A Gun in an Acme, and Wile E Coyote Is Pissed

John DiFelice
9 min readNov 16, 2019

Eight days after the El Paso and Dayton shootings, my girlfriend, Nidhi, and I drove to an Acme to buy ice cream. We arrived around 9:30 PM and shopped with the frenetic manner of people who know the store is about to close. We quickly found the ice cream we wanted and decided to do more shopping with the extra time. I needed cereal and razor blades — in case I was stranded on a dairy farm and didn’t want to look like Tom Hanks in Castaway — and she looked for clarified butter because she’s Punjabi. She puts it on bread, she puts it in her hair — it’s a thing.

As we turned an aisle, she snapped her head toward me. She looked suddenly tense, almost fearful.

“Look!” she said in a hushed voice.

I looked, and I saw a man with a holstered gun.

“Do you think he’s a security guard?” Her question brimmed with hope.

“I doubt it,” I said. The man was wearing shorts and a t-shirt and a baseball cap.

“Is he maybe an off duty police officer?”

“Maybe,” I said. I didn’t want her to worry, but I doubted that too.

The man didn’t bother me, but I became curious about him. I hadn’t seen many people carrying a holstered gun who weren’t police or security guards, and I never saw someone carrying while getting groceries at Acme. It certainly isn’t in the commercials starring Patricia Heaton from Everybody Loves Raymond.

We continued to shop as I tried to answer Nidhi’s questions. She asked if it’s legal to carry the way he had. I told her that he’d need a license to carry concealed, but I didn’t know if it applied to carrying one on his hip out in the open.

She was scared by the gun, and being from India I could understand it. She wasn’t used to guns while I had grown up in a gun culture. As an Indian woman, she had become used to other things, like men leering at her and copping cheap feels on a crowded train. Some of the stories she told me make me boil with rage. I’m not used to it, and I hope I never am. They horrify me as much as seeing a gun in public horrified her.

It was time to check out, and we ended up behind the man with the gun. I could see that he was wearing a baseball cap with an American flag patch…