ANOTHER “DUH” CONVERSATION ON GUN CONTROL – GARRY ARMSTRONG

It was an innocent quick trip to the local supermarket. Two or three items and I would exit the place. I was wrong on so many levels.

My fast dash down a shopping lane was quickly stopped. Passage was blocked by a local who always remembers me from TV news days. My retirement is now just about 21 years in the rear view mirror but many folks seem to think they saw me just last night. Hey, this was always a nice fella. I couldn’t blow him off. There would be no quick exit for me.

“How come ya not working? How come ya not covering the news, all this gun stuff”? I heard the questions but still blinked because we’d chatted about the end of my professional days many times recently. A pause for a quick, polite answer.

“No place for an 80-year-old reporter on TV these days,” I answered with a small smile. My friend-fan looked confused. “Remember our chats about Boston TV news and what happened to veteran reporters?” I asked, hoping it would cue his memory. He still looked confused and then agitated.

“Yeah!”, he finally said, “It sucks! You should still be on the tube. You should be reporting the real news about this gun violence stuff. We could always trust you. These damn kids today, all puffed up and reporting crap!” I nodded but my friend-fan was clearly just getting started with his tirade. I took a deep breath and just looked at him.

“Garry, they are trying to dump our second amendment, dammit! Yeah, and the liberal media is covering it up.”

I so didn’t want to have this conversation. Other shoppers were trying to squeeze by or stopping to listen to the retired reporter dish out stuff on the hot button issue of gun control legislation. I should’ve begged off, saying I needed to move on, that I needed the bathroom or my hearing apps were buzzing. I shoulda, coulda. But I didn’t.

So, I jumped into the verbal fray. Bad Garry.

I eyed my friend, “How many mass shootings do we need? How many schools, churches, supermarkets… places like this need to be targeted with blood baths and innocents? So many children who’ll never get to pursue their dreams…” I paused to catch my breath

My friend-fan said it “They are trying to take away our guns, Garry. Nobody is taking my guns, Jesus-Mary! NOBODY is taking my guns. I gotta AK-15, a revolver and…” He saw the look on my face and continued, “I’m not one of those crazies. I’m OKAY!” His eyes were getting bigger. “I got a camp, a cabin nearby where I can be alone and enjoy myself.”

I let him pause for breath and, carefully, picked up the verbal tennis ball. “Why do amateurs, peace-loving folks need semi-automatic weapons?”

The surrounding crowd was growing. People were hovering. The big news everywhere was now supermarket fodder. Not a good situation even when you think you can score some points for intelligence. That’s just stupid, Garry. Still, my reporter DNA plunged ahead to the dark hole.

I amped up my voice, “Why can’t we have legislation that at least will make it harder for whack jobs to get semi automatic weapons so quickly and so easily? Why not?”

My friend-fan shot back, “Hey, I ain’t no whack job. What are you saying here? You’re a good guy, Garry. You know me! I’m telling you. Things are gonna get worse if they try to take away our guns. Believe me, things are gonna get a helluva lot worse around here!”

That was my cue. I said, “Good talk. Gotta go. Take care of yourself, my friend.”

I scooted to the express check out counter and was out the door in minutes. I wanted no more of the “Guns Are Us” conversation.

Someone saluted me as I double-timed it to the car. What now? Oh, right. I was wearing my NCIS rain jacket.

Grab your gear! Dead vic on the TV.



Categories: Anecdote, gun control, guns, Humor, Media, News, Television

Tags: , , , , ,

36 replies

  1. Gah! That whole situation is off the charts. I realize your friend/fan has (apparently anyway) senility or dementia or both, but where’s his minder? Are they letting him totter about spouting whatever comes into his poor head, plus allowing him to remain armed. Shocking. You take care Mr. Garry, because people who are speaking with common sense and reason are getting shot. I have a neighbor who is similar in his point of view to your friend/fan (without the senility at least). He’s sitting on a virtual stockpile apparently. He waits for ‘the day’ when this society finally falls apart and anarchy comes to live in America permanently. He has offered to arm ME, who would never qualify through legal channels. I politely decline because if that reality is coming, they can take me first, I don’t want to be here anyway. I don’t talk about any hot button topics with anyone I know IRL because all it accomplishes is to make someone in the conversation angry.

