Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Our American Right to Bear Arms

Beauty and Reddy were returning from a visit to a well-stocked gun shop favored by Reddy.  For his part, Beauty could care less; he went along just for the company and the ride.  He himself had a rifle and shotgun, and even a large calibre pistol in his closet, all unloaded for safety. But, the fact of the matter was he seldom even looked at them and would be hard put to find the ammunition for them. 

Reddy on the other hand, kept loaded weapons of every type scattered all over his house, from the bathroom to the utility closet and laundry room, and literally, behind each and every door.  He even had some stuffed under the sofa cushions.  He never went anywhere without two pistols about his person, one in a concealed belt holster and another smaller one in a leather holster stuffed in a pocket.  Reddy even had names for his pistols.  The smaller one he called “Lord Jesus” and the larger was “Good God Almighty”.  Reddy joked that’s what someone would say if you ever needed to pull one of those loaded pistols out.  Reddy said he’d never actually pulled a weapon in over 50 years of going around armed, each and every day.

“But,you never know when you might need one.” he said.

Beauty was of the opinion anyone so obsessed with weapons, especially loaded ones, was deep down inside, a fearful, insecure person.  Beauty was quietly sympathetic for his friend’s anxieties, but never commented out of respect for his feelings.  And when a person is fearful, they might and should be considered dangerous thought Beauty.  It was a fact for example, that Reddy’s uncle shot and killed his own sister by mistake with a .45 calibre pistol a number of years earlier, and had served time in the penitentiary for it. 

Beauty carried a loaded pistol in his own car for a couple of years after he got out of the Marines, a nickel-plated .44 Magnum Colt.  But, he finally realized a big potential problem was he was very quick to reach for his weapon at the least sign of a perceived  threat - 3 or 4 times over two years, all thankfully without major incident.  And, that was the main reason he no longer carried.  He figured it was only a matter of time and sooner or later his tendency to reach for that pistol would land him in big trouble.  And, after giving up the notion of carrying, he like Reddy, never found himself in a situation where he felt the need for a gun.  Go figure.

“I’m gonna get me one of those 50’s” said Reddy, referring to a long, heavy, wicked looking .50 calibre rifle displayed in the gun shop.  It was the kind of rifle used for long-distance sniper work by the military.

“What the hell for?” asked Beauty.  “Why in hell do you think you would ever need something like that?

“I dunno.  I just always wanted one, and it’s my American right you know.  You never know when something like that could come in handy.  I think I might call it ‘Sweet Jesus’ ‘cause you’d be sending somebody home to Sweet Jesus if you ever used it on them.”

“Christ Almighty, Man!” Beauty snorted.  “What does one of those damned things cost anyway?

“Bout somewhere between $2500 and $3500 for a halfway decent rig.  The bullets are over a dollar each, when you can even get ‘em.”

“Well better you than me.” said Beauty.  “I can think of lot’s better ways to spend three or four thousand dollars, like a week at the beach with my kids and grandkids for example.  How much you figure you got tied up in guns, ammunition and paraphernalia now, anyway?”

“Nearest I can figure somewhere between $150,000 and $250,000 dollars.  That doesn’t count what I’ve shot up in ammunition over the years.”

“Damn man, you could buy a pretty decent house for that.”

“Well, I have been able to offset a lot of the cost by putting meat on the table through hunting of course.” said Reddy.

“How much do you figure?”

“Well, let’s see now.’ replied Reddy.  “I probably average one deer every two years, say over about 45 years.  Call it 25 deer.  Then figure each deer might average about 60-70 pounds of meat.  Let’s call it 70.  That’s about 1750 pounds.  At, figure $10 per pound, that’s over $17,500.  That ain’t too shabby, is it?”

Beauty thought for a minute.  “OK then.  Let’s figure you got an average of let’s see, 35 pounds of meat per year.  That’s $350 per year off your grocery bill if you’re figuring $10 a pound, which you shouldn’t since meat was a lot cheaper 45 years ago.  How much you figure you spend in ammunition each year?”

“Well, no more’n that for sure.  I reload a lot of my own you see.” said Reddy.

“How much do you have in reloading equipment, supplies and whatnot?” asked Beauty.

“I see your point.” said Reddy.  “Let’s just say the meat probably offsets the ammo costs, or pretty damned near anyway.”

“We’ve established your best return would be about 2 or 3 cents on the dollar for your investment so far.  So now, how’s about hunting licenses, clothes, boots, gasoline, wear and tear on your car and all that, not to mention down time from work?”

“Dammit, you just won’t leave it alone, will you?” cried Reddy.  “But hell, everybody needs a hobby.  This is mine.”

“Yeah,” Beauty said.  “Fishing’s mine.  I figure every pound of fish I catch costs me between $100 and $300.  But, I have only about $1000 tied up in my gear.  I have better use for the rest besides a buying guns.”

“Well those fishing rods aren’t gonna help you much if someone’s trying to get in your house.” snorted Reddy. 

“They must have been doing a pretty good job so far since it hasn’t happened for the past 50 years, and for the 50 years before that in my daddy’s house, and 50 years before that in my grand-daddy’s.”

“Well, just you wait and see.  Sooner or later you’re gonna wish you had something besides those fishing rods.  Don’t come crying to me when your ass is all shot or beat to hell.”

The next time Beauty dropped by Reddy’s house he admired and took pictures of Reddy's new .50 calibre sniper rifle.  Reddy said he went for the upgrade, which only cost a total of a little over $7600 not counting taxes. 

“I just couldn’t pass on a deal like that.  It was cheap at half the price.” he said.

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