I Never Saw a Gun In Europe

Childhood in a society without guns is freedom.

Taru Anniina Liikanen
5 min readMay 28, 2022


Photo by Jay Rembert on Unsplash

Just to get this out of the way, I’ll be the first person to admit I’m terribly biased when it comes to the gun debate.

I’m one of those people who doesn’t like guns. Never have, never will.

I don’t like violence, in general. I couldn’t watch a boxing match. I don’t even like it when someone raises their voice. And guns, they’re the physical object that most clearly represents violence.

Sure, guns are needed for defense, but I’d prefer never having to use one. I hope to live in a peaceful country and not have to hold a gun in my hands, ever.

I understand some people like hunting. I used to go fishing with my dad when I was little. But then again, me and my sister felt sorry for the fish and often let them go. I never liked taking a life. I hope I’ll never be in a situation where I have to do it.

To me, a gun was designed to wound and kill at a distance that’s larger than that a sword or knife would offer. To offer you protection, so you can go on killing. It seems unfair and unnecessary.

Apart from a couple of times when I saw police officers in Finland, I had never seen a gun, let alone a person bearing one, until I moved to Costa Rica at the age of 22.

I and my then-boyfriend had just moved into a house, and we walked to the nearby strip mall to do some grocery shopping.

This was Escazú, one of the richest suburbs around San José, where many gringos lived. The US ambassador’s residence was across the street, and there were mansions all around. And because there was a lot of money around us, there were guards, too.

We got to the supermarket parking lot, and I saw a guard, pacing around with an assault rifle that was half his size.

“Is this supposed to make me feel safer?” I thought, getting as far away from the guard as possible. What if someone decided to rob the supermarket? Would the presence of that gun make the situation more violent? Could I, an innocent person, end up caught in the crossfire?

I still remember that feeling. Every day, as I walk through the banking district in the center of Buenos Aires and see the…



Taru Anniina Liikanen

Finnish by birth, porteña at heart. Recovering political ghostwriter and comedian. Bad jokes my own.