Monday, August 06, 2007

Baghdad On The Mississippi

I have had a variety of truncheons, knives, and batons around the house, but I have never owned a gun. My family members were not firearm enthusiasts. I had a 22. rifle on loan when I lived in the county back in the day, and got to be a whiz at knocking the "D" out of a Dr. Pepper can at fifty paces, but I never considered it as protection. My most provocative weapon is a Louisville Slugger that has been tooled and tipped to be a walking cane. Who's going to mess with a guy carrying a baseball bat? Now I know.

When Melody and I moved into our home five years ago, two blocks away from the neighborhood where I grew up, my stepson, Cameron, went to spend the night at a friend's. I was watching TV at 3:00AM, when I saw the silhouette of a large man approach the thinly curtained back door. I immediately thought Cameron had changed his mind and come home, until I realized the man was working the lock. Like a fool, I shouted as loudly as I could, jumped up and grabbed the fireplace poker and moved toward the door. I don't know who was more afraid; the awakened dogs, the intruder, or me. He ran out the back gate, that we have since secured with a lock, and disappeared. When we called 911, our backyard was crawling with young, undercover cops in minutes. This was the east Memphis creeper who stalked the Sam Cooper Blvd. area for years, a thief so brazen he took jewelry and cash from the night tables of sleeping residents. Months later, when a burglar was killed trying to break into a house's skylight while the owner waited with a gun, we were told that this was our prowler.

We made sure our security system was working well and began to turn it on at night, even while we were at home. A week ago, Cameron, who is now in college, came over to inform us that the night before, he was robbed at gunpoint. He and a friend, both Lacrosse players well over six feet, went to a field in the early morning with their gear to practice, when approached by two black men with handguns who demanded their valuables. When the boys said all their stuff was at home, they were robbed of their iPods and shoes. They reported it, but didn't expect any results. We were relieved and thankful that he wasn't shot just for the hell of it.

It was 100 degrees in Memphis yesterday, only eleven degrees cooler than Baghdad. In Iraq, sectarian violence is taking a terrible toll. Local TV station WREG reports that Memphis homicides have skyrocketed past last years' number at this date by twenty, and at this rate, we could top the record 212 murders recorded in 1993. Statistics show over 70% of these homicides are between acquaintances or relatives and have resulted from an alarming increase in the number of personal, domestic, and other disputes, not related to criminal activity. That's an awful lot of angry people out there killing each other, and we haven't begun to discuss the ominous home invasions, muggings, carjackings, and murders by actual criminals. There is a palpable fear and hostility in the air, reminiscent of 1968, and citizens are wary of the next stray bullet and are leaving the city. We rarely go out in public much since we have wearied of enduring the ongoing aggravation of others incapable of civility. After this week's bridge collapse in the Twin Cities, there has been a lot of talk about "Minnesota Nice." People in Memphis are no longer nice.

The argument about the relation between poverty and despair, and crime and drugs, is best left for another time. Never before, however, have we had such a lethal gang problem and underground drug economy. Or a thug-life mentality, promoted by hip-hop moguls to white teenagers, and accepted as reality for those in the city with little hope. The whites hate the blacks, the blacks hate the whites, and everybody hates the "new niggers," the Mexicans. Our school system is floundering while major companies open new facilities in Arkansas and Mississippi. Half the City Council have chosen not to run for reelection while the last of the elected Fords, Ophelia, can't seem to show up for work without being arrested or hospitalized. As a steady stream of elected officials head off to prison, the bedlam continues at Memphis Light, Gas and Water unabated, and the mayor is seeing messianic visions, one wonders if there is a future for our city.

Many of my friends have done more than talk about leaving, they're gone. Mostly to places where the racial discord of Memphis doesn't exist. Others have relocated to the suburbs and endure the commute, while those who are able, hang in as best they can. I can't recall any friend or acquaintance, however, expressing any joy about living here recently. Like many native Memphians, I have left the city for periods of time and returned. After all, this is where my family and my oldest friends are, and I know it's the single place where someone cares a little something about me and won't let the poor boy down,(to paraphrase Chuck Berry). But Melody and I have discussed leaving too. We have a cadre of friends from Tennessee who moved to Eugene, Oregon in the late 60s, and it certainly seems like a peaceable place to exist. Of course, we have to wait for me to paint my masterpiece before we could afford it. In the meantime, we're doing the next best thing, and I never in my life believed I would say this; I'm getting a gun.

