Gun Safety vs. Gun Control

 

Colt 1911

 

 

 

 

Dear Mr. Government;

Please roll me up in bubble-wrap, and put me in a big box full of non-toxic packing-foam peanuts, so that nothing – not even a bad word – can hurt me.

***

Recently, some Idiot (a woman, as it turns out – just to disprove female claims that all Idiots are male.), managed to get herself shot to death in an American Wal-Mart, when her 2-year-old son reached into her purse, beside him in the shopping cart.

She was described in local papers as “an atomic scientist.”  She was a chemical technician who worked at a power plant.  This is not Big Bang Theory!  She was an ‘atomic scientist’ in the same way a homeless panhandler is a “Charitable Donations Canvasser.”  Still….

In an outpouring of telling others how to run their country and their lives, a Toronto area man sent the following letter to the Toronto Sun, titled More Gun Control:

I just read about the tragic death of a 29-year-old mother in a U.S. Walmart.  She was shot by her two-year-old after the youngster pulled a gun out of his mom’s purse.

I can’t think of any reason why it would be necessary to bring a loaded gun to go shopping.  What a waste of life, not to mention the emotional scars this child is going to have to deal with the rest of his life.

The NRA and its lobbyists need to be muzzled and better gun controls in the U.S. are long overdue.  There’s been too many of these senseless events for far too long.

I agree that it was a sad and preventable occurrence, but this writer leads a far too protected life, and uses way too many hysterical mistakes and lies to justify it.  Even the term “loaded gun” is a loaded term.  Can he think of a reason to bring an ‘unloaded gun’ shopping?  The title is another flag to show his bias.  He doesn’t advocate ‘Greater Gun Safety’.  He demands ‘More Gun Control.’

Through lack of forethought and research, I recently spent a weekend in a dangerous part of Detroit.  This was near Eight Mile, where the white rapper Eminem got street cred by growing up in a tough Negro area.

My motel had an armed security guard patrolling after dark.  My place was quiet, but the downscale motel directly across the street was well known for gunshots and police and ambulance calls.  The pizza shop on Eight Mile had floor-to-ceiling, half-inch thick, bullet-resistant Plexiglas.

The ‘Trade Center’ (more like a cheap flea market) that we went to on Sunday, had signs on the doors which read, “All hoods must be removed on entering”, and “We will provide a security escort to your vehicle, but we will not carry merchandise.”

As an unarmed Canadian tourist, I was very careful where I went, and when.  I can understand and sympathise with local residents who feel the need to carry firearms to protect themselves from gangbangers and drug dealers.

If even the Trade Center management feels the need to provide protective escorts, there must be a good chance that there might actually be someone in the parking lot to protect from.  I might not need a handgun while I’m shopping, but if there’s someone out there who wants to rob/rape/kill me before I get to my car, then I might need the gun when I leave the store.

Just what further “gun control” does this conservative Canadian feel Americans need?  The woman in question underwent a background check, and endured the 10-day waiting period.  She paid for, and enrolled in, a concealed weapon carry permit training session.  She was psychologically stable, and the weapon was duly registered.

Sadly, stupidity still carries the death penalty, and she’s posthumously (there’s no other way) enrolled in the Darwin Award hall of shame.  While she might have been intelligent enough to work at a nuclear generating plant, neither training nor legislation can instill common sense.

To have a loaded gun is one thing.  To have a loaded gun with several children around, including a busy, curious two-year-old, is something else entirely.  The story does not say if the purse was open, but even if it was closed, she was not paying sufficient attention to the child and the gun, sitting side by side.  The gun was not merely loaded, but almost surely must have been cocked, and the safety off.  Little two-year-old hands can’t do these things.

Just what ‘senseless events’ is he referring to, the accidental shooting death of a mother by a young child?  I don’t ever remember hearing of another!  Perhaps he could worry less about the NRA’s somewhat overzealous desire to preserve the legal right to possess firearms, and vent his indignation on gangs and druggies and other criminals who make carrying them seem like a good idea.

And that’s a view on Gun Control vs. Gun Safety from a grumpy, old, unarmed Canadian, north of the border.

Advertisements

Winter Vacation – Finale

When we checked into the motel on the Friday, one of the first things the son did, was try to open the top dresser drawer.  Perhaps he had a sudden urge to read the Gideons’ Bible.  The front of the drawer just came right off in his hand.

With sleep schedules now totally confounded, the son was asleep shortly after 11 PM Saturday night, while I was still lurking around outside, reading newspapers and doing crossword puzzles in the vending room, and gabbing with the security guard.

Son was up at 7:30, and went over to the office to get yet another tea, while I “slept in” till 8 AM.  Just as he quietly eased the door open at 7:45, the maintenance man fired up the snow blower, right outside the unit.

