Sunday, February 5, 2012

When I Stopped Being a Sheep

Growing Up
I grew up in a fairly nice neighborhood in Southern California. The schools were top notch, the city was growing with lots of modern amenities, and crime was practically unheard of. Sure there were the occasional burglaries, and robberies, but very few murders.

Then there were the occasional tragedies, such as the mid-air collision of an AeroMexico DC-9 with a Piper Archer and resulting crash a few blocks away, but there was nothing we could do about that, preparation and security-wise.

So feeling safe in my insulated little city, I developed a sheep attitude.

"Why do I need a gun? Only police need guns. Guns are dangerous. The cops will save us, right?"

All the while forgetting the fun I had shooting a .22 rifle at the YMCA Indian Guides winter camps as a kid.

Then April 30th, 1992 rolled around.

Los Angeles, April 30th, 1992
Four officers accused of beating a Rodney King, whose actions were caught on video and widely aired on news stations, were acquitted by an all white jury of any wrongdoing. The instant backlash by the black community resulted in 6 days of rioting. Looting, arson, assaults and murder were the result with over $1 billion in property damage. 53 people were killed and countless others injured.
Video still of Rodney King receiving some Blue Justice.
Racial tensions explode and the city burns.
L.A. was about 25 minutes away by freeway. But we could see the smoke from the burning buildings. My family and I were glued to the T.V. watching the unraveling of the delicate societal fabric right before our eyes.

"Where are the cops?! Why aren't they doing anything?!"

Cops have no duty to 'protect and serve' people, not when it's their hide on the line. They bugged out. As a result, shops were burned to the ground, Korean shops in particular. Racial tensions were already high between the blacks and Koreans after a 15 year old girl was shot and killed by a Korean store owner over a bottle of orange juice a year before. (The Commander mentioned in the story was my Sunday School teacher at one time).

Having had enough from the looters, and seeing the police fail to protect them, Korean shop owners began forming their own armed militias to protect their shops from looters and arsonists who were running rampant. Guess who's shops were spared the damage? Congratulations! And liberals say guns don't save lives.

Korean shop owners protecting their shop with rifles.
Video of Korean merchants shooting at threats at 1:33.

Video of armed Korean merchants on the roof tops at 1:13.

The National Guard. A little late to the party.
Eventually the National Guard was called in to restore order to Los Angeles but by then, it was too little too late for many shop owners. Slowly things began to settle down and get back to relative normalcy. 

Okay, so did I stop being a sheep then? No. The resulting riots didn't have a direct impact on me physically, or monetarily. But it did get me thinking. Those armed Koreans did it right. I'll buy myself a gun or rifle...eventually.

Pizza Pizza
Well, 'eventually' ended up being almost a year later. Since the riots, I had taken a job as a pizza delivery driver 1/2 a mile away in the next city over (La Palma) and also delivered for their parent store 5 miles away in the other direction (Whittier). Delivering at night was always a sketchy proposition, especially in Mexican gang filled Whittier. I quickly learned which areas to get in and out of as quickly as possible. I always made sure I parked my car in such a way that I could make a quick getaway if needed and I always kept my head on a swivel before I knew the term.

THE night I retired my sheep mentality was during a night delivery to an apartment complex in a ghetto part of Whittier. I parked on the street, got the pizza out, locked my doors, and headed up the steps and through the apartment complex courtyard. In the middle of the courtyard were a couple fenced in tennis courts. (Really? They play tennis in the ghetto?) The delivery went without incident, but walking back to my car, I noticed someone shadowing me on the other side of the tennis courts.

"Hey," he yelled.

At the same instant he threw a rock at me and missed. It was a Mexican gang banger with his slicked back pompadour, typical wife beater shirt, and baggy jeans. Being dark outside and having poor lighting in the apartment complex, I couldn't make out much more. But I didn't need to. I broke into a sprint for the car. I had the advantage of having a straight shot to it. My pursuer had to run from the far side of the tennis court and around the fence to get to me. Needless to say I succeeded in getting away and back to the pizza shop as fast as I could.

I told my boss about the incident after I got back. Thinking he was going to chastise me or something, he instead told me matter of fact, that he carries his gun with him when he goes on deliveries and maybe I should get one too.

"What?! Do you have a permit," was my reply.

"Are you going to let a little piece of paper tell you that you can protect yourself," he asked.

No more 'Baa...'
Hmm.....point made. Sheep mentality shed. A visit to the gun store the next weekend and 10-days later, (stupid Kalifornia mandatory waiting period) I was the proud owner of a POS Saturday Night Special, Davis Industries P-380. What a piece of crap. But it worked. It was all I could afford at the time but I digress.

Davis Industries P-380
My boss looked the other way when I delivered pizza armed. He even intervened when I was nearly arrested in the parking lot 20 feet away from the pizzeria ON THE WAY to deliver pizza. (Another story for another time)

I wasn't about to lose my life over $20 in change. Luckily, I never had to use it. Since then, I've moved out of that hell hole of a State overrun by feel good liberals, sold that piece of crap and purchased weapons of solid workmanship. 

Although the Sheep mentality had been shed, the Sheepdog mentality didn't begin to develop until after I got married, and then it fully formed after the birth of my first child. And yes, I did get a carry permit. My kids need me here with them. I wouldn't be much of a father living at the Graybar Hotel.

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