31 comments:

Anonymous said...

Randy n Melody,
Welcome to the gun totin' crowd.
I, like you, have been such a pacifist, and a cityboy, for most of my life. But now after being in the country for 8 years, I am a bonified gun totin', camo'd out, country boy. AND I'm ready for war!
It's comin' - I'm sure of it. Life is SO sweet in Arlington, TN. I'm no more than half an hour from anywhere in Memphis but I'm far enough away to be at ease at night. There's deer in our yard and the fields around us. It's wonderful. There's affordable houses with acreage. LAND! Enough room to see 'em coming from a ways off, if ya' know what I mean? Come on out. Suz is a Real Estate Agent and she'll find you a place if you're interested.
Melody I just saw Pete F. three days ago. He works out here in Arlington. There's more folks that you know out here than you can imagine.
All I can say is GET OUT O' MEMPHIS!

Pat

Anonymous said...

My Dear Thrupence,
Coming from Chicago, and residing in LA for over 30 years, guns have always been on the streets of my life. When I lived in Topanga Canyon, in the Santa Monica mountains, just up in the hills above the Pacific, I slept with a 12 gauge shot-gun mounted on the side of my bed frame. It was a very isolated area, woodsy and rustic...but only just under an hour from the most dangerous gang enclave in this country. I always assumed that when the shit hit the fan, ala the riots following the Rodney King decision, that any self-respecting gangbanger would head straight for Beverly Hills or the beach communities to exact their revenge on the rich white community that just perverted their sense of justice...again. But they did not come...thank God.

The prevailing wisdom states that those who purchase firearms for their personal protection usually end up becoming a victim of that weapon...or because of that weapon.

If you're buying a "piece", you and Melody better practice until you become completely comfortable with the deafening concussion of the report, the vicious kick of the recoil, the smell, the smoke, and the finality of your decision.

If you ever pull it, you have to be prepared to kill. Are you?

I caught a kid in my house once. He was a big teenager, but I had him dead to rights after I found the door from the pool area ajar. He was a lot less agitated than I was. He knew he was under 18 and would not get in much trouble. In order to exert my will and insure that he stayed put unitl the cops arrived, I pulled a long kitchen knife from the rack and then held it at my side, in plain sight. As we waited for the cops to arrive in tense silence, this young, unphased punk and I...I wondered what I would do with the knife if he tried to bolt. Did his offense merit the infliction of a mortal wound? Would I stab this kid for being scared and trying to flee? What reprecussions would there be in my mind and life if I whacked this kid for stealing a VCR? What if I had heard him in the house, as I did, and could have accessed a gun? Would my fear, his size, or some sudden movement perhaps, have caused me to kill this kid?

After this incident, my girlfriend wanted a gun in the house. I took her to the shooting range, where they got her fitted out with ear and eye protection and then, after a short lesson, loaded the gun and told her to fire.

It only took one shot to put the kybosh on the gun. Too loud, too real, too final. She passed on the idea of having a gun in the house. Chances are, if you and Melody embark on the same test-run...you and she will be returning home unarmed...but somehow, safer.

Best,
Dr. Downtown

Anonymous said...

Dr. Downtown...get a testosterone shot. Pacifists are easy prey. To give in to felons is to encourage them and cause them to multiply. The only way to stop home invasions is to shoot the thugs. I don't carry a gun and am pretty pacifistic myself, but I keep one in my home and I draw the line when they come into my home. I am leaving Memphis in 10 months. Things will only get worse and worse...guaranteed. The line about poverty causing crime is bullshit. The rural area I am moving to consists of nothing but very poor white people who are all armed...mostly for hunting, because like I said they are poor. And guess what? There is practically no crime there. I know liberals cringe to think that there are actually poor people who do not commit crime, but it is true. A hundred or so years ago when America was mostly an agrarian society and most people lived a subsistance life style, there was very little community crime. Crime is a choice, not an overpowering necessity. We don't have the will to do anything about it anymore and throwing money at the problem won't fix it, even though the Democrats will continue to try.