    You kinda have a unique situation, being a celebrity and being a good guy who people gravitate toward. I’m with your friend/fan on one point: the act of getting rid of the veteran news personnel: reporters, news anchors, anyone who used reason and common sense, was the thin edge of the wedge to this current situation we’re in. Blood, horror, mayhem, and fluff sell, and who cares who the collateral damage victims are. Unreal. Take care the both of you.

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  2. What can you say to people who aren’t listening?

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I read a sobering article this morning by a police officer and AR-15 gun owner. He was asked why do people buy these things, do they need them? He said “No they don’t need them, they just want them.” Ironically incidences, such as the Uvalde massacre, trigger even more purchases of such weapons.He also mentions that frankly the police were outgunned by the shooter, that the AR-15 is a military weapon deigned to do maximum damage, and should not be available to the general public. That is partially why the Uvalde police hesitated to enter where the shooter was. They saw it as a down hill move. This problem is way more complicated than just restricting semi-automatic purchases

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ben, YES, it is very scary. But they have to begin somewhere. So, tighter, much tighter restrictions on who buys the semi-automatic weapons. And, there must be some way of dealing with the NRA lobbyists.

      Like

  4. Unbelievable.
    If an 18 year old walked into your gun shop and wanted to buy to assault rifles would you just sell them to him? Wouldn’t you at least phone his parents and see what they thought about it?
    Obviously OBVIOUSLY … to any sane person … and because of what’s been happening, there should be some Checks. Lots of them. And a waiting period. AND like the ONE sane Republican said before he resigned from the insane GOP Party: Who needs mags that hold 50 or 100 rounds??? Or 10 for that matter? 5?

    Check this: ‘Canadians rush to buy guns after hearing about a ‘firearms freeze’
    https://metro.co.uk/2022/06/05/canadians-rush-to-buy-guns-after-trudeau-proposes-firearms-freeze-16772142/
    “Canadians have flocked to gun stores this week, after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau proposed a freeze on the sale of handguns following the mass shooting in Texas last month.”

    I surely believe in Freedom, but … this has to be stopped.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It must be something about living on this side of the world. Because the OTHER side of the world has (mostly)(not counting war, of course) gotten some kind of control over guns. But here? This side of the hemisphere we are in love with guns. And oh how much it has cost us.

      I believe in freedom too, but we don’t really need to shoot each other to be free, do we?

      Liked by 1 person

    • That Canadian story is just INSANE!
      My supermarket encounter was a sobering reminder these gun folks are very often our neighbors.
      Seemingly nice people until you open the conversation drawbridge.

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  5. Well, that’s another thing isn’t it? Should dementia sufferers be allowed to have guns? Even if they do go to a cabin in the woods to “enjoy themselves”. I suppose their relatives are like minded and don’t think it is a concern.
    I remember when, after the Port Arthur Massacre, the government brought in the new laws and the gun buyback. There were plenty of gun owners who were not happy with the situation but they had the goodwill to accept the situation. They were going to have to anyway but some spoke up to say that they understood why it had to be done.
    Selfishness seems to be the motivation of the “They won’t take my guns.” crowd. They only care that they should not be inconvenienced, not about the greater good.

    Liked by 2 people

    • They are in love with guns and they really believe the government is coming to do something evil to them. They don’t seem to know exactly WHAT the government is planning, but they are sure it’s bad and having guns is going to stop the evil government. It doesn’t make ANY sense at all. These people are addled, but by golly, they sure do have guns.

      Liked by 2 people

    • Tas, I agree SELFISHNESS is a big motivation. And, the blind assertion that “guns are necessary as protection from ‘those people'” is just a mantra for people who subscribe to violence with little or no reason. We’re talking about Genghis Khan loyalists who haven’t read the history of Khan.

