Thursday, January 12, 2012

Only in America ... will a stranger hand you a loaded gun

So I'm visiting my mom last week in Jesse Helms country. She lives out in the country, not much different from where I grew up in Kentucky. There's next to nothing out there except trailers and churches, with every few miles a small country store looking like it's about to fall down.

I dropped in one of these small stores, as I often do. I was just going in to pick up a candy bar or something. In the back of the place was a table around which sat four or five good-ole boys. If you have to have the term "good-old boys" explained to you, I'm probably not much help. Let's just say that with my beard, ball cap and gut, along with my Kentucky accent, I can pass easy enough for a good-ole boy and might even have a little good-ole boy in me.

Anyway, I get what I came for and walk past the table on my way to the counter. To my surprise there are several semi-automatic handguns on the table between all these fellows. As a former owner of firearms, I have some interest in the subject, so I started paying attention to the conversation at the table.

Most of the talk was about the various worth (in quality, not dollars) of the guns on display. One of the guns was a Taurus, and it was built upon a similar model to one of my favorite handguns, the Beretta 92FS. Both are nine millimeters, but in my opinion the Beretta is a far better handgun than the Taurus. I made a point of letting the group know my opinion.

I was surprised when none disagreed with me. It wasn't that they were a bad lookin' group of fellows or anything, but it's a rare thing for one gun enthusiast anywhere at any time to announce an opinion without a hundred other gun enthusiasts gettin' all up in arms (so to speak).

I knew none of these men. I'm not a local. Very few people know me in the region.

But suddenly one of the guys picks up the Taurus and hands it to me, saying something like, "Get a feel for this thing."

I do not hesitate. In a safe manner, the barrel facing the floor and my trigger finger outside of the guard, I take the weapon. It is heavy. Heavier than I expected.

Because there are bullets in it.

How did I determine this? Because I popped out the magazine and stared at the brass with my own eyes. Then I partially tugged back the slide and sure enough, there was another round in the chamber. At least the safety was on.

I slid the magazine back into the gun, hefted it a little, talked a little bull with the guys, then place the firearm back on the table.

After a little more chat, I paid for my donuts or whatever and made my way down the road.

This is not an exceptional story. I'm sure such things happen all the time.

But driving down the road, it dawned on me: Would such happen anywhere else in the world than America?

Yes, it probably would, but I'm guessing in few places and quite rarely.

Imagine, handing a loaded firearm to a complete stranger. You'd never do it, would you? Neither would I. Oh, I'm sure I could imagine some extreme circumstances in which I might be willing to do such, but they would be few and far between.

How did these guys know I wouldn't hold the place up? Or just go on some shooting spree? How would they know if I were some recently escaped psycho on the prowl for someone to kill?

I guess I looked enough of a good-ole boy that I passed the muster. Just glad we didn't start talking politics or religion, because I'm sure there would have been some disagreements at some point.

But I still say the Beretta is a better firearm.

8 comments:

Keith said...

They probably weren't worried because if there were several guns on the table and they only handed you one, they still had more firepower than you. :)

David J. West said...

Nice.

Joshua Dresden said...

I guess it must be something cultural, in a way. Weapons are highly controlled here, in Spain. People just get a weapon license for hunting or practising Olympic shooting at the gallery (but they have to lock up the weapons when they get home).

Besides, there’s not such a wide variety of weaponry to get from gun stores. I don’t own any weapons myself other than my idle chatter, but I think it better this way. Besides, people here are getting edgy with all that “world crisis” stuff. If someone had to go nuts in front of me, I’d prefer him a bit less… “fire-powered”.

Ty Johnston said...

Keith, there was always that option, but I think I would've had the drop on them. ;-)

David, nice and ... out of the ordinary?

Joshua, weapons are often controlled more in the U.S. than many might believe, though it depends upon which state one is in and sometimes what city. Still, compared to much of the rest of the world, it's still quite easy for a civilian to get their hands on a firearm in the U.S. If a person has trouble getting one in a certain region, usually they can just go somewhere else.

Charles Gramlich said...

Yeah, guns are a safe topic in most of the south, but not religion or politics!

David J. West said...

Out of the ordinary in some places yeah, but I could see it happening up here in Montanan too.

But I meant 'nice' in the sense of - "That is a great story that could only really take place in the US of A".

That and I love non-pc stories.

Greg said...

Sounds like where I grew-up...God I miss the mountains.... :)

The Golden Eagle said...

That probably couldn't happen around the area where we live; it's interesting that there's such a big cultural difference between different regions of the country.