Saturday, February 10, 2007
My favorite read, The Sun, has a section called "Reader's Write", in which normal schmoes get to submit opinions, stories, eulogies, and other fluff to the magazine in hopes of receiving a six month subscription. The Sun gives guidelines for the entries, and the February 1st deadline revolves around guns. Obviously, I didn't have the time to get my entry in, so I am conducting my own "Reader's Write" on my blog. Which is entirely my right.

I have held the heavy handled pit of a Glock 23 (a 'safe-action pistol') in my hands several times. When I was not holding it, I had it strapped to my waist in a security holster. I carried my police-issued handgun with me at all times on the job, and I felt its weight every moment. A .40 caliber weapon with an ability to shoot through water and sand is not a light instrument. The Glock is touted as one of the most reliable, user-friendly weapons on the market. It is assembled in Smyrna, Georgia, just five miles from my previous workplace. It is a matte black weapon with plastic inserts, and one can fully dismantle the weapon into about forty pieces. It fires just as (I imagine) a well-lubricated piston fires--if the user is aware of the rebound on a Glock, and avoids jerking the trigger.

I could never fire a Glock properly. My Glock jammed numerous times, and each time I qualified with my weapon, I would lose shots because of these jams. I would "rack, roll, and rip" the weapon until it fired again. I cleaned my Glock incessantly, because a dirty weapon could become a fatal mistake in combat fire. The cleanliness of my weapon did not contribute to my jams. I was advised of my poor shooting stance, my trigger jerking, my line of sight, my hesitation in squeezing (ever so gently) the trigger back, letting it surprise me with its plume of smoke and BANG! Instructors would remind me to think of the gun as the clutch on a motorcycle--all I had to do was ease the trigger.

Ease the trigger. Be gentle with the trigger. Such a silly way to treat a gun--as though it were a human, capable of emotion, capable of love.

I pulled my Glock from its holster twice while on the job, and each time, between the rush of adrenaline and my cracking voice shouting out orders ("GET DOWN! GET DOWN! HANDS ON YOUR HEAD! STOP NOW!"), I feared that trigger. I feared pulling it (easing it) in towards the palms of my hands, and I feared the acrid smell of gunpowder. I imagined the victim of my fire splitting open with the force of the Glock's firing. A Glock entry wound would be small, but the exit wound would be enormous. The blood and the bones and the guts that could be the consequence of this fairly light, dusty black weapon were perfectly imagined in my mind. The State reminded us to 'shoot until the threat stops', thereby nullifying the humanity of the gunfire victim. How, I would ask myself, can I dehumanize a living person, whether he is evil or not?

Eventually, after I was fired from my position, I came to understand that I was never prepared for the responsibility that accompanied the Glock. I could never have co-existed with it as other law enforcement officers do. I would take it home, leave it in its holster, and stare at it. On my belt, it coiled as a snake, silently making threats to children and 'civilians'. When I wore it on my side, I constantly kept one elbow on the end of the handle, pulling it closer to me, farther away from other potential victims.

I have come to understand somethings about weapons. I do not like them, I do not want them in my world, I do not want my neighbor to have a gun, I do not want the bad guy to have a gun, I do not want to ever lay eyes on a Glock again. But I know that guns will always reside in this culture, and I will not be able to escape them. I can only be relieved that I will never, ever have to pull a Glock out from my holster, stare into someone's eyes, and threaten him with death.
Written by FRITZ
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Name: Fritz

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