Let me start out by saying that, as usual, my friends think I’m being too demanding.

“C’mon, Cara,” they’ll say. “You can’t expect go through life without ever being shot, can you?” They tell me that everybody’s being shot by guns nowadays — people who go to Bible study, people who go to work because they need money to live, people who play with blocks in second-grade classrooms. My friends tell me that it’s actually pretty self-righteous to think I won’t ever get shot by a gun, so I might as well suck it up, go to a rock concert or a high school and just get shot already.

And I hate being the wet blanket of the bunch, but we all understand what it means to be shot, don’t we? It’s that thing of when someone aims a gun at you, pulls the trigger, and kills you. We all agree that sounds unpleasant, yes? I don’t want that to happen to me, and it’s not because I think I’m better than you. I don’t want it to happen to you, either.

Look. I try not to be too much of a diva. In fact, my day-to-day routines are pretty unremarkable. I have a job in an office. Occasionally, I’ll go grocery shopping. And when I’m feeling rambunctious, I might find myself at a bar or nightclub. These are now places where people are shot. And, again, I really don’t want to get shot — full stop, end of story, no wiggle room. I said no wiggle room. Why is everyone always asking if I have wiggle room on that issue?

I’m not crazy, am I? Surely, someone else thinks it’s weird that we don’t regulate a machine designed to kill people because 200 years ago, we also didn’t regulate a machine designed to kill people. It’s like… we’re doubling down on our commitment to killing people. It’s like we’re pro-killing people. Am I missing something?

Again, I don’t mean to be difficult here.

As an extrovert, I derive energy from being surrounded by people, but I’m strangely no longer drawn toward places where people are frequently shot. In fact, you might be surprised to hear that I specifically avoid those places. I never used to mind spending twelve dollars on a movie ticket, for example, but I’d rather not spend twelve dollars just to play dead in a movie theater. And the holiday crowds at a shopping mall never bothered me, but now, the trip feels fruitless when I know I’m just going to spend six hours hiding from a guy who’s shooting everyone with the gun he bought online.

Not fair! Why didn’t I think to do my shopping online this year?, I’ll think to myself right before I’m shot.

Quick question: when you read the phrase “right before I’m shot,” did you flinch a little bit? Did you feel something? Anything? Did you feel anything?

My standards have hit the floor. I’m not looking for much. Seriously, if somebody could promise me I won’t be shot at, like, three places I need to go to in order to live, I’d take that. Just give me work, school, and a grocery store. The grocery store doesn’t even have to be close to my apartment. The school can be imaginary and the job can just be a construct.

If you can’t make that promise, I’ll go easy on you and just ask for affordable medical care for my gunshot wounds, please.