The son’s OCD shows differently from mine.  Now that we were both awake (Speak for yourself, son and heir.), things should “be done”, we should pack immediately and vacate the premises.  I made toast juice and pills, washing dishes and final packing, last till almost 9.  We visited the office, finalized all paperwork, and offered many thanks to Connie, to be spread among all the nice desk clerks.

The car is loaded; we’re ready to go, and it’s just 9:10.  Finally, the son asks the question he should have thought about before.  What time is this County-Line Trade Center open?  I had hoped that it was at 9 AM, like the Gibraltar Trade Center.  The reason we stayed up here, was to try something new.  I had used the Google Maps overhead view to find that it was an ell-shaped building, about half as big as Gibraltar.

We drove a mile in five minutes and pulled into the parking lot.  There was one snowed-in car, and a half-ton with a plow blade clearing the lot. One wing of the ell is a furniture resale store and a dental office.  The Trade Center is only half as big as I’d hoped and imagined.  The sign on the door says opening is at 10.  We drove back down to last night’s McDonalds, and parked at the back, trying not to get plowed in by the guy clearing their lot.

Finally we drove back up, and the plow jockey unlocked the door, and let a couple of vendors enter.  With no booths open, I got into a conversation with one, about socialized medicine, Obamacare, and a second international bridge, while the son prowled this tiny little microcosm.  One unopen booth shows Saturday hours of noon to 5, and Sunday from 1 till five.  On a Superbowl Sunday, after a significant snowfall, this is not going to get much better.

The Gibraltar center is full of kitsch, “As seen on TV.”  This County-Line place also has lots of stuff seen on TV – if you used to watch Sanford and Son.  The food service area looks like where Sly Stallone got rat burgers in Demolition Man.  There are signs on the doors which say, “All hoods must be removed before entering.” and, “We will provide security escort to your vehicle, but we will not carry merchandise.”

Eleven o’clock – we can’t go home yet.  What do we do??  The son’s paying for the gas; let’s drive 25 miles and go to Gibraltar.  We stopped at a nearby Meijer’s gas bar to fill up.  “Let’s go into the store.”  The son found and bought two big bags of Chili-Cheese potato chips the Meijer’s on the other side of town didn’t carry, and I located and bought two large bottles of McIllhenny’s Chipotle Tabasco Sauce the other store also didn’t have, for the daughter.

Right across the street was a small health food store.  Between it and its larger parent two miles down the road, I found most of the items the big GNC stores didn’t carry, for the niece.  Touchdown, Yay!

The kid and I spent several hours touring Gibraltar, its yummy food court and the gun and knife show they had on the display side.  While I got to caress a Beretta 92 pistol, similar to Rants’ military version, the son found that he likes shotguns.

I got rid of another small pocketful of change to an old veteran, collecting to support other vets, down on their luck.  I saw at least two “girly” guns, one a little .22 caliber varmint plinker for a 12 to 18 year old, the other, a more serious, semi-military style .308, shoot-a-moose, or a trespasser, rifle.  Both were done in camouflage finish – if you were hiding behind Sailor Moon, the darlingest pink and black daubs and lines.

About 3, we decided to head home.  Plows and volume of traffic finally had the roads down to bare and damp.  Since we’d driven south, we decided to cross back, over the bridge.  The same factors which kept people out of the Trade Center, kept them off the bridge.  I again was able to get into a Customs line with only one car ahead of me.

When I was allowed to roll forward, the window of the booth slid open, and I was greeted by a female customs officer.  Not unheard of, but not common on the Canadian side of the Windsor/Detroit crossings.  She smiled at me and said, “Hello/Bonjour.”  “Bonjour,” I replied, “now I know I’m truly back in Canada.”

“Pardon me; could you please pass me a serviette?  I appear to have spilled my poutine.”  Every Canadian knows exactly what that sentence means, but I may have to translate it for my American readers.

A couple of questions for me, and a couple for the son, and we were soon on our way home.  I coulda brought that beautiful Beretta back, and no-one but me would have been any the wiser.  The son called the wife, now that Canadian cell phone towers would carry my Canadian cell phone plan.  We told her we were on our way, and three hours later, we were ordering pizza, after covering 870 Km./555 Mi. over a very enjoyable three-day weekend.  Thanx for reading along with us.    😀

Winter Vacation – Part II

We each got a couple of hours nap Friday afternoon, but both our sleep schedules were F..ouled up.  Son wants to hit the hay at 11 PM – I still want to read a newspaper and do a crossword.  Can’t do that in the room, so I take my stuff and go over to sit in the lobby, only to find it locked.  I eventually located a second vending machine room with only an ice machine…and a nice little bench, ta-da!

