And they come with no warning,
nature loves her little surprises.
Continual crisis!

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Bang, Bang Crazy - my own story

I fucking hate people. Don't get me wrong, individually I love some of you. I'm awfully fond of a larger number of you. I care deeply for a large number of you. And a great hunk of you, well, you're all right (wink).

Then there's the rest of humanity. Mostly ignorant, panicky, unpredictable, anti-vaxxer and generally clogging up the malls at Christmas Time. You know what I'm saying?

And it's near Fourth of July. I love fireworks… when done by professionals. If you have anything more than a bottle rocket or lady-fingers (do kids still call them that?) you piss me off. When I hear a mortar going off in my neighborhood I start entertaining fantasies of slipping up on these people in the dark and trying to remember the exact angles for an under the ribs thrust, where to target the kidneys, and how to quickly slit a throat. Tell me you haven't entertained those thoughts as well. Tell me you haven't had the thought, "I bet they blow their fingers off, or start a fire." Today we had a discussion at the day thing where people were all too happy to say they love it, that sound of launching mortars. That "thumpt" sound. How one guy watched Americans in Mexico launching rockets on the beach, landing them on people's tents who were camping on the beach, melting the fabric. Fun times. Fun times.

So what I'm saying is, I was a little primed.

After work I went to the Oakwood Village Sam's Club to pick up things for this weekend. Oakwood is an interesting mixture of people. There are some richer, whiter suburbs nearby, but it's right around the eastern Cleveland industrial suburbs and lower-income housing, and has a large percentage of African-American neighborhoods (Cleveland is still pretty segregated, the lingering effects of intentional segregation actions of realtors and banks from the 60s to the 80s). The crowd at the store is about a 50/50 mix of white and minority (mostly African-American, but a good mix of Asian and Hispanic, probably 10% or so). Most of the workers are African-American (70-80%). It's someplace that I am very conscious of not being "in the majority". This isn't a problem. I don't feel unwelcome, it's just something I notice.

(ed note I didn't express myself very well here, let me try again. Oakwood is the beginning of the outer suburbs of Cleveland. The area is a mix of working class, middle class, upper-middle class neighborhoods with richer neighborhoods to the east, farther into the outer suburbs. The closer in to Cleveland from this direction (SE) the higher the percentage of minorities. Just a little north from here, along Mayfield, there is a lot more diversity of population in neighborhoods. In this area (and much of the East of Cleveland) you can find African-American families in all the communities (from working class to rich, with a large percentage in the middle and upper-middle class neighborhoods in this area). The percentages drop a little in the working class neighborhoods (which tend to be the most diverse). However East Cleveland, and it's suburbs, still have the lingering effects of so many decades of overt, and then covert, racial segregation and white flight. Their are neighborhoods were in one block, the ethnic demographics of the community change quickly, even though the relative income levels remain the same. Cleveland's diversity is like a patchwork quilt.)

I'm leaving the club, the young couple in front of me (white, from one of the richer suburbs judging by their clothing and items in the cart, some prepared meals, no staples) is having some problems wrangling their kids to get across the driveway in front of the store. So I'm making my move to the right outside to get around them. Area is filled with people packing up cars, line coming out of the store (pretty sure the couple and myself are the only white people in the group coming out of the store).

A red Pontiac Grand Prix (the trunk is distinctive, it's a common car for this neighborhood), pulls into the aisle way in front of us and stops, the trunk pops, and a late twenties white guy, "athletic build" gets out of the passenger side. He has a gun in his right hand. Small rifle, probably 22-short, lever action.

At this moment the adrenaline hits. Some smart part of my brain says, "this is going down now, Buchheit, you're in the wrong place at the wrong time. They're burning churches, at least one in Ohio." The larger part of my brain is shouting "FUCK FUCKER FUCKITY FUCKER FUCK!"

