A recent Thursday…
Prelude… Home sold, moved into RV, met “The Girl!” in South Georgia, and (except for our trips together) parked the RV in her side yard. Life got full…and a whole bunch better than good!
Bucolic living…hot days and cool rains…vista’s of corn and cotton, peanuts and soybean, hay and cattle…lots of beef cattle…Angus and Brangus, Charolais and the odd British White. All that seasoned with an unbelievable plethora of horses, and donkeys and goats, of all shapes, colors and sizes. And did I mention pine forests hiding homes of an architectural brickwork that flows from a definition of sturdy all the way to that of financially divine? And churches of every shape and size, competing with one another as they rest side by side on the town’s main drag, and on almost every intersection of the country roads connecting the counties. All this arcadian wonder, admittedly perhaps a bit marred by the “notorious” odd drug house, and somewhat blighted by the stark division between the counties “have” and the “have not’s”, leaving the real estate to define the demarcation and highlight the division.
For an old guy from the “Big City” (sixth most violent in the US for it’s size) the setting seemed to relentlessly attempt to leech away the need of the last 50 years to “always carry a gun”. Almost…right up until a recent Thursday afternoon…
We had a need for a cabinet, something simple and fun to do. About 4:45 in the afternoon, I was working on finishing it on the patio outside the garage personnel door (with the garage roll up door out of sight but open to allow for air flow), I had most of the task well in hand. It lacked only the last pieces of trim I’d cut and left laying on the bench. I walked through the door to get them and was startled to see a mound of dreadlocks sticking out from under the far edge of the workbench.
I don’t usually remember making the conscious decision to draw my gun when faced with a threat. By training I do remember all the actions as a sequence. Dreadlocks, attempting to hide but still sticking out from under the far corner of the workbench, were enough of a catalyst the gun was in my hand and pointed as a natural reaction. The skin under the dreadlocks seemed to pale at the sight of the gun pointed at it.
“Don’t shoot! Don’t shoot! Don’t tell them I’m here!”
“Okay, okay…don’t shoot!”
“Out! Slow!” I nodded towards the open rollup.
We had just reached the left of the door opening when a city police car slammed into the yard to the left side of the drive, and a county squad car to the right. Both officers bailed out of their units on a dead run with guns drawn. Faced with this onslaught “Dreadlocks” rounded the corner of the garage and ran, the officers in hot pursuit. Both officers nodded as they passed me. I would swear they were smiling.
I could have shot Dreadlocks, but it would have been in the back, and the minute the officers came on sight any action taken was their responsibility. I holstered my gun and watched. Dreadlocks jumped the front fence and headed across the back yard, now with the two cops and my young Lab in hot pursuit. It looked like that youngster was not having a good day, though my Lab seemed to be rather enjoying it.
They caught dreadlocks as he jumped our backyard fence and ran into two additional officers having taken up position there. He was definitely not having a good day. His attempted robbery with a snub nosed .357 had gone bad when the gardener he tried to rob nixed that idea with a handy garden rake… aided I’m sure by the city police car that turned the corner at that moment and saw it happening. Lucky gardener, unlucky Dreadlocks. Seems his actions, and extensive rap-sheet, will pretty much guarantee him a rather long stay in one of the state’s prisons.
Me? I finished the cabinet and it does everything I wanted.
The moral of the story is in its telling. Bad things can happen to good people no matter where they are when, nor how “safe” they may think they are…anytime…anywhere. I may not take my gun with me in the shower, but beyond that it’s never far from my hand. And beyond the gun rests the mindset… perhaps the most salient tool one can possess…as long as one maintains and retains the tools necessary to support it. Bucolic setting or not, yet another reminder…a strong reinforcement…for why I always carry a gun.