Afternoon clerk Stephanie was white. Now I get to meet and speak with Miss Annie, an impressive, older Negro lady.  Even older than me, she’s 72.  The clerk at the Taylor motel has been there 27 years.  Miss Annie has been here over 30, and finally plans to retire near the end of this year.  Nice lady, but she don’t take no shit.  I also met and talked with Mark, the armed Negro security guard.  Tough neighborhood, remember?

While we were conversating, a young man walked in, and said, “I want a room for the night.”  I’m sorry sir, we’re all full.  But I have a reservation.  What’s your name sir?  Xxx Yyy!  I’m sorry sir; I can’t find a reservation in that name.  He pulled out a tiny scrap of paper, and said, “Here’s my confirmation number.”  Well, ya coulda led off with that, and your name, instead of just asking for a room.

I print the entire page and present it to the clerks, because it gives every last iota of needed information.  I’m sorry sir; I can’t find a reservation here under that number; are you sure it’s correct?  I’m very sure; check again.  She tapped away for a few seconds, and finally told him, Yes sir, you do have a reservation – at the Plymouth Red Roof, 25 miles from here.  And he was sober – maybe just a brain freeze.

I spent a few dollars extra to get a room with a microwave and fridge.  After boring myself sleepy, I returned to the room – and bed, only to find that the fridge has a loud annoying buzz when it runs.  Woke us up two or three times during the night.  The second night I unplugged it, and we both slept much better.

Up at 8, we both had toast and juice, and I made myself a hot chocolate to take with me in a thermos, to the show.  I went over to the office to add some of their coffee, to make a mocha, and met Aletha, another young Negro gal.  Never met a stranger.  The only clerk we missed was Brian, because he doesn’t work weekends.

I-696 to the show venue ran right behind the motel.  Getting on was almost as easy as falling out of the parking lot.  I remembered to take the camera.  Signs on the front doors insisted, “No outside food or drink!”  I slipped the hot chocolate into my inside jacket pocket, and didn’t sip till I was way back at the back, where no officials could see.

I was irked by the fact that every second vendor had a Dunkin Donuts coffee, or Starbucks, or hotel coffee in a thermos.  I saw one guy making a roast beef and cheese sandwich, but I can’t bring in food or drink?  The WTF factor is going up.

Last year I could access my blog from computers in the entryway, but this year they were locked out, to access only the Center’s site.  After paying, and entering the display hall, I was faced with a sign that said, “No cameras allowed without the permission of the show manager.”  I left mine in my shirt pocket.

Halfway around, I met a woman waving her cell phone camera.  Some of the dealers threw a little impromptu birthday party for a compatriot, and everybody got a picture taken.  I just got the sign….and rising blood pressure again.

One of the knife dealers explained that the anti-gun nuts come to shows and take photos of the plethora of firearms and publish them as “proof” that we’re all going to die in a gigantic shoot-out.  If I had asked the show manager, I would probably have been allowed to take pics, although some gun vendors have table signs which insist, “No Photos!”

There were even fewer hand-made knives, and more “rusty jackknives.”  I took photos of all the interesting knife collections last year, so I didn’t use the camera.  I think we’ve had it with this show.  Unless we can find a show in Zanesville or Cincinnati, I think the wife and I will wait for good weather and just go to Detroit for shopping and a getaway.

It snowed on the way to the venue, and while we were there.  As we were leaving, it was changing to freezing rain.  I’m maybe a bit better at driving in that shit, but the 25 mile trip back was interesting.  One guy just fell off the road and tangled with an overpass support, ripping off his rear bumper, and throwing the back wheel across the freeway.

Since we didn’t want any of the over-priced, captive-audience, crap food at the venue, we stopped at a McDonald’s on the way home.  My bill ended in 43 cents – and I still had that 42 cents left from yesterday.  I picked a penny up off the counter that the previous customer didn’t take, and my pocket was now completely empty.

And then I leaned down and picked a penny off the floor – and went back to the motel and sat on the bed, and picked up a penny beside the other bed.  Later that night, when I went for another walk, I was telling Mark, in the vending room, about keeping my eyes open, and picked a dime off the floor.

The next day, at a Meijer’s store I found a quarter and a penny on a self-checkout bagging platform, and later used my knife to pry a nickel out of a 25 cent gumball machine.  The reason it was there may have been because it was Canadian, but the pocket’s getting heavy again.  Somewhere I picked up a brass game token.  I wonder if the son remembers where.  I don’t.

After another nap, we decided to go out for supper.  While we didn’t want to eat there, the wife had requested a blooming onion from Outback, so we started there.  I had researched online maps, and driving instructions, including Google Street-view.  Son fed the address into Miss GPS and got, “Accessing satellites….accessing satellites…. cannot access satellites.”  Oh, yeah.  Snow/rain storm.  We found it the old-fashioned way, by looking.