There's a crowd. There is no cover. A step and I'm around the mother and kids. I now have the cleanest approach. I have a Sam's Club cart (large, about 40-50lbs) with about 50-60 lbs in it (juice and other things). I have no protection and I'm 20 feet away.


And that, judge, is when time proverbially slows down. There's a driver (obviously), I believe someone else was in the back. The car is a coup, not a big worry about the person in back. Guy, while built, doesn't have a fully balanced stance, isn't walking with purpose (he's taken maybe one step at this point).

The plan outlines itself in my head. No time to save people, no place to hide behind. But I have that cart, he hasn't raised the rifle yet. He won't expect resistance so quickly. I take a large step forward, knees bent, lowering my center of gravity and extending my stride. Plan finalized, I have my approach, it is non-verbal but goes something like this.

No chance of defense, offense then. The person in the back won't be able to get out of the coup in time, they're behind the driver. I can't see the driver but can guess their position from the car, they're blocked from seeing what will happen. I have 4 steps to get speed. He won't expect the cart. He'll raise the hand with the rifle in it to protect himself. I can grab the barrel. I can spin it out of his grip, go counter clockwise (pulling him forward into the cart and then away). As long as he doesn't fire I'll have the gun. If he fires, it's gonna burn. Continue spin, butt whip at the neck-shoulder junction as hard a possible. This will stop my spin and put me in a good spot to drop to a shooting position and shoot the driver. Next shot will be the stunned gunman. And then I'll deal with person in back.

I don't recognize the gun. It's obviously lever-action (first ping in my head). I know how those work. Who knows what condition it's in.

Why the fuck did they pop the trunk? (Second ping)

He's not holding it correctly (third ping). His hand is over the trigger guard, he's not holding it by the grip, still single-handed (ping). He's taken his third step now.

Something is wrong. Why is the trunk open? The Washington DC sniper set up a nest in their truck. But why get out of the car then? (ping) Why a 22-short? (ping)

Half step.

There are groceries in the trunk (ping). Who goes shopping before shooting?

He's not moving correctly. No balance, no attempt to raise the rifle.

Stop, hold cart back yanking arms. Probably look like I just tripped. This isn't right. Time resumes normal flow.

Person puts gun in trunk and closes it. I breathe again.

I've stopped in the driveway. My heart is hammering. Every cell in my body is still screaming. But he no longer has gun. He gets back in passenger seat they drive away.

He was wearing a t-shirt and kakis (olive drabbish). Probably works somewhere doing something physical, or used to play football (has a fullback's shape). And I want to slap the ever-loving shit out of him.

I don't know who you are, but, dude, you are so fucking lucky I don't have a firearm and wasn't carrying. You are also lucky that I have some skills left and part of my brain questioned what the other part had already determined what was happening. If I had a firearm on me, you would have been dead, and probably the driver as well. You took off before I could recover fully. Which was probably good for both of us.

In retrospect, you probably realized it was a Bad Idea™ to drive that neighborhood with an gun in the open. Hell, it might have been just an air rifle (although there was no orange tip or cartridge, all black matt finish).

You probably don't know just how close you came to grievous injury.

When I'm around police officers and I feel they aren't respectful of the weapons they carry I want to disarm them. If you're not in uniform, I feel the need to disarm you.

Why the fuck did you stop in the middle of the crowd, right at the exit of the store, to move this gun to your trunk? It's a big parking lot, there's plenty of space at the edge.

My chest still hurts. I'm still a little shaky. I'm having difficulty focusing on other things.

This is why this gun culture is bad (besides the "accidental" shootings and feeding the pipeline for guns to get to criminals). This is why the mantra "More Guns Make Us Safer" is a bunch of bullshit. If you own a firearm you are responsible for it, and for how you behave with it. The problem is, while you may think you're being responsible, you might not be. My guess is this guy thought he was being perfectly reasonable and "safetying" the weapon.

Jesus on a Pogo Stick that was close.


No comments: