Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Guns at Work

I reviewed the intake in front of me and rubbed my temples, trying to quiet the little men swinging pickaxes inside my head. I stood up too quickly and the little men switched to sledgehammers instead.  I need some aspirin.  I walked down the hall into the conference room. Inside was a lady in her mid 40’s. Her hands were firmly clasped in front of her and she gave me a weak smile as I walked in.

Years of marriage, and now, it’s come to this. She spoke, in measured terms, of abuse and abandonment. But, she was guarded.  There was some untold history there.  Suddenly, she looks out the window in alarm and resignation and softly says, “He’s here.” Her shoulders drop as she looks down at her hands.

“My husband is out there. I don’t know how he found me.  I’m struggling as it is, now he’ll completely cut me off.”

"Excuse me for a moment."  I step out of the conference room.  From inside the managers office, I call the reception staff in.  Everybody gets a quick briefing.  I ask them, "Any questions for me?" Only one: "Do you have your gun?"


You see, I don’t expect an office shooting. I don’t hold my breath because of what a visitor may do.  And yet, the vast majority of my practice is bankruptcy, domestic, and criminal/traffic law.  None of this is “happy law.”  Few people are happy to see me.  And so, I will not leave my safety to the whims and emotions of those who walk through the door.

I return to the conference room.  I need to wrap this interview up.  Her mind is not here anymore and we both know it.  I also need to be up front.  Ready.

"He just drove away," she says.  She gets advice on self-protection, my fees and initial strategy, and she goes on her way.

I alway have my gun while in the office.  My staff has grown accustomed to it, and while initially curious about the need for it, there have been several instances in which they were glad I had it. I have never had to even display the gun.

But like a good neighbor, it’s good to know its there.


Brigid said...

I've been in her shoes, though 20 years ago. It's a fearful place to be.

You're best to be prepared. We all are.

Lawyer said...


I'm glad you're no longer there. Clearly, all you have gone through has made you a better, stronger, person.