My Gun Control Conclusion

The dining car was almost empty so I had a table all to myself. I ordered the biggest steak on the menu. Uncle Sam was still picking up the tab. I refused wine and took coffee. I was on duty. I forgot my paperback, so I sat back and watched the scenery pass, and thought about Sergeant Calvin C. Crowe. He represented a type of paratrooper I hoped was the exception and not the rule.

When I first thought about joining the Airborne, back in basic, I was hoping it would be my ticket to go overseas to Germany, instead of ending up like so many peace time GI’s in Frozen Chosen, aka South Korea. I had heard rumors of the 11th being disbanded and Crowe’s remark pretty much convinced if I made it through jump school, I would be in Fort Bragg, North Carolina – for my duration.

The steak and two pieces of apple pie ala mode were good but they didn’t keep me from thinking about my future. Maybe I should have joined my two high school buddies and enlisted in the Navy, even if the hitch was for four years. See the world and not have to do a silly thing like jumping out of airplanes. 

I didn’t want to, but I had to go back to our cabin. I didn’t meet anybody on the way and the rumble of the train reminded me of the Hitchcock movie where the old lady vanishes on the train.

I stood in front of the door. I don’t know if it the funk I was in, or if I saw too many cowboy movies, or if I thought I could hear snoring; but whatever, I unsnapped my holster and pulled out the ‘45. I checked to make sure it was locked and loaded and slowly pushed down the door handle, using my left hand. Then I pushed the door open quickly. The gun pointed straight ahead.

Damn! I was staring right into the eyes of Billy the Kid. He was standing by the table. He was holding a ‘45 pistol. In my side vision I saw Sergeant Calvin C. Crowe asleep on the lower bunk. He was snoring.

I realized that my thumb was pressing on the safety, my finger pressing against the stiffness of the trigger. I also realized I was staring down a barrel of destruction. Not that I thought the lad had any idea of shooting me ; but his eyes told me he was scared and might shoot me in fright, and I wasn’t going to let that happen if I could help it.

Oh, Billy,’ I said to myself. ‘Oh, Billy, don’t press down on that safety lever. Please. Please don’t.’

What seemed like a long, long time was over in a few seconds. The kid hollered, ‘No! No!’ and he threw the weapon down. It hit the table with a loud crash and bounced to the floor.

Crowe broke out of his nap and sat upright. It took him a couple double-takes to realized what had happened and he quickly dove for his weapon, all the time shouting ‘F@#k! F@#k!

Crowe’s swearing and Billy’s crying brought me back to my senses and I stuck my weapon back in the holster and picking up my paperback off the chair seat, sat down and opened it pretending to read. My mind did not register on the print but gripping hard on the book hid the shaking of my hands. I just kept thinking over and over how close I came to pulling the trigger.

What a trio!

A teenager from the tough streets of Philly trying to explain between sobs that all he did was take the gun off the sergeant’s belly because the man was sleeping, and he was afraid it would fall on the floor. ‘I just was looking at it. I wasn’t going to do nothing with it. Just looking, honest.’

The man in charge, a rodeo rider from Calgary, mumbling the same apology over and over. ‘I didn’t sleep very good last night. I never thought I would fall asleep though. I don’t think I was out very long. Not very long.’

And me, fresh out of Basic and an Army school, a small-farm lad from Minnesota, only a few months out of my teenage years, trying to look calm by trying to read a book. I must have carried my act off because the other two believed it. If they only really knew that I might have been the most shook-up of the trio. ‘Why don’t both of you go down to the dining car and have some chow? Do you good.’

They both claimed they weren’t hungry; but it would be a long time before they could eat again, so I pulled the porter’s cord and ordered two cheeseburger baskets and a couple cokes. For a couple of guys who weren’t hungry, they sure wolfed down the food as soon as it came.

Crowe said that he needed a real drink as he finished off his coke. I reminded him he was on duty and he muttered about falling asleep on duty.

I worked my ass off for these stripes,’ he whined, ‘And now…Blink of an eye and I lose them. Hell, they might even slick-sleeve me. Kick my ass back to Canada. Who knows.

