Control Yourself

May 18, 2009 at 12:52 am 1 comment

Control Yourself

Rocky and I met 14 years ago today – May 17 – in a dark hotel parking lot outside Dallas, Texas. And every single day for these last 14 years, I remember that meeting. I remember his words. And I remember his gun aimed at my head.

Wouldn’t it be nice if, instead of that moment, my clearest memory were of my wedding day? Or even the birth of my first child? Wouldn’t those be nice memories?

No, every day for the last 14 years, I remember Rocky – we didn’t actually exchange names at the time – and his surprise introduction, complete with 45-caliber revolver.

I was raised to shake a man’s hand when his own is pointed at me. I had become accustomed to exchanging business cards if an associate aimed his card at me. But I did not know what to do with a gun in my face.

Had I been armed like Rocky, I could have pulled out my gun at that point. I didn’t have a handgun – I don’t think I’d ever held one. I wonder if it would have mattered.

I was completely without a response to Rocky’s introduction. And I quickly knew that he knew I was unprepared. I think that’s why he wanted to meet me. Of course, he didn’t know I was unarmed. But he knew if he beat me to the draw, he would win.

Gun control did come to my mind at that moment. Like, I sure as hell hope this guy can control this gun. But it wasn’t my first thought.

My first thought was “Holy Shit.” Then “why me.” Then “this is not real.”
What should I do?
What did he just yell at me?
Should I give him my wallet?
Is he really gonna shoot me, like he says he will?

Not “Gun Control.”
But “Please, dude, control your gun.”

These thoughts over and over and over, until Rocky’s demands reached my brain and I drew out my wallet and tossed it.

Lucky for me, Rocky was a knee man, and not a face man. I don’t remember the noise, but I remember the feeling.

Also lucky that when I bounced off the parking lot, the first thing I saw was the license plate of Rocky’s truck. (Turns out, it wasn’t really his truck, no surprise). I remembered that plate number long enough to relay it to the police.

Rocky and I met again about six months later, again in Dallas. This time, fluorescent lights and a crowded courtroom were to my advantage. For the judge, the defendant and his attorney – and for the record – I recounted these memories. I got to look at Rocky as I told the story of him and his gun in my face. I remember his defense attorney questioning – doubting – my ability to recall with such detail all the events as well as the face of his client. He said that studies have proven a “victim” will focus on the gun and cannot with certainty focus on the perpetrator. Therefore, went his reasoning, I could not have recalled Rocky accurately.

I was instantly pissed off at the attorney and the study he had read. I responded, “Have you ever had a gun aimed at your face, three or four inches away?” I didn’t wait for an answer. I didn’t really want one. I confidently defended my recall from six months prior. And I would do so again today. I wish all the wishes in the world that I could not remember so well.

I remember the uncertainty, the lack of response to such an introduction. I think of this every time I am out at night, every time. And I try to be prepared. But here’s the fact: Unless you are first to show your weapon, you lose. Your “right to arms” is meaningless unless you carry it around ready to fire.

Yes, we need Gun Control. Two kinds.

We need guys like Rocky to control their guns.

And we need smarter, more serious, and more trustworthy people to make sure of Gun Control. Because I don’t trust Rocky.

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Entry filed under: Uncategorized.

Oh, The People You’ll Meet, or “Best of Times” Part 2, Great News

1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. dennis  |  May 18, 2009 at 1:28 am

    Uh, wow. Often wonder what I’d do in a similar situation. I’ve grown into adulthood on guard for random face punching (had it), random petty theft (yep), random chasing me down for my bike (yep) and random bodily threats (many) but have never encountered a gun up close. I’d probably do like you and would hope for the same outcome.
    d.

    Reply

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