Wintermute said...

Root cause is abuse of the "safety net." Subsidize rats' nests, and you get a lot of rats.

I doubt I will be retiring here.

Don't end like Lee Baker did.

Anonymous said...

Randy, here's how you afford to live on the West Coast. First you need to make a cheap reconnaissance tour. Go to Travelocity. com and use their Fare Watcher. Post a low price for flights to San Francisco. You can get the cheapest flights to the West Coast by going to Frisco. Eventually, you will get a dirt cheap offer. I got an offer for a round-trip flight to Frisco earlier this summer for $143, and several others for under $200. Get a large, cheap siutcase and pack a dome tent and air mattress. You can take sleeping bags as luggage. Order the cheapest economy car from Dollar. You can camp on the way to Oregon in some gorgeous places. It'll take two days to get to Oregon (or, one long day). Along the way, check out Trinidad, Ca. It is the most beautiful coastal town on the West Coast. Check out Eugene, but I would check as far north as Yachats on the Oregon coast. It is really cool. Anyway, here's what you do. Shop for mobile homes. You can buy a good used one and you can get full hook-ups for as little as $300 a month and you can live in them permanently (if you can afford it, get a lot zoned for mobile homes and put a septic tank and electricity on it). This is the cheapest way to live on the West Coast and anybody can do it. In California, communities have to provide a certain amount of space for low income people. Right in the middle of Trinidad, Ca., there is a trailer park where people live year round for a full hook-up fee of a little more than $300/month. I thought of doing this myself and may yet do it. After your trip, liquidate your assets in Memphis and hit the road. Northern Ca. and Oregon are paradisical and have a very progressive social climate. You'll think that you are on a different planet. You'll love it. I have made this trip a number of times for very little money thinking that I might want to do just what I told you. If you want more details just ask.

Anonymous said...

Well spoken, Wintermute. It is refreshing to hear common sense and wisdom...it is so rare these days.You said in a few words what some people have taken a whole book to say. But, the far-lefties may take issue with you. They think that if you can just give enough money away, all social problems will disappear.

Gregg said...

Desperation is the problem here. When we live in desperate situations desperation dictates our choices. A lot of the world lives that every day. Most of us have been very fortunate and have not had to make our daily decisions out of despair and desperation. If there is a place to go so that the numbered days that you have can be more peaceful why wouldn't you go there. This is not pointed at RJH. This is a general comment about people who would live in an armed camp...if they didn't have to. Life's too short.

Anonymous said...

I love you Gregg, but desperate situations are no excuse for violent, predatory crime against others...like Lee Baker and his aunt who were blown away for nothing but a few household articles. I wouldn't fault a hungry man for stealing food (although food can be had by the destitute anywhere in this country, so no one HAS to commit crime for it), but I wouldn't give him a pass if he raped or killed someone in the process of acquiring that food. There are lots of honorable poor folks who never stoop to crime to get by. I know this because my own parents at one time had apple crate furniture (their nice stuff was Army Surplus) and had to collect empty bottles to afford a soda.

Anonymous said...

Dear Testosterone Touter,

With all due respect for the value of testosterone, allow me to say that it's not the size of one's stones that determines the outcome of a gun battle. I can assure you, that I do not possess a limp wrist or a rubbery spine. I would not hesitate to empty the contents of an intruder's cranium with the business end of a Louisville Slugger if my family was threatened. However, for the uninitiated, the handling and used of a firearm, especially when under stress or while in dire fear...quite possibly in panic mode...this is a dangerous and often fatal undertaking.

If you want to live in the sticks where all your neighbors have weapons...and you and your loved ones know exactly how to use those weapons, and when...then I say more power to you. But, for Randy and Mel, who clearly have more immediate and dangerous security issues...for them to start packing heat under the guise of personal protection is ludicrous. Unless the weapon is loaded, safety off, and in easy reach, in the event of a home invasion, it would be of no use. But, even if it was instantly ready and available, the question reverts back to the issue of who is in the house, what are they doing, and am I justified in killing them? And, even if found to be justified after the fact, how does the life you took affect you the rest of your life, especially if you blew away a kid forced to enter your home by local bullies looking for a laugh?