Tomorrow we’re going to, not one, but two, Trade Centers.  Anybody want to come along?  I’ll buy a hot pretzel, with mustard.

9/11 Redux

I read BrainRants’ once-a-week, daily post two days ago, and realized that 9/11 had sneaked by me, not because it wasn’t important, but because time seems to slip past me so quickly now.  When I was a kid, the summer vacation seemed to last a whole year.  Now that I’m retired, a whole year seems to slip past in a week.

When I worked, I could measure the passage of time by the disappearance of cans of Pepsi.  I took one to the plant every day I worked.  A case of 24 got me through just over a month, and I had the feeling of accomplishing something.  Nowadays I mark time by the disappearance of anti-histamine pills from a blister pack, and helping the wife and I stay healthy is about as productive as it gets.

My memory is poor, but who could forget 9/11?  We got the news on the line at work from supervisors and QC managers.  I went straight home after work and was watching TV when the towers collapsed.  Suddenly, the embassy bombing, the attack on the Cole, and the previous internal attempt to blow the Trade Center all meshed.  I knew that everything was about to change.

It changed for us about a month and a half later.  We had planned to drive a second time to Charleston, SC, for a week’s vacation.  The previous year we had crossed the border at Detroit.   A couple of perfunctory questions, and we were waved through.  This time, we crossed over at Buffalo.  There were twice the number of border guards, some of them wearing pistols, some of them leading dogs, some of them with articulated poles with mirrors on the ends.

The questions were hard and tight.  Who were we?  Where were we from?  Why did we want to get into the US?  Where were we going?  How long would we be there?  All the while, the guy with the dog circled the car in one direction, and the guy with the mirror inspected my exhaust and oil pan from the other.

I was driving a station-wagon at that time, and I knew that they would want a look inside, so I pushed the hatch unlock button.  Unlike vans, the hatch did not rise on its own; it had to be raised by hand.  The wife told me to stay with the car, and she would open it when they asked.  Soon the command came, and it was a command, not a request, to open the back.  Two things happened almost simultaneously.  We almost had two guns pointed at us.  When the hatch didn’t immediately pop open, the officer on my side of the car must have thought I was ignoring him, and shouted the command again, adding the word, now!

On the wife’s side of the car, she was getting out to raise the lid, and the guard on her side suddenly jumped back and grabbed for his side-arm.  I explained to my guy that someone had to raise the hatch, and, since he wasn’t doing it, my wife would.  Things calmed down, a little.  They started pawing through our stuff, which had been clearly visible through the windows.  We had taken our Koolatron portable refrigerator, but were using it just as a box to hold various items.  The power rectifier/cord was in a small wicker basket with some other things, so that it wouldn’t get lost.  When they came upon that, all Hell broke loose!

What was this infernal electric/electronic device?  Was it a controller for a bomb?  Could we bring down airplanes with it?  Even after we explained its use, they still wanted to know why it wasn’t with/in the Koolatron.  That’s full!  You just looked in it!

The entire feel of the country was different from previous trips.  When we got to Charleston, we found that there had been rules enacted to prevent anyone from fishing within twenty yards of any bridge abutment, despite the fact that, some of the best fishing is in the shadow of the bridges.

America had lost her virginity.  Not that the 3000+ lives lost in the twin-towers holocaust weren’t important, but three thousand out of three hundred million is a mere pinprick.  It was the pinprick, however, which let the air out of the USA’s carefree isolation.  The Japanese were stopped at Pearl Harbor.  These rats had got right into the pantry.

People questioned our going down to the States, “Where they’re having all that trouble.” But the day before we left, there had been a bomb report phoned in at the company the wife worked for.  There ultimately was no bomb, but the prank caller got his money’s worth.  He emptied out the head-office building, and three local branch office buildings.  A couple of weeks previously, I noticed a church deacon wandering around the balcony where we were seated, during the sermon.  The service was cut short and we were asked to vacate the building because someone had called in a bomb threat….to a church!  A week after we got back, an aerosol recycling plant almost no-one knew existed, had an explosion, significant enough to close a section of the city.  We just think we’re safe.

Eleven years later, things are still changing.  Some restrictions are relaxing; others are still tightening up.  In just over a week, we will be taking a weekend trip to metro Detroit.  This will be our first border crossing in three years, and the first time we will need to provide passports.  You’re not allowed to smile for passport photos.  Dealing with bureaucracy is not conducive to smiling anyway.

I once read a book called The Wasp, where an agent created havoc in an enemy country through minor actions.  Forty years later, the wasps have arrived, and ruined our innocence.  I remember and mourn those who needlessly died that unforgettable day, and I salute and respect those like BrainRants, who strive to give back what freedom and peace of mind we can hold.