The Gross National Debt

Monday, January 10, 2011

Shoot, and I mean shoot to kill, the dog.

It is rare, in my life, that I have not been within easy reach of a firearm. Easy, of course, varies with the location and the time. But few and far between are the times when I couldn’t get to a gun within a few minutes.

Back when I was in high school, we carried guns to school. It was expected the boys had a shotgun or rifle in the truck and some of the girls too. No one was shot, murdered or threatened with a gun. When differences required getting personal, it was handled with bare knuckles. We knew better than to pull a gun to settle such problems. The one time when matters appeared to be escalating beyond my ability to handle with just the weapon at the end of my arm according to God, I had a loaded .38 under the seat. I grabbed, instead, a fillet knife. The idea of picking up the pistol never enter my mind.

While I can’t swear to it, I do think a gun once saved me from being robbed. I do know quick access to a firearm convinced one group of men that an ill-considered joke was not something they should do again.

Second instance first.

In college I drove a Bonneville with a short-barreled single-shot 20 gauge riding on the floor next to the driver’s door. A homemade ammo belt was hung around the steering column with 20 rounds. A loaded .45 or a .38 was in the glove compartment.

I worked for a pizza place in college, delivering pizza.

One late afternoon I took a pizza to a lady in a public housing complex in Troy, AL. While we were negotiating change (something I still can’t do very well), a car stopped across the street at a stop sign.

I paid no attention.

The car didn’t move.

I glanced over nervously. The car didn’t move.

The lady and I concluded our business and she closed the door.

Four men sprang from the car. I jumped.

They fell on the pavement and the car laughing.

5 steps later I was at my car. I pulled the shotgun.

“Not a good idea. Somebody could have got hurt,” I yelled to them.

They got in their car and slowly drove away.

Different day. At 1:30 a.m. I made the last run of the night, again to a less than savory neighborhood. At the suggestion of the manager, I took a fellow driver.

I handed him the shotgun and stuck the .38 in my waistband. At the house, he opened the passenger door, activating the interior light. He propped against the car the door, shotgun in hand.

I went to the door, pistol exposed, pizza and drinks in my hands.

I rang the bell. The door opened.

As the gent and I made our business exchange, someone inside the house yelled that he should take the pizza and not pay me.

He never cracked a smile. He paid me and I left.

I am certain when the door closed the man who paid me had some words for his “friend” and those words included the fact the pizza guy was packing heat and it wasn’t jalopenas on the pizza.

We had a driver, when I worked there, who was robbed. Twice. The manager said he wished the robbers had tried to take money off me instead of that driver. He said the results would have been quite different.

Probably so, probably so.

These days I still keep a firearm handy. I keep one close by not because I plan to shoot someone, intend to shoot some or even hope to shoot someone. I keep one handy so I won’t have to shoot someone.

A gun in the hands of a person who knows how to use it has a calming effect on all but the most out-of-control. For those who can’t be calmed in the face of a barrel and insist on behaving in a dangerous manner, 135 grains of jacketed hollow point at 850 feet per second is a remarkable tranquilizer.

There are people who don’t think I should be allowed to carry a gun. These people put far more faith in their fellow man and government-sponsored dial-a-prayer, AKA 911, than I do. The last time I had to call 911, a person trying to gain access to my house, it was more than two minutes before I could get the cell phone call to go through - this was not the only time I’ve had problems getting through to 911 with a cell phone. It was another 2 minutes before the cops arrived. How many times can you die in the space of 4 minutes? Once. But that once is enough and it can be done in seconds.

Before Kurt with the PD arrived, I’d swept my yard and surrounding property, twice, with a loaded Mossberg 500. 12 balls of 00 buckshot at 1200 feet per second are even more calming than a .35 pill.

People who don’t think I should carry a gun may believe in pepper spray. I eat hotter foods than what comes out of a pepper spray canister as sold across the counter at the neighborhood store. Besides which, pepper spray doesn’t work, at all, on people high on certain drugs and I have proof of this from the police reports I’ve typed up over the years.

As for a taser, you first have to hit the target, which is less likely than you may believe and I have seen it happen. It’s a one shot and QUIET operation with a very limited range. A shotgun makes a lot of noise and won’t be stopped by a thick jacket.

Until the people who don’t think I should carry a firearm can absolutely guarantee my safety and the safety of the people I protect (my family, co-workers and other law-abiding folks I encounter during the day), I will keep packing.

As I post this, I have just received a message from our town's mayor. The City Manager and his young son were attacked over the weekend by a bull mastiff. Everyone OK, but the CM has a number of bites.

My first question - Did someone shoot the dog?

My question to those who say people should not be allowed to carry guns - where were you when the CM was being attacked?

An armed society is a polite society. Robert Heinlein.

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