Illustration by Jessica Garza

We knew it was a bad idea when I saw the gun for sale. There were laws to obey, and I would be an idiot to buy it. I knew it was a bad idea to buy that gun. 

Even she said: “Are you seriously thinking of buying that gun? You have got to be kidding! This is not a joke!” 

To which I replied, “I know about guns. When I was a kid I had a toy plastic gun, and I even had a BB rifle.”

The first  thing I noticed was how shiny and pretty this gun was. The price was right too.

Next, I tested the gun. 

Owning a gun was most certainly a very bad idea. The only kind of future I could see from having a gun looked very bleak, with only prison or death as a result. In my dreams, I saw the abused troubled child that I was, standing in a prison yard with the gun tower standing over me. The rows and rows of electrified double-chain link fences surrounded me. 

In the old days, punishment for criminal gun violence was swift. Horse thieves, cattle rustlers and robbers were apprehended by crowds of angry vigilantes and hung from a tree or shot in front of a firing squad. 

Nowaday, one might be caught in a shootout, the death penalty being dealt out swiftly in a hail of bullets or sniper fire from SWAT. The death penalty might be meted in the gas chamber or via electrocution on the electric chais, its leather straps holding the criminal down firmly. Intravenous injection could also be a possibility. 

When I woke up the next day, I went to my cubby hole, where I had stashed the gun in a towel, but it was gone. The hastily, foolishly purchased shiny pretty gun was gone. In its place was a child’s plastic toy gun. 

I never mentioned it again after first making sure the children weren’t the ones who made the switch. Obviously, their mom took the gun. 

I believe in my dreams. Eventually, as fate would have it, I ended up imprisoned for most of my life. I have a parole date that may outlive me. To me it’s proof positive that an ex-convict buying a gun is a bad idea.

The abused child with razor blade and whip scars in the picture is my depiction of how it’s a bad idea anytime an ex-parolee thinks of buying a gun.

Disclaimer: The views in this article are those of the author. Prison Journalism Project has verified the writer’s identity and basic facts such as the names of institutions mentioned.

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Jessica Garza

Jessica Garza is a writer and artist incarcerated in California.