"It took some years for my attachment to guns to fade; in some ways, Chicago itself was responsible. When I moved back after grad school, it wasn’t legal for residents to own handguns. I thought about defying the law, and even flirted with the idea of becoming an NRA test case, the Rosa Parks who stood up to what I believed were unjustly oppressive laws. (Yes. That does sound ridiculous to me now.) In the end, all of that seemed like too much hassle, so my guns remained in the suburbs at my parents’ house, and my trips to the range got fewer and farther between.
It was just as well, for I went through some dark times personally in the early 2000s—some blackout drinking, where I’d make it home with only a frame or two of imagery about the trip home from the bars, and a LOT of brownout drinking, where I’d remember where I’d been and who I’d seen and how I’d made it back home, but I’d have to reconstruct the details of the night with help from friends. There were plenty of good times in there, but the bad ones were really bad—some relationships that turned ugly and angry, and one incident where I got physically violent with a woman I loved. But all that negativity usually turned inward rather than outward, and it manifested itself in some very dark thoughts. In retrospect, I’m pretty glad I didn’t have easy access to a handgun in those years."