This in not an NRA debate, nor is this about wimpy liberals who don't have the requisite amount of male hormone cursing through their veins. This is about people without enough experience, arming themselves with the idea in mind that just by having the gun they will somehow insure their safety. All I'm saying is, that the opposite is more often true...the gun they buy for security ends up being used against them, or down the line, another victim.

Machismo has its place in this culture, no question. But when that expression of male ego intersects with fear and guns, only bloodshed, death and pain result. I just don't want Randy and Melody to invite this into their lives.

Dr.Downtown

Anonymous said...

Better safe than sorry. I'll take my chances with regard to a possible down-side involving gun ownership. I would agree with you if the issue was carrying a gun outside of the house. In that case you greatly multiply your chances of something going wrong. But, if an intruder enters my house and I plug him, I wouldn't spend the rest of my days gnashing my teeth with regard to second guessing. My family's well-being outweighs that of the intruder. But, to each his own. It wouldn't weigh well on your conscience if your wife was raped and murdered and you might have been able to do something about it. And I wouldn't bet the ranch on a Louisville Slugger.

Anonymous said...

To those who would shoot first and ask questions later...especially given the hypothetical situation where either you plug the guy or he rapes your wife...let me pose the following scenario: After attending a well chaperoned weekend party, your 17 year-old daughter returns home about midnight, goes on-line and talks to her friends for an hour or so then hits the sack.

About 3am you are awekened by the sound of something moving outside the house. You grab you gun, make sure it's loaded, take the safety off. You know you're wife is in bed, you peek into your daughter's room, she's sound asleep. You creep downstairs and just as you turn the corner toward the kitchen, somebody darts across the livingroom. You spin around and aim toward the door to the dining room, knowing that's where he's headed. It all happens in a split second. It's not until you hear the shots that you actually realize you're shooting. And then is all over. You're ears are ringing so badly that you can't hear you're wife and daughter screaming...at first. There is dense, noxious smoke and the smell is gagging you.

As your hearing returns, you can hear your daughter wailing over your wife's screaming. She is repeating somebody's name over and over. You flip on the light. On the floor, eyes open, but clearly dead...is an 18 year-old boy. In his hand, he has your daughters purse, which she apparently left at the party.

The police come. The coroner comes. The kid's parents show up. There is media on the street. Your wife went with your daughter to the ER to get sedated. They're both in bad shape.

But you...you're cool. It was an intruder and you had your rights. Your wife or daughter could've been raped, right? Who knew it was a friend of your daughter's and that she left the door open for him?

Exactly.

Dr. Downtown

Gregg said...

Downtown lays it out. The psychopaths get the media play, but the percentage of breakins by the truly crazy ones as the numerator over the denominator of all breakins is lower than your fear allows you to recognize. If you really want to ward off all really bad stuff you should stay out of your car and off any airplanes. Worse things happen to unsuspecting individuals there and in greater numbers.

Anonymous said...

How's about a stun gun instead of the standard gun? The NY TIMES recently published an article about ladies availing themselves of a hot pink, compact version, for about $350. I'm planning to purchase one.

Here's the text, from the 7/19/07 NY TIMES:

July 19, 2007
Feeling Secure With a Little Shocking Pink
By JENNIFER STEINHAUER

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz.

PERHAPS the discovery of a Taser lurking in the bottom of your date's purse does not bode well for a romantic evening. But a compact version of the electric-shock weapons — which have attracted ample controversy in their use by police officers — will arrive in stores later this month, and it will come in pink.

Taser International, based here, has been selling its device, one that paralyzes targets with a seriously painful zap, for more than a decade. The device is used by roughly 11,000 police departments around the nation, and is sold to consumers, at a hefty price, as a personal defense item.

In a few weeks, Taser will introduce an item that is far more compact and a lot less expensive than the standard Tasers used by police, though its shock is no less potent. The company's executives say they are trying to capture a market of people looking for a weapon that is more reliable than pepper spray, but less reliable, so to speak, than a gun, and less expensive than the standard Taser.

The new C2, as the weapon is called, looks more like a large disposable razor than a gun, comes in a variety of colors and is $350, all of which Taser executives believe will persuade women to add the weapon to their checklist for the evening: lipstick, wallet, keys, Taser.

