Monday, June 21, 2010

Harry’s Unwritten Rule #001: Travel and Firearms

Every once in a while, I will be posting some of my unwritten rules as part of my blog. I thought it was about time I started writing some of these down. As you can imagine, these rules come with real life true stories. I hope you enjoy them. They may seem amusing now, but they were not at all fun while I was taking the “class”.

Rule #001: Never, under any circumstances, go to a remote unpopulated area with an armed person you don’t know very well. Only venture out into the wilderness with the most trustworthy of people. Your life may very well depend on it.

My reasoning for creating this rule:

In 1994, I embarked on a camping trip with a co-worker. I had several weapons including handguns and assault rifles onboard my truck . My co-worker friend brought a .357 magnum revolver and a Chinese model 56 7.62mm rifle. We decided to go up on the Mogollon Rim near Forest Lakes.

Everything was going just fine until we were driving by the Fort McDowell Casino on SR 87. A careless driver nearly hit my right front fender when he veered into my lane. I avoided a collision and continued with my journey. I wasn’t going to let one idiot spoil my weekend because I really needed this time off.

My co-worker friend got angry and began waving that .357 magnum revolver around. Needless to say, the careless driver and other motorists saw this very un-cool display and became alarmed. The careless driver stayed on our tails all the way to Jake‘s Corner. A DPS unit was on the shoulder at that point and the careless motorist pulled off. He obviously told the officer about the events that transpired by the casino.

A few miles later, just outside Rye, AZ, I observed a roadblock in front of me. It didn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out who they were waiting for. My friend desperately wanted me to pull off on some unfamiliar dirt road before the roadblock. I told him, “They have us, now shut up!”

I stopped for the roadblock and acted very politely as the older officer with the mustache and glasses handcuffed my friend after jerking him out of my truck. I should say ex-friend. He wasn’t my friend anymore. Friends don’t get friends stopped at police roadblocks. After all, police roadblocks can be very hazardous to one’s health.

I was not taken into custody. The officer wanted to look in my truck and I told him to go ahead. They spent the next 45 minutes to an hour looking at my guns and running their serial numbers through the NCIC computer. The officers came across my pirate flag and posed for a few Polaroid pictures. My ex-friend sat in the back of the police car sweating his ass off in the heat. He was looking at an aggravated assault with a deadly weapon charge.

Due to the quantity of firearms, camouflage clothing and the pirate flag packed with my camping gear, one of the officers was convinced that I was on my way to some sort of militia or extremist gathering up in the mountains. I truthfully told him I was not. I was finally permitted to go about my business minus my idiot passenger. He was on his way to the Gila County Jail in Payson.

I knew this guy for a couple of years and saw no problem with going on a camping trip with him. Needless to say I was dead wrong.

This turned out to be one of the most valuable firearms related lessons I ever learned. Hopefully, some of you will remember this story before getting into a car and going anywhere with an armed person you met at work , online or at the bar.

“After a shooting spree, they always want to take the guns away from the people who didn't do it. I sure as hell wouldn't want to live in a society where the only people allowed guns are the police and the military.” --William S. Burroughs

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