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An American State of Intimidation
by Leah Sellers
2015-06-05 09:22:24
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“Hey Hank !  How’s it goin’, Buddy ?”
“Fair to partly cloudy as ever, Sam.  How are you and yours ?”
“Can’t complain.  Peg’s busy gettin’ Billy Bob graduated from the high school.  And Julia Lynn is fifteen goin’ on twenty.  The stock are lookin’ fat and healthy this year, and the corn is high in the fields.  Can’t ask for much more than that, I expect,”  Sam replied.
“You hear about the good news from the state capital ?”  Hank asked.
“Sure did.  I imagine every Gun owner in Texas knows all about it by now,”  Sam affirmed.
“Pretty excitin’ news if you ask me.  Long overdue news to a lot of folks,”  Hank said enthusiastically.
“Uh huh,”  Sam answered shortly.
“You not happy with the Texas State Legislature votin’ in the Open-Carry Gun Law ?  Lots of Gun Owners in Texas, and the NRA lobbyists and supporters, have been fightin’ for this Law to get passed for years now,”  Hank challenged.  “You used to be a Texas Ranger, Sam.  What’s your beef ?”
“I don’t have any beef with the Open-Carry Gun Law, Hank.  Just some reservations.  It’s openin’ up a cow shoot that might have some unforeseen surprises on the other side of it.  Not every cow, or bull for that matter, is the same, as you and I well know,”  Sam answered.
gun01_400_01“What’s that got to do with this Open- Carry Gun Law, Sam.  I want everyone on the street to know that I’ve got a Gun strapped to my side that I know how to use.  Anybody and everybody seein’ that Gun on my hip or my rifle in my hand should I choose to take that out from time to time will think twice before messin’ with me and mine.  They’re the ones that will grabbin’ a bull by the horns should they try to mess around with me or anyone else I care about,”  Hank said adamantly.
“Yes, I understand that part of it.  I do, Hank.  Most fella’s and gals that you and I get together with down at the shootin’ ranges from time to time are not the ones I’m worried about,”  Sam said matter-of-factly.  “It’s just that when I worked with the Texas Rangers I saw many a good shootin’ range buddy make some really bad choices and mistakes with their pistols from time to time.  We’re all of us prone to do that when we’re under the gun, so to speak.  When we’re afraid of gettin’ shot ourselves or misunderstandin’ a situation we’re walkin’ into, and havin’ to make judgment calls in a matter of seconds.”
“Now, it’s not just the Texas Rangers, the Police and other Law Officials that we’re all gonna’ have to worry about accidentally shootin’ other folks when they shouldn’t.  It’s the twenty-one year old or older whack jobs that some how pass the background checks and make it through the classroom and shootin’ range instruction to get the Open-Carry Gun Licenses.  It’s the mostly level-headed Joes and Josephines that get a little trigger happy when they come upon a situation that scares ‘em or makes ‘em mad about one thing or another.  And so they make a Bad Judgment Call and someone winds up in the hospital or dead, and they wind up neck deep in court costs or behind bars for the rest of their lives.  That’s what I worry about, Hank.  Because that’s real Life.  That’s what really happened all of the time in the all too glorified Wild, Wild West.  Why do you think that so many folks back then wanted the Gun Blazin’ Wild West to be tamed down, and for the guns to left at home or outside of town burind under a rock somewhere ?” Sam growled.
“We need our Guns out in the open to intimidate folks into bein’ Law Abidin’ citizens, Sam !  The Terrorists are roamin’ the streets of America.  It is the Wild, Wild West out there.  This is no time to leave our Guns and Rifles at home or under a rock somewhere.  This is the time to let those Terrorists know who’s Boss.  And the Boss is strapped right here on my right hip !”  Hank exclaimed.  “They’ll think twice before they try to suicide bomb or shoot me or mine !”
“You think so, Hank ?”
“You bet I do.  And that every Texas Legislator who voted ‘Yes’ for the Open-Carry Gun Law feels that way, too !” Hank retorted.
“You’re probably right on that point, Hank,”  Sam replied.
“Sam, what is wrong with you ?  You have been usin’ Guns since you were eight years old.  Heck, your old man taught me how to shoot his old twelve-gauge right along beside you when we were kids,”  Hank said exasperatedly.
“Yep.  We shot many a deer, wild turkey, dove and quail to put food on the table back in those days, Hank.  Dad doesn’t get out to hunt much at all anymore.  His eyes have gone bad and his hands are a bit shaky.  But he sure loves to spin those old huntin’ tales of his from time to time to whoever will take the time to listen,”  Sam reminisced fondly.
“Ha !  He does that, Sam.  I often find myself sittin’ down and swappin’ huntin’ tales with that old man.  He sure does know how to tell to tall tale or two,”  Hank laughed.