I don’t blame you, Ostertag. When you write the report you got to…’

Whoa there, Mister Sergeant. When I write the report? I’m not top- rank here. When you write the report…’

Yeah, you’re right. When I write the report.’

Well,’ I said, ‘The report should be be short and sweet. Mission accomplished. Boring trip. Nothing happened.’

‘What you mean…?

What I mean, sergeant,’ I said, ‘The report should reflect it was a boring trip, nothing happened. You go off on some tangent to say something happened, but nothing came of it, and the three of us will spend more days in Repo while the Army red tapes the whole thing only to find out nothing happened.

‘Just let the three of us get on with our lives. The kid wants to go home. You want to get to town and buy your new Hog. And I want to go to jump school.’ And if they really believed that, I should have won an award for acting.

Crowe reverted to his normal egotistical persona. He handcuffed himself to our desperado before we exited the train and pushed Billy into the back seat of the MP car that met us at the depot. I got in the front like before.

Piece of cake, Sarg. Piece of cake,’ he assured the driver, who hadn’t asked us how things went. ‘Sarg, did you have to go to a special school to get in the MP’s?’ The sergeant said he enlisted to be an MP and volunteered airborne at the school.

We were dropped off at MP HQ and Billy was whisked away to the stockade without being able to say goodbye. After we checked out and waited for the jeep to go back to Repo barracks Crowe asked the desk MP about putting in for a transfer to the MP’s. He said he thought he would make a good one. And he had the wings and rank already. ‘And,’ he added, ‘Experience.’

Yeah,’ the top NCO said,’You got it all, don’t you?’ He looked at me and asked if I wanted to transfer also.

I’ll pass,’ I said, quickly.

The next week I was busting tail in jump school. About midweek, Patricio, the mail clerk intercepted me when I came in the barracks to tell me some kid had  come to the barracks to say thanks and goodbye to me.

Must have made a hell of an impression on him,’ Pat said, smiling, ‘When I told him you were in jump school, he said he would lay odds you graduated first time cause you are some baaaaad ass.’

Billy the Kid also promised he’d look me up when he was old enough to enlist again. He left a piece of paper with his address in Philadelphia in case I get up there. He said he wanted to fix me up with his good looking sister.

I never heard from William P. Fuller again. And I sure wasn’t going to reup just to hang around to see him, if he ever did come back.

As far as Mr. All- Canada was concerned, I saw him once from across Slave Market Street in Fayetteville. I waved, and I knew he saw me; but he ducked in the nearest bar to avoid me. I didn’t bother to cross over and follow him in the bar; although I really would have liked to rub it in his face that I not only got my wings, I got them on the first try in the jump school. So much for his prediction that I would have a hard time to make it.

A few weeks prior to my getting my discharge, there was a Division rodeo competition. I went hoping to see if Crowe was as good a bronc rider as he bragged he was. I was disappointed when he wasn’t one of the competitors. I did see him though as I rode my motorcycle out of the parking lot. He and several other MP’s were waving their night sticks around conducting traffic. He did transfer to the MP’s. His ‘experience’ must have been the tipping point to get accepted.

When I got back home I got rid of all my guns, three long ones used for hunting, one hand gun used to try and hit the broad side of the barn. Never missed not having them. Hunting wasn’t the same anymore. My old hunting grounds were suburban lawns. Besides after my experience with Billy the Kid, shooting an unarmed Bambi or Thumper would not be much of a challenge. After all I had faced ‘the most dangerous game’.

For several years after I had the occasional dream of staring at the barrel of that gun, seeing the look in that kid’s eyes. I still think of how close three people came within a hair from having their lives changed – for the worse.

And I am eternally thankful that I managed to use my gun control to prevent it from happening.

And that’s a wrap


Today problems are black and white. There seems to be no gray area, no compromise. It seems the only time our law makers can agree is when there is a country to be invaded or to vote to take away our fundamental rights, like enacting the Patriot Act, that almost all the signers agreed they never bothered to read.

Yet, there is a threat of rebellion if there is any intrusion on the right for a well regulated militia or any dehorn with money at a gun show to bear any type of arms that the NRA lobbies for. And yet, there was little outcry when our votes were usurped by crooked voting machines and even the Supreme Court. Or when said Court declared that corporations have the same rights as an individual. And the ice keeps melting on the poles. 

