Your cousin was murdered last Saturday night. The murder made the paper. Then the next morning the people the street knew committed the murder rode by in a car and waved a couple of handguns at you.
You are 19. You are not in a gang. You are not a thug. You neither use nor sell drugs. You are a high school graduate attempting to enroll in community college. But, you live in a violent area.
Assume you fear for you life. Do you (a) do nothing and maybe get ambushed and killed, or do you (b) buy a handgun and carry it on you for protection while knowing it's illegal and getting caught with it could send you to prison for a few months?
This is a very bad situation to be in. Dead and innocent, or alive and a convicted felon. Either one isn't good.
Now many of you (assuming many read this), will think of other solutions to the problem. And there may well be. To you that is. I wish there was Alternate Dispute Resolution in the hood. I really do. I would volunteer to mediate every weekend. All day Saturday.
Can't we all just get along? How about discussing the problem? You talk, I listen. Then I talk, you listen. It's called communicating, which can lead to resolution. Resolution prevents acts of violence. I would hope so, anyway.
In this day of text messaging, young people no longer know how to actually talk to each other. Speaking is becoming a lost skill. Too often kids speak with weapons.
Unfortunately, weapons don't fire words you can later take back.
In the scenario above, this person is in quite a pickle. What happens if he's armed and the bad guys come shooting at him? I assume he pulls out his gun and shoots back. That's why he has the gun in the first place. Right?
If he hits nothing, the other party is on notice this guy is packing. Not sure where it goes from there. But what if he did hit the bad guy? If he shoots him and he dies, he just caught a murder case. If the bad guy survives, well it's only attempt murder, minimum of 31 years if convicted.
What about self-defense? If someone shoots at me, shouldn't I be able to shoot them back? Technically, yes. But since you're not supposed to have your gun in the first place, the State's Attorney's office is going to charge you anyway. Let the lawyers sort it out later.
If it were me, I would just join the military and get out of here.