My friend Dave, a fellow copper, used to say that and laugh like a hyena. Because it's true.
This morning I was reading about the Navy Seal sniper who was shot and killed at a gun range and I was reminded of how easy it is to kill anybody. That guy by all accounts, was a serious bad ass and clearly capable of defending himself- yet he lost his life. Stateside.
I always have guns around me. This is not because I am some whack job looking to kill someone- this is because I was a cop for a long time and I know how many whack jobs are out there- self medicated and pissed off at the world.
I make no apologies for being armed. I won't waste time dialing 911. I will use what precious seconds I have taking action- not praying like some statist that a cop car is across the street. Or worse yet, that the cop that does arrive will actually intervene right away rather than wait for help to arrive. Cops are trained to wait for help.
They teach us that. So retired old cops know that when seconds count- young cops are still minutes away. That's why we have guns.
So I thought I would tell you about an incident that happened to me. I have never told anyone this story except for a few close friends. It was not my finest moment but it could have been a lot worse. I like to think of it as a learning experience. I was about 25 when this happened. I was in my fourth year of law enforcement.
There is a desolate highway in central Idaho that carries people north from cities like Twin Falls and Jerome to the Sun Valley area which I lovingly call, Moonbat Valley. Literally thousands of workers commute to the Sun Valley area everyday- many of those workers are forced to live somewhere else. Some workers wouldn't dream of living in Moonbat Valley even though they could. It is an expensive place to live.
This heavy commute, in and then out of the valley, occurs every day. In the spring of 1986, I was in my Pontiac Gran Prix heading south at about 4 P.M. On my seat I had a loaded Ruger Ranch rifle which I was taking to a nearby gunsmith for a new stock. I also had a loaded 15 round 9mm semi auto Smith and Wesson with me. I was passing through a small town (Shoshone) when a group of 4 guys left a convenience store carrying a twelve pack of beer. I was stopped at a stop sign.
These guys looked like working stiffs, dirty, maybe sheet rockers or painters about my age. Just as I approached the store's parking lot exit, these clowns pulled out in front of me and cut me off. That would have been bad enough but the driver began driving 10 MPH in front of me, just to annoy the hell out of me. It worked. I put up with this, thinking that as we left town I would simply pass them in a passing zone just south of town. When I tried to do that, they stomped on the gas and refused to allow me to pass. By this time, they were flipping me off and turning around to look at me. I had one of those bad feelings like this was going to get a lot worse. The odd thing was- I really had no idea why this cloud of bad luck had settled on me.
So there we are, traveling at 40 MPH in a 55 zone. I can't pass them. Of course it's against the law to endanger people- or prevent a lawful pass- but it's not like this crew gives a shit. We didn't have cell phones in those days and even if we had, there was little chance of a cop being anywhere close by. When seconds count, cops are always minutes away. Even if phones had been available.
After about ten minutes of this, I was on fire. Then as luck would have it, the four morons began waving me over to the side of the road and onto the shoulder. I wasn't even going to try and pass these guys at this point. So I pulled in behind them, about 100 feet behind them, on the shoulder of the highway. They exited the car like they were going to teach me about the business end of the bull. I also exited my car. I had the Ruger Ranch rifle in my hand.
As soon as they saw that, they stopped dead in their tracks. For the first time in this 15 minute episode, it finally dawned on these idiots that they were screwing with the wrong guy. In fact, they said something which I could not hear- because they had already turned to get back in the car. They saw that gun and this event was now over. I got in my car, drove around them, and that was the last time I saw them that day.
What if they had a gun? Well, I guess it might have gotten nasty. But it didn't. And as luck would have it- this story has a happy ending.
The very next week, I was working and on patrol. I was on that very same highway, in my city, looking for a green four door carrying 4 dipshits to work. When I spotted it, it was speeding. Not much- maybe only 10 MPH over the limit- but there was not going to be any warnings this morning. They were going to get, what I lovingly referred to back then as the "full meal deal." I stole that line from Dairy Queen.
I gave that driver a total of four tickets. I never said a word outside of my business on that traffic stop. Nor did they. I am not sure they recognized me and I sure as hell didn't say anything about what had happened the prior week. I kept an eye on those tickets and what happened to them. They paid for three of the tickets, one was for a roach in the ashtray. One ticket was dismissed. I never saw those guys again. Justice was served and I squared that account.
They don't even make ashtrays now.
Carrying a gun is about responsibility. It's about saying that you are going to take a stand, maybe even intervening on behalf of others if things go horribly bad. It's about teaching your son or your daughter to shoot and to carry a gun, at work and at college. I want my family to have a fighting chance. It's all about refusing to be a victim and accepting the fact that the cops cannot save you. They are always minutes away.