What a world we’re leaving to our children and grandchildren!

Here’s a few views that I wrote over the past several months that come from as far left field as the original thinking that spawned them.

Both Rand Paul and the NRA want to arm teachers.

I tried to think back at all the teachers in my life for one that I think could have handled being armed.
The only one is could come up with was old, old Sister Damacia, who taught me in sixth grade in St. Francis. (She also taught my dad.) That old gal could whip out that piece of rubber hose out of her sleeve, hit you upside the head, and put it back before you could even see it coming. At her age, you sure couldn’t compare her to Billy the Kid, although she could probably outdraw him. The hair on her chin reminded me of Buffalo Bill. But he was never known for his quick draw. But, then too, she always dressed in black like an old time gunfighter. Now, if that was a gun up her sleeve, instead of a rubber hose, she’d be a natural to arm.

Of course, the problem would be her eyes. Even with the coke-bottle glasses, she really couldn’t see very far. If someone acted up, and she wasn’t sure of who did it; she just whopped the kid closest to her. So maybe, like 99.9% of the teachers I ever had, I wouldn’t consider her someone I would want to be carrying a gun in the schoolroom.

Maybe they should zero in on arming the janitors instead. A mop bucket would be a good hiding place for an Uzi. Or better still, get the gun makers to manufacture an assault rifle in the shape of a mop.

If I had a bicycle, and rode my bicycle, not only would I not ride my bicycle, I would recycle my bicycle in the trash after reading the letter in which the Republican head of Washington State’s transportation committee states that people riding bikes cause more pollution than cars.
He points out that sweating people riding bikes produce CO2, a greenhouse gas that pollutes the air. I guess that during the annual Bike across Iowa each year, the participants should be sucking on oxygen masks instead of beer bottles.

And then there is the quote by the role model of the Republicans, President Ronald Reagan, who said in 1981,’ Trees cause more pollution that automobiles.’ After hearing that, I wanted to go out and chop down all the trees at my place. It just goes to say that the natural world is more dangerous to our breathing than the man-made world.
And then there’s the methane gas that is expelled by cows as they digest their food. They create oodles of methane gas that is not only a major source of pollution, it is also dangerous. I remember when the Taylor twins burned their dad’s barn down when they were lighting cow farts. That’s the truth, can’t make up things like that.

I heard that they stripped the ban of assault rifles and large magazines from the purposed Gun Control Bill for MN. They must have read some of the articles in defense of these weapons for the average homeowner. There is one in particular that I remember. It was written by the chief lobbyist for the assault rifle manufacturers, who incidentally has his office a few miles from Sandy Hook Elementary. While he agrees assault rifles have no use in hunting and little use in precision target shooting, they are a must to defend us during the upcoming Zombie Apocalypse.
So if the perfusion of these guns cause you to fear going to the movies, don’t go! Wait and buy the DVD! If you shudder each time you send your children off to school, don’t send them! Home School them!
We must sacrifice certain aspects of ‘life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness’, in order to have a ‘well regulated militia’ bearing arms, capable of winning the battles of the Zombie Apocalypse. It is our Constitutional Right!


Recently, a 3 year shot and killed a woman at a picnic. The gun was owned by a deputy sheriff. Two days later a 4 year old shot and killed a 6 year old playmate. Regardless of the 2nd Amendment, regardless of the NRA, regardless of pro or anti gun control arguments, babies should not be shooting guns. Any SOB that disrespects the power of a gun and leaves it unprotected so anybody, even a baby, can play with it, has no right to own a gun.

Yesterday, a 5 year old shot and killed his 2 year old sister with a 22′ rifle that was given to him as a gift. It was kept in a corner, and the family said they didn’t think it had a shell in it. It was a model ‘especially made for children’. Well, it’s only a 22′!
A 22′, at a 34 degree angle, can propel a bullet l.5 miles. It is a powerful weapon! And gun manufacturers make models for babies! And it is sold to S.O.B.’s who allow it to be stored, standing up in a corner.
Yesterday also, a ‘concerned’ parent started proceedings to have ‘The Diary of Anne Frank’ banned from schools. Too bad important books don’t have a lobby like the NRA to protect them.