"It is a woman's product," said Kathy Hanrahan, president of Taser, who says she has experienced numerous shocks as part of her market research.

Ms. Hanrahan imagines a situation in which a woman is menaced as she makes her way to her car in a parking garage. She points and clicks her Taser at her target, delivering a 30-second shock (the police's version transmits a 5-second zap) and then drops the Taser and runs madly. "If I am going to use it, I'm going to fire it and leave," she said.

The use of Tasers, which deliver an excruciating 50,000-volt shock to a target, has been scrutinized for several years by medical professionals, law enforcement officials and Amnesty International, which says that more than 200 people have died after being shot by the devices. Taser disputes Amnesty International's figures.

Several groups have pressed law enforcement officials to limit the use of Tasers to instances in which the only other choice is gunfire, and to not use it to subdue targets who are simply resisting orders, which is often how it is employed.

The Police Executive Research Forum, a nonprofit group focused on improving police tactics, has recommended that a doctor examine those who have been shocked.

"We think there should be similar guidelines for citizens," said Chuck Wexler, the executive director of the forum. "We're also concerned about the first time a citizen confronts an officer with a Taser."

But medical examiners have rarely cited Tasers as a cause of death, and the company's executives have long held that Taser-related fatalities were instead caused by drug overdoses. They cite the company's record (52-0) in product liability lawsuits.

One study, by a Wisconsin scientist, showed that shocks from the device caused the hearts of healthy pigs to stop beating. But Dr. Ted Chan, a professor of clinical medicine at the University of California, San Diego, who has studied the effect of Taser shocks on healthy human volunteers, said in an interview that the product, "is by and large pretty safe. In general tests we haven't found anything significant," although he has not tested the product on drug users.

As for people using Tasers while committing crimes, executives have designed an elaborate system to activate the gun, including a required background check over the phone. And the device, when fired, discharges a spray of confetti-like pieces of paper printed with the gun's serial number.

Still, law enforcement officials may well take a dim view of the broader population having access to Tasers. "I'm just going to point out that even within our police department, they are restricted to supervisors and expert personnel," said Paul J. Browne, a spokesman for the New York Police Department. "It certainly raises questions to have them in the hands of individuals who are not trained."

Taser executives insist, though, that their product is a humane alternative to guns, and that Tasers deter crime even when they are simply pulled out and aimed, if never fired.

Taser, with a corporate headquarters that seems designed by a writer of science fiction fantasy novels (they ♥ retina scans) began with the idea of self defense for women.

Tom Smith, a founder of Taser International, said he and his brother heard their mother say that she worried about protecting herself. She tried a stun gun, Mr. Smith said over sandwiches in his desert office compound here, but it has to be pressed against its target. "She said, 'This isn't something I am comfortable with.' She had pepper spray, and she sprayed herself in the face. She ended up buying a Doberman."

The brothers, inspired by "Star Wars" and "Star Trek," thought to themselves, "Why can't we make a phaser," Mr. Smith said.

The company's first personal Taser was introduced in 1994 and sold by the Sharper Image, which seemed logical in terms of capturing the gadget-loving audience. But, Mr. Smith said, "It was not where people were looking to buy things for self defense."

Next came a Taser-meets-the-Club product for auto protection, which, he concedes, was "an unmitigated disaster" So it was back to the drawing board. "We got into this to protect lives," Mr. Smith said, "So we said, 'Let's go after the police market,' " which they did in 1999.

The consumer product remained available but, he said, "The reality is it looked like a gun and it felt like a gun and the average price point was $1,000." And so the idea for the C2 was born.

Taser executives realized they had a bit of a marketing issue on their hands. If you want to move personal defense out from behind the gun rack at sporting goods stores and into the hands of tae kwon do mothers across America, where does it go? With car alarms? IPods?

That part seems somewhat in flux.

For example, Gander Mountain, an outdoor goods retailer, with 108 stores east of the Rocky Mountains, said it will sell the C2 with its guns. "We sell firearms for personal defense as well as hunting and target shooting, so it would be a natural fit," said Tim Martin, a company spokesman. "I think that there is a lot of interest in personal defense and safety and there are people who want alternatives," to guns, he added. Cabela's, a store in Nebraska that features hunting, fishing, camping and related outdoor merchandise, will also be selling the C2.