      Liked by 2 people

  6. I have no words to add. I’m so sorry there are people like that in this country. I’m sorry you were targeted.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Unfortunately, having been on TV for so many years, there’s no way he won’t be a target. He probably ought to not argue with people who are clearly not entirely right in the head, but Garry can’t help it. He was born to be argumentative. He’s good at it. But I think he was rather upset that this old geezer who can’t seem to remember that Garry has been retired for more than two decades owns an AR 15 AND hand guns. Somehow, it didn’t occur to him that our neighbors would be like that.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Cee, there are no words. It’s drilled home when the words come from someone who seems like a nice enough person you meet in the local supermarket. You expect it from the fanatics, oily politicians and exec suits looking to fatten their money bags. But when it’s ‘the guy next door’, it’s just plain scary. You cannot isolate yourself.

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  7. Well, lucky for you, Garry, that your friend is not a wacko or one of the crazies. I’m so glad that he had to tell you that. Good gosh. Sounds like a conversation (really a monologue) with my new next-door neighbor. She is a nurse, and he is a doctor–pediatrician, no less–and they are not going to get Covid booster shots. No sirree. It is Nazi-ism to have to get them. They are a hoax. Not Covid, but the boosters. I just said I didn’t agree with that, and we dropped it. But I cannot imagine being stopped in a confined space (!) by ‘not a wacko’ to have your conversation. Better let Marilyn go to the store from now on. Unless they know Marilyn…

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sadly, they know both of us. Small town. It always sounds bigger than it is because we absorbed several smaller towns that needed schools and a fire department. Hardly anyone lives in those tiny towns, but they asked nicely, so they are theoretically part of Uxbridge, even though they still have their own post offices and zip codes and don’t consider themselves “really” part of Uxbridge. The “real” Uxbridge without those add-ons is more like 5000 people, most of whom live out in the boonies (like us) and rarely show up in town.

      EVERYONE knows Garry because he was on channel 7 for 33 years and me because I’m the other piece of him. Diversity isn’t us. I think there’s also a Chinese woman and we might, but I’m not sure, have a Native American somewhere. They know me because they know Garry and everyone knows Owen who runs the biggest gas station and repair shop in town. We are all blatantly liberal which alternately makes us popular or unpopular, depending. I think my blog gets read a lot locally, too.

      Most of Massachusetts is liberal, but when you in the middle, not so much. Lots of gun clubs and hunting. I don’t think they should be allowed to hunt this close to houses, but they do and since there are no markings showing whose land is whose, I hate November. I’m always afraid they will shoot our dog — or US. It wouldn’t even be a crime. It would be an ACCIDENT. Just one more gun-related accident.

      Oh well. At least hunters are usually careful. They really ARE hunting deer and if they hit anything else, it IS an accident. In theory, anyway.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Lois, you have said it all. I usually hesitate to offer the Nazi comparison but I must admit that is what I think and I fear. One thing for sure, I’ll be careful with my neighborly conversations.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. it’s a hard situation to be thrown into, especially when unexpected and in a public place. I think you handled it as well as you could and now you’re ready should it happen again.

    Liked by 3 people

  9. I run fast and far. When reason and sense are not on the table, I don’t want to be there.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I think you handled that reasonably well, all things considered:)

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Good on ya, Garry. Tienes cojones grandes- You Marines don’t shy away from conflict. I try to steer clear of these kinds of discussions.

    Liked by 1 person

    • TN, I usually dodge these things but couldn’t this time. I’m not sure coherent conversation is possible with many of these folks. That said – I’m naïve enough to TRY on some days. I can’t help myself.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Good for you Garry. I totally get your wanting to get out of there but I also get why you tried. Sadly it fits the definition of insanity. Doing the same thing over and over and expected or in this case hoping for a different outcome.

        Liked by 1 person

        • I have given up trying. Especially when you are dealing with a guy who still thinks Garry is on TV when he has been retired for 21 years. I think there’s some dementia going on, but by golly, he owns plenty of GUNS.

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        • Tom, you are like me. Same professional background with similar takes on how we deal with people in the real world. Our problem: We continue to think we can reason with people. I wouldn’t have it any other way. I look forward to our next get together with you. The walls are already shuddering.

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