Sam grinned at his old friend warmly, “Speakin’ of unbelievable tales.  You hear about those folks in Phoenix, Arizona havin’ that Anti-Muslim, Freedom of Speech rally ?  It’s the same Mosque that the two Terrorists who got shot dead by the Police while tryin’ to get into that planned Draw Mohammed Cartoon Contest Showdown up in Garland, Texas were supposed to members of ?”
“Yep, I got a call on that one one, too,” Hank said proudly.  “But I had to promise Janet Lee that I wouldn’t go, because of some things she already had our Family committed to do over at the School and the Church.  The fella’s told me to bring all of my Guns.  They told me to get ready to stand around cussin’ out and wavin’ my Guns into the faces of every Muslim tryin’ to enter that accursed Mosque.  It’s probably infested with Terrorists !”
Sam looked at his friend quizzically.  “Good thing that Janet Lee had you committed to doin’ things over at the Church, Hank.  Although I heard it through the grapevine that the Church may be Varmint infested, itself.  You layin’ out traps for that, too ?  Maybe you should take a few choice curse words and your pistol over there and check it out ?”
Hank eyed Sam suspiciously.  “You jawin’ me, Sam ?”
“Now why would I do that, Hank ?”
Hank relaxed a bit.  “Anyways, it was a Marine veteran by the name of John Ritzheimer who organized the Anti-Muslim rally in Phoenix.  He got back home with the War still blazin’ inside him, and he’s doin’ somethin’ about it.  He’s not just whistlin’ Dixie.  He’s is Dixie.  He’s a true Patriot.”
“I revere anyone who has fought to Serve this great Nation of ours, Hank,”  Sam agreed.  “But there was another veteran in Phoenix, Friday by the name of Leonard Clark who organized a Love Rally to counter-balance Ritzheimer’s fully loaded Hate Rally in front of that very same mosque.  And he’s a Patriot, too.”
“Sam, are you gettin’ adle-brained in your old age ?  Just listen to yourself !  You sound like a gol’ durned Hippie !”  Hank spit out.
“Are you sayin’ that only folks who run around Intimidatin’ others with Guns and Hate Speech and drawin’ ugly cartoons of someone else’s Prophets are True Patriots, Hank ?”  Sam asked mildly.
Hank sputtered for a few seconds, getting red in the face before answering, “Of course not.  But we have got to get control of these Terrorists.  We have got to let them know that we mean business.  We have got to let them know that if they attack our Homeland that there will be consequences !”
“And did it never occur to you that their attacking us in our Homeland is because we attacked theirs and helped to wreck it ?”  Sam asked coolly.
“And now we’re busy creatin’ a Suspicion-filled Police State over here in America.  Now we’ve got the FBI givin’ permission to every yahoo in the local police department to ferret out Terrorists in every nook and cranny of every American town.  And we’re dressin’ up our Police and armin’ them like Military units in order to fight Terrorism, and keep the population in line.  That’ll keep the Weapon Corporations in Profits up to their eyeballs.  And we’re trainin’ our Police and everyone else to be Spies.  Gol’ durned 007’s.  James and Janey Bonds.  Of course, everyone’s gonna want to participate in that.  It’s excitin’.   It’s dramatic.  It’s a little side money, that should be spent on other more important things like our kids Education, if you ask me.  But I-Spy goin’s on like that makes folks feel Patriotic and Self-Important and Self-Empowered.  But Suspicion breeds more Suspicion.  Reputations get ruined on a Rumor that may have had its Roots in bitter jealousy or an ugly grudge.  Legally Armed Vigilantes and Posses will begin to run around doin’ Bad things in the name of Good.  And before you know it, we’re all dancin’ and hoppin around to the Rootin’, Tootin’ Trigger Happy Shootin’ Police State Boogie.”  Sam stopped and sighed.
“Hank, do you really want to live in that kind of World ?  Is that the World you want for your Children ?  Do you want to spend all of your blessed time creatin‘ a Lone Star State of Intimidation ?  An American State of Intimidation ?”  Sam asked heavily.
Hank stared at Sam confused and angry.  He started to say something, but instead walked off abruptly, “I’ll call you some time next week, Sam.  I’ve got some things that need attendin’ to.  You know how that is.”
Sam watched his friend walk away and pile his long, lanky body into his large diesel pick-up truck.  “I sure do, Hank.  Sure do.”  Sam turned around, strode up the wooden steps of his front porch and let the screen door slam behind him.

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Emanuel Paparella2015-06-05 15:09:11
Indeed, in a world dominated by a Machiavellian-Hobbesian-Nietzchean "will to power" all duly misinterpreted, where nuclear weapons are branded about and found desirable for political intimidatory influence, where "might is right" are we to be surprised that the microcosm reflects the macrocosm and that individuals too feel that their powerful weapons confer on them power and dignity?

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