Thursday, August 18, 2011

Officer, Can I See Your Gun?

This story is kind of a follow-on to my last posting. But it belongs more in the the NSTIW catagory.

When I was in 5th Grade, way back in the 60s in Rapid City South Dakota. We had a career day at school. In my class a Doctor, a Fireman, and a Police Officer came into the class to speak to us. The Doc went first and he was pretty interesting. After him came the Fireman. He was a lot more exciting to listen to, and made a lot of us want to be firemen. Then came the Police Officer.

Sorry I cannot remember his name. He was older, heavy set, and showed up dressed in uniform complete with the standard of the day - a six shot 38 special revolver. I have no idea what brand it was. He talked about being a cop in a small town like Rapid City. He was interesting but didn't have too many anecdotes to share. I guess there are only so may speeding tickets that you can write that a bunch of 5th graders will want to hear about.

When his talk was over he asked if anyone had any questions. After fielding a couple softball questions about how fast his car would go, and how loud was the siren inside the car he got nailed with a fast ball from a classmate - "Can I See Your Gun?"

The officer paused, looked around the classroom, apparently noticed that every single kid was hanging on the edge of our seats waiting for his answer. He glanced at the fireman and the doctor and the teacher when they all shrugged he hemmed and hawed for a moment then said "Sure. Why Not?"

There was an explosion in the room as every kid in the room leapt out of their seats. The officer eventually yelled loud enough that he got us all to sit back down and shut up. When he finally got us all back in our seats and paying attention, he explained how to safely handle a firearm. His safety rules were not really spelled out as rules, but pretty much jived with everything my Dad and Grandpa had been teaching me at home.

Then the officer, unsnapped his holster, drew the pistol, opened the cylinder, dumped out the six rounds and put them into his shirt pocket. Then he proceeded to explain to us all how his revolver worked. How to open it, how to check to see if it was loaded, how to hold it, aim it and how to pull the trigger.

Then he told us that we could line-up single file - the room exploded again as students flew out of their desks, toppling chairs, shoving desks and each other trying to get into line. Eventually we were all in a single file line in front of the officer. Somehow, the Doctor, the Fireman, and our teacher were the first three people in line.

As we went through the line, each person got to hold the gun, open the cylinder and check that it was unloaded, then if we wanted to we were allowed to aim the gun at the trashcan in the corner and dry fire it, both single and double action.

I don't remember much about 5th grade. But that day, that one has stayed with me for a very long time. I shudder now to think what would happen to any police officer that tried that today,in any school in this country. I also wander if the students and other adults around would be as excited to get their chance to hold that gun the way we all were?

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