But Amazon, which is taking orders for the C2, lists the product in its home improvement section. (Customers who brought this item are also fond of pepper spray, extendable steel riot batons and handcuffs. Interesting shoppers. Maybe not making the short list for the next dinner party.)

Amazon, after an inquiry from a reporter, said they intend to remove the C2 from the Web site, although it was still there as of yesterday.

Shooting the C2 at a target makes it clear that to be on the receiving end of its power would be something other than splendiferous. After a loud pop and a wee bit of feedback that zips through the shooter's hand, the target buzzes uncontrollably for about a half-minute.

Ms. Hanrahan looked on with satisfaction. "It's not the world we grew up in," she said. "People need to feel safe. We fill the void."

Anonymous said...

I wouldn't shoot anybody in the dark. And in my particular case, I have no children, and no relatives living anywhere near Memphis. So, if anyone is wandering around my house at night, it won't be an innocent bystander. You anti-gun freaks will never admit to any valid reason for using a firearm, so in the final analysis it is a 'to each his own' type of situation. I'll keep my gun in my bedstand, I'll turn on a light before firing, but I will blow away any intruder and with no compunction. Sorry if that repulses the faint of heart, take whatever you want because society has screwed you up crowd.

Anonymous said...

Maybe it's just me but that is the strongest response to one of your
blog posts I have ever seen. To say you struck a nerve must be a major
understatement. I've always thought it a good idea to have a handgun
near the bed, preferably a large caliber like a 357 magnum. Keep 5
rounds in the cylinder and one blank ready to fire. If you think you may
need to use the gun, fire the blank If you see anyone after that, you
need to use the gun. It is a real shame Memphis got like that. I
remember the early '60's when I used to go to Lester High
and Melrose to watch real high school basketball with the likes of
Richard Jones, Charles Paul, Claude Humphries and Bobbie Smith and we
were the only white people there. On a Saturday night it was off to the
Soul Review at the auditorium to hear every great soul artist on the
planet in front of a solid black crowd. All with not incidents. What
great times, what great fun, what a great shame. Stay safe. Love and
kisses to both of you.

Anonymous said...

A liberal is someone who has not yet been mugged.

Anonymous said...

That is a true statement. I had an uncle who was a professor of American literature and philosophy at Ole Miss, and then became head of the English dept. at Oklahoma State University. He was a flaming liberal until he was mugged and then progressively moved to the right of the political spectrum. One of the last things that I remember hearing from him before he died (about 37 years ago) was his lament about welfare bums. There was a time when he was a major proponent of the welfare system. There is nothing like a dose of reality to get a liberal out of the ivory tower...like 32 years in public education, for instance.

geno722 said...

Randy, I hate it, I just do. The title could just as easily refer to my home town of New Orleans. Unfortunately, post-Katrina, the perceptions - and some of the reality - of crime are driving people out of the city... both in New Orleans and Memphis. Sure, we can all just move to the next frontier suburb, next county, next state, but - just like in New Orleans- suburbs like Germantown, Bartlett, Arlington, Olive Branch all depend on a strong - and safe -big-city hub of infrastructure. Let the city die, and eventually the burbs that depend on it will die too.

davethedog said...

This topic makes me laugh. I hope everyone had a tight grip on their dicks while they typed these revenge fantasies. It is always the wife or daughter in danger, but the "bad" person is killed or a friend of the family. Why not shoot your own wife, that is more likely. Or maybe the wife will shoot the the son or daughter. Or maybe Anonymous will be getting raped and his wife will save him by blowing away the bad man.

Hey, the "bad men" could be women. OK, I must rethink this scenario. Randy is getting raped by two women. One looks like Beyonce and the other looks like Pam Grier. Melody shoots them and cuts off their ears to hang above the fireplace. (Go Melody)

I have two points.

#1 This "frontier" fantasy is bullshit. Just move to the country and see what a reception you will get from the rednecks who have their meth lab next door. Just lock your door!! It is so unlikely that the local chapter of the "crips" will be staking out mid-town Memphis. AND it is only your stuff, which is covered by insurance anyway.

#2 Guns are for pussies!! Get a KNIFE!

Anonymous said...

Dave the Dog...I just realized that you are one of those 'fuzzy-thinking', confused liberals. Oh, well, I guess someone needs to stay behind and be the victim that we read about in the paper. I just hope that your butt can take the pounding. You would probably send your kids to Memphis City Schools, too. Do you listen to rap music and wear you cap sideways?

BR said...

I love you like a brother and adore Melody but I ain't totin' anymore, to paraphrase Phil Ochs.

I carried a gun for some 30 years as a cop and always found less than lethal force a better alternative.

A fireplace poker or a baseball bat would make me feel secure. I even have an old stick from the Buford Pusser museum in my home, but no firearms anymore.

Hippies with guns? Bad idea. Kinda incongruous in my opinion. Most guns I saw were used for suicides rather than protecting homeowners from criminals.

Firearms require much training and the will to shoot another human; an entirely different thing.

I choose to not kill, but still live in Midtown Memphis and feel safe despite several similar encounters.

I love my city and refuse to surrender it to thugs, yet refuse to have a gun.

I ran three punks off my street back in May at 2 a.m. I was in my boxer shorts with nothing but bravado and some big shoes.

I acted pyscho and they scrammed when they saw me pop my trunk and come out with a tire iron and a murderous look on my face. Maybe that is an Irish thing...

I would suggest having some Pepper Spray and your baseball bat, especially corked and your taking steroids, rather than packing a gun for home security.

I will never leave Memphis forcefully.

Anonymous said...

There are many points of view with regard to the issue of firearms and deadly force. Again, it is a 'to each his own' type of situation...including whether to stay in Memphis or to leave. I think that the fairest position is to assume that no one is wrong. It just boils down to one's particular thoughts and feelings in regard to these issues....to each his own.

Anonymous said...

I live in Chester NJ. I've never had a weapon unless you include my Dad's sheleighly(?) I've never locked my doors... not once...but I commute to Newark (an hour away) every day and the whole world changes. The parish administrator of the Episcopal church a block a way was murdered a couple of years ago.The streets cry bloody murder every day! Four college students were murdered (execution style) yesterday. My church has that razor-like barbed wire all around the back gates like a prison. So much for churches and synagogues setting the captives free. Our church parking lot is where the NJ Devils Hocky Team is building their arena and I'm thinking they must be crazy as loons. They call me the chaplain of the Devils! What's wrong with this picture? Three times I've been able to 'fend for my self but I'm getting older and anyway bellybumping can't stop a bullit! I cry out for Newark but I mourn for Memphis even more. I beg God's shalom upon our city!

Sputnik57 said...

This has been an enlightening discussion, and the most comments I've received on any topic. I have also withheld several private messages . It's fascinating that my friend, the minister in New Jersey, suggests to buy the gun, while my friend, the retired policeman, says no way, don't do it. This is from a man who carried a gun for 30 years, and must be given serious consideration. I thank everyone for their opinions. This is why I write this thing.
Best to all, Randy

Anonymous said...

A person's world view is rooted in the totality of his life experiences, his belief system, learning, parental influence, etc. Except for very superficial issues one's position on matters of substance (politics, religion, etc.) is hard to change. A person is not likely to read something in a blog that is going to revolutionize his thinking. For instance, one person thinks that it is a great idea that a third party (government) can take money away from one man and give it to another. The next guy thinks that this is criminal. Or take the death sentence, the issue of guns, etc. Few change their views by reading another person's position, because most views on matters of substance are rooted in psycho-spiritual concrete, but it is always interesting to see how others view life's issues. In light of this maybe we can learn to be more tolerant of diverging points of view. Afterall, who is omniscient and infallible with regard to what he believes to be true? Bottom line...can we all still be friends?

Anonymous said...

OK, here's a point of view. Some feel that the home and family are the sacred basis of civilization and that it should be defended at all costs. You don't know that all an intruder wants is your stuff which can be covered by insurance as someone has stated. The intruder may have been in jail for quite a while and he may be horny. Your wife and/or daughter may look pretty inviting. Some of the sick ones will tie a man up and make him watch the rape. Many of these perps don't want witnesses left behind, so they kill everyone. There is no way of telling which variety of intruder has entered your home. Think of the doctor in Maryland whose wife and daughters were raped and murdered. New information released said that these sickos decide to destroy the semen that they had implanted in these women by throwing gasoline on them and burniing them alive. The original report said that the wife died of strangulation and the daughters died by smoke inhalation. The point is that home invasion is a dicey business. One point of view is to give the intruders the benefit of the doubt and let them have at it...just call your insurance rep after it is over. The type of person with this view would probably be in favor of giving the perp a steak dinner and 40 hours of community service, because society has screwed him up so badly. Another point of view is to blow the perp away because it may be too costly to wait and see what he has in store for your wife and precious daughters. I feel that the latter would perform a valuable community service by blowing the perp away. With our judicial system, the liklihood is too great that the bastard would be back out on the street to do it all over again. Again, this is only one point of view...so don't stone me for being such a meanie.

Anonymous said...

This is in regard to the question of leaving Memphis. I am 61 and have lived in Memphis for over 52 years. My roots and my blood are here. Until fairly recently I dearly loved this place. But, there is a time to stay with the ship, and there is a time to abandon the ship. I no longer recognize my hometown. It has morphed into something alien. I now feel that the prognosis for Memphis is terminal. I believe the cancer from which it suffers is incurable. It is a downright deadly place to live and it will only get worse. There is a steady stream of people who have awakened , who smell the feces , and are leaving. This stream will one day be a torrent. Not only is my concern for physical safety, but also for my property, and for the value of my real estate. I am getting out now while the getting is good. I don't want to wait until my property value is beyond recovery...some will be left holding the bag in a dangerous, dysfunctional county-wide ghetto.

davethedog said...

I think Randy is right that this topic has run it's course. A few points to clarify. #1 The scenario where the wife and daughter of a doctor were killed in a home invasion. It is many times more likely (1000-1) that the doctor killed them. Not in this case, but usually the killer is the husband, boyfriend or wife (in Tennessee).

This is why the cops were so pissed off by the "Runaway Bride". She gave people another theory to say that she might have "run off". That was used with little success by Scott Peterson and closer to home, by Perry March. In fact, it is probably a good idea to arrest the husband or boyfriend whenever a woman goes missing and keep them locked up until her dismembered body is found.

#2 The theory that murderers are coddled. Not true and the usual sentence is life without parole or death penalty, even to teensagers. This doesn't bother me because the homegrown murderers these days are sociopaths, who cannot be rehabilitated or cured. Also, the idea that many killers get off on the "insanity defense", NOPE this has never happened in Tennessee.

The real crazy ones are never brought to trial and the woman who shot her sleeping minister husband, this was not insanity. Her defense was "self-defense".

My point is that we are thousands more times likely to kill each other, than be killed from an outside agency. So to live my life with this type of unreasonable fear is not something I'm willing to do.

If the unimaginable happens, I will be there with my serrated combat knife. Ready to add a few more trophies to my "ear-necklace".

PAX

Anonymous said...

Confucius says, 'Fool who brings a knife or a baseball bat to a gun fight will soon be a dead fool'. And, the more one ventures into mid-town or downtown, especially after dark, the greater the liklihood that he will be attacked by an 'outsider'. It's a crap shoot and I don't like the odds. For instance, just about every time I have gone to Beale St., beginning in the mid-80's, I have either been accosted by panhandlers or have been verbally assaulted by derelicts from around there. I always feel that it is just a matter of time before I am physically assaulted, especially while walking to and from wherever I am parked. Sorry to be a bring down, but that is my experience.

DM O'Toole said...

I left in 84. You are all pretty much right. None of us need guns.
I saw Memphis change from the second floor of Rozier Hall at CBC in April of 68.
At the time I thought it was a good thing.
I remember when I couldn't go to the zoo on Thursdays..or the Princess theater ever.
The late 60's and most of the 70's
were a watershed of shared creativity for all of us and (Randy) probably the best years of our lives.
From what I've read...I moved out in anticipation of the Resident Evil that is now Memphis.
That pisses me off because most of the best friends I have in life
are from there...still are.

Anonymous said...

Resident Evil...well spoken. That says a lot in a few words.