“Go ahead, make my day.”
That wasn’t Dirty Harry talking. That was his gun talking. Talking real cool.
As a good, orthodox Liberal, I like the usual bleeding-heart stuff — stuff like peace rallies, the public option, Gay rights, taxing the rich and, according to Glenn Beck, I like destroying America with my liberal agenda.
But, when it comes to one issue, I admit to veering right of my liberal agenda to destroy America.
To my liberal peers, I apologize, but must admit, I don’t mind the 2nd Amendment. I thought I did, until the first Gulf war.
I know, I know. This country holds the record over 25 other industrialized countries for homicides and suicides by guns. I know about gun violence. When a high school chum is paralyzed by an errant bullet, when your nephew takes his own life with a bullet, and when your family puppy is taken out into the woods and shot by a grumpy neighbor, you don’t forget the damage a gun can do.
One early fall evening in 1990, a gunshot cracked through my neighborhood and left a mark on this bleeding heart.
Operation Desert Storm was revving up. Live feeds from the Gulf were the new entertainment. This war was dressed in runway garb, turning a bomber jacket-clad reporter into the ‘Scud Stud’ and filling America’s closets with camouflage pants and sexy tank tops. Country music usurped the airways, and suddenly, we liberals were shushed by our own gag-reflex. I would have opted for Cryonics until it all passed, but I was a busy, single parent raising a 6-year-old and working full time.
The evening my neighborhood erupted, my daughter and I were reading a bedtime story.
A young military family had recently moved into the small rental across the street (a counterinsurgency of sorts to the drug dealer living next door to me.) While the dealer sold his goods, the young military man installed new door locks, secured windows, gave their lawn a nice buzz cut, then deployed for the Gulf.
As we closed “Goodnight Moon,” the party next door had escalated to mayhem. Some 20 vehicles had angled onto my front lawn. Loudmouthed strangers sat on hoods, drinking, tossing cigarette butts. The more well-behaved sat on my porch swing rolling joints. I ordered everyone to leave. Nobody budged. I called the police, then called again, and again. No patrol car arrived.
With my daughter clutching my waist, I used the only weapon I had — the pithy vocabulary of an angry technical writer.
“OFF MY PROPERTY, LOWLIFES!” Nobody budged, except the indignant lowlife charging toward me, eyes aflame, nostrils flared, arms outstretched and hands curling into a choke-hold.
I didn’t see the young military wife point her shotgun into the air. But, I heard the undeniable crack of a gunshot. Its echo tidied up like a magic broom, sweeping the riffraff from my porch and yard and into their cars, sending the fleeing caravan into the night. The street went silent.
Evidently, the gun had spoken.