in the Midwest has always meant more. There’s something about impermanent good weather that makes it cherished for those forced to brave the four seasons.
Living in Southern Ontario is comparable to the Midwest. Winters are long, Springs overcast, Summers sweltering and fleeting.
As with most metropolitan cities, hot weather seems to enhance violent and criminal tendencies.
I witnessed one such occurrence this past weekend.
Halfway through the encounter, the importance of conceal + carry seared all four lobes of my brain.
The day started off uneventfully as most do; morning coffee, an hour editing session at my work station [I am a freelance video editor], and a spin on my stationary bike.
Around noon, I received a text message from my sister asking if I’d be open to grabbing lunch.
A mother of two pre-teens away at camp, she jumped at the chance to leave the suburbs for an afternoon downtown.
We agreed on a sushi spot in the heart of Toronto and I sent my elderly father a text to join.
An hour later the three of us were downing Spicy Tuna rolls like it was our job.
A quick pitstop to Tim Horton’s, a Canadian staple, which I suggested we sip our coffees on a bench at a nearby park.
For the first half hour, it was a perfect summer outing. My father is in his eighties and I’ve learned to cherish our time together.
Making memories is my mantra, particularly following a pandemic that cut off so many loved ones from seeing each other.
Sitting on a park bench, watching children play, dogs interacting, and listening to birds sing; it was a perfect summer day anywhere on Earth.
And then things turned rather quickly.
I am situationally aware thanks in large part to time spent with police officers. Two years ago, I worked on a documentary with the local police department.
I quickly learned the vitality of situational awareness in day-to-day life.
Human beings, though complex, still ascribe to the flight/ fright principle. Threats are a byproduct of existence whether in the Serengeti or a bustling city like Toronto.
An Indian bike courier in his mid-20s was in my periphery line of sight.
This is a common occurrence, and oftentimes I’m frustrated by cyclists for their blatant disregard for the rules of the road.
Many in this city are guilty of pedalling on sidewalks with zero regard for pedestrians.
This was different. Moments later, a young man in his 20s wearing flip-flops, jeans, and shirtless caught my attention.
His behavior was erratic, discernible on my part due to his gait.
In a flash, the cyclist was sprawled on the concrete.
For no particular reason, the shirtless twenty-something pushed the unsuspecting courier off his bike and flying through the air.
Shocked and caught off guard, the cyclist quickly mounted his bike and scurried away.
The shirtless perp berated him with a slew of profanities well within earshot of fifteen children playing on a nearby playground.
Did anyone blink, flinch a muscle, or come to the courier’s aid?
Of course not. Apathy is the norm as we wade through the 2020s.
My senses heightened, I positioned myself in a way to shield my father and sister from the man in flip-flops.
Minutes later, he struck once more. His target was a man in his early 70s in business attire.
The coward [from this point I will refer to him as such], approached the unsuspecting suit and slapped him upside the head.
The elderly man hit the pavement hard. Yet again, not a single bystander came to the victim’s aid.
I saw enough. However, I didn’t go to his rescue like Galahad. Worth mentioning, that I am physically disabled.
In a previous life, I would intervene without a second thought.
Today my mobility is compensated and physical confrontations won’t end well for me.
The cognitive dissonance I felt was excruciating.
The moral thing to do was to jump in and protect the poor old man, but my own limitations prevented it.
At that moment I wished I lived in the U.S. and had a CCW [carrying a concealed weapon].
A scenario like the one facing me was made for a CCW.
Then the coward zeroed in on my father, sister, and me. He approached with shark-like eyes. The only item on me that could double as a weapon was a thermos which I discreetly handed to my sister.
I told her to swing it at his head should he attempt anything nefarious.
Quickly, I took out my cell phone and dialled 911.
Talking in a low voice, I conveyed what I’d just witnessed to the woman on the other end.
The dispatcher did her best to decipher my muted message while probing for pertinent information like my location and the perp’s description.
Those three minutes spent on the phone were excruciating.
Helpless doesn’t begin to describe the inner torment I experienced.
Disabled with nothing but a thermos to protect family members is not optimal self-defence.
A conceal and carry permit would nullify the threat in nanoseconds.
Anti-gun advocates might say otherwise but if faced with the encounter I did, I am confident they would quickly change their tune.
After all, arguments are theoretical until a real-life situation presents itself.
Helplessness leads to victimization.
Unpredictable behavior caused due to addiction can not be reasoned with.
A CCW is an ultimate equalizer when loved ones are in danger.
A special thank you to the Toronto Police for their swift response time. They showed up within five minutes of my call and arrested the coward.
They were professional, apt, and exactly what a law-abiding citizen expects from law enforcement.
For one afternoon in July, I realized how fortunate citizens of the U.S. are. The Second Amendment is the epitome of freedom and true democracy.
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