Given the state of the state, this seemed pretty relevant. I can look through the posts on Serendipity over the months and years … and instead of becoming dated — because we fixed this or that — or at least moved on to a different issue, we are still, months and years later dealing with the exact same stuff. Our “leaders” — such as they are — are spouting the same slogans and platitudes. So … on the subject of guns …

From March 2016 …

I’ve been thinking about why this country is so gun crazy. The craziest of the crazies keep saying: “The only thing that can stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.” This is, of course, ridiculous.

Then it hit me. It’s our fault so many people believe this kind of thing. By “our fault,” I mean the fault of those of us who grew up in the 40’s, 50’s and 60’s. Our heroes were cowboys. We grew up watching Westerns in which everybody, men and women alike, had guns strapped to their waists. (Dale Evans was a hell of shot. So was Annie Oakley.)


Everybody had a gun. Good guys. Bad guys. Grandma. But, the world was a lot safer in those westerns than it is now — and not because everyone had a gun. Or two. Or three.

First. The bad guys rarely — if ever — actually hit anybody at whom they shot.

Second. The good guys merely shot the guns out of the bad guys hands. They weren’t trying to kill them.

Third. Grandma just shot people in the ass. Usually with a shotgun filled with rock salt.

Okay, sometimes the good guy would need to be little more extreme, so he’d shoot the bad guy in the shoulder (or “wing em” as we used to say). But it was always just a flesh wound.

BAD GUY: “OW! You shot me in the shoulder!”

GOOD GUY: “Oh stop whining. It’s just a flesh wound.”

BAD BUY: “Well if you shot me between the eyes wouldn’t that technically be a “flesh wound” too?”

GOOD GUY: “Hmm. Never thought of it that way. You know, you’re rather astute for a bad guy.”

BAD GUY: “Thank you.”

Another thing. When the bad guy used up his bullets shooting at the good guy, he ‘d throw the gun at him! I never understood this. Seriously. You just fired a few dozen bullets, each traveling at about 1000 feet per second, at a guy a couple of hundred feet away. You missed every shot.

What exactly do you hope to accomplish by throwing the gun at him? Bonk him on the head?

GOOD GUY: “OW! What the hell?! Did you just throw your gun at me!?”

BAD GUY: “Uh, yeah.”

GOOD GUY: “Well that really hurt! Look! I’ve already got a lump! What’s wrong with you?? Why would you do that?”

BAD GUY: “I ran out of bullets.”

GOOD GUY: “And whose fault is that?! If you’re going to a gun fight, come more prepared.”

BAD GUY: “Yeah, I guess you’re right.”

At this point, seeing that the bad guy doesn’t have a gun with to shoot anymore … and all the good guy was intending to do was shoot the gun out of his hand, both go home feeling oddly unfulfilled.

I don’t own a gun, but I took a gun safety course. I’ve done some target shooting. So I know guns are REUSABLE! That’s right! All you gotta do is find more bullets for Pete’s sake — and that gun’s back on the job.

FYI, don’t call them bullets. They’re cartridges. The bullet is the lead part you actually fire from the gun. (See? I told you I took a course.)

One more thing we tend to forget about Westerns. If you went into a town that had a Sheriff, you had to leave your guns at the sheriff’s office. When you left town, you got your guns back.

The Sheriff understood the only reason anyone came to town was to go to the saloon. Which, let’s face it, was a brothel with a liquor license. Letting a bunch of horny, drunken cowboys hang out in a confined space with booze, hookers, and guns is not a great idea.

Even if you were in a town where they let you keep your guns, there were rules.

1. If two bad guys got in a fight, they at least gave everybody a few seconds to move their chairs out of the way, or jump behind the bar.

2. If a good guy and a bad guy got into a disagreement, they would usually schedule the gunfight for the next day in the middle of town. That way, no one else got shot.

3. They set it up for high noon.

Why high noon? Probably because it was the lunch hour. Everybody in town could come out to watch. It also made it easier for the combatants. It wasn’t necessarily easy to get time off for a gunfight.

BAD GUY: “Hey boss? Can I get off early today? I have a gunfight at 2 o’clock.”

BAD GUY’S BOSS: “Okay, but I’ll have to dock your pay.”

BAD GUY: (Sighing) “Never mind. I’ll reschedule it for lunchtime.”

Besides, “Gunfight at Two-ish” doesn’t have the gravitas of “High Noon.”

So yeah, everybody had guns in old Westerns, but they were more mature about using them.

You could argue things were simpler back then. “Things were more black and white,” you say.

To this I reply: “So what? Westerns weren’t more black and white. They were completely black and white.”

They didn’t go to color until the mid-sixties.

These days, everything contains infinitely more shades of gray. With a whole lot of color thrown in.

Categories: film, guns, Humor, Movies, Tom Curley

Tags: , , , , , ,

16 replies

  1. Note to Donald Trump and his people:
    “Tell ’em I’m comin’…..and hell’s comin’ with me…ya hear that…HELL’S Comin’ with me”.


  2. The Westerns many of us grew up on and still enjoy would have been quite different if instead of a rifle on the saddle they had an assault rifle.


  3. I am teaching a class on the American West, and it is interesting to see reactions when I talk about how Wyatt Earp and Wild Bill lowered violence in the cattle towns. They simply did not allow people to bring guns to town. In other words, they used gun control.

    Liked by 2 people

    • And amazingly, the Republic did NOT fall! We were just watching an old episode of “The Rebel” (Johnny Yuma) and the whole episode was about gun control. Sad that we’ve made no progress.

      Liked by 1 person

    • It’s also interesting that the concept that the 2nd amendment meant that anybody could own as many guns as they want with no regulation or oversight what so ever only started in the 1970;s

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Very good point, back in the day the cowboys all had guns. There are a few movies and songs about gun fights at “High Noon”.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. High Noon? Sun should be directly overhead and no one had the advantage of the other guy, good or bad, having the sun in his eyes?

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Hola, Pancho (Tom):
    You neglected to mention OUR series, “The Cisco Kid”. It’s the vehicle that made us iconic figures, legends of the west. Even though we shot in B&W, our rouge, mascara and eye liner clearly defined the sophisticated touch we brought to the uncouth old west.
    The towns we visited were not suspicious of everyone as they were in many of the other popular TV westerns back in the day. They didn’t sneer at our richly decorated outfits. We didn’t encounter any anti-Latino or Hispanic vitriol just because we didn’t talk like the local folks who usually smelled of bad booze, sweat and horse manure. The men smelled even worse.
    Pancho, we used common sense, wit and one or two harmless bullets to subdue the bad guys.
    We serenaded people who were anxious about range wars, cattle barons, droughts, blizzards, depraved killers and demonic renegades. We calmed their high anxiety.
    Our code of justice, Pancho, has been sullied in contemporary westerns and by real life political opportunists.
    Pancho, those dudes who stir up trouble today will not prevail. They’ll meet the same end as the bad guys who tried to gun us down from the shadows of Rock Ridge and all the other towns we saved.
    Hasta la vista, Pancho!
    Vaya con Dios, Mi Amigo Bueno.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Wow, I forgot about that. You’re right. If Cisco and Pancho rode through a town in Arizona today they would be immediately thrown in jail and nobody would bake a wedding cake for them.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Maybe he threw the gun at the good guy to thwart his intention to shoot it out of his hand. If you can’t lick’em, thwart’em. Or something like that.


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