A Tale of Two Terrible Things

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Lots of people carry guns down here in the Deep South.
As a result, ours is a fairly civil society.

On September 5, 2021, a 12-year-old boy in Long Beach, California boarded a crowded public transit bus alone to go visit his grandmother. A 36-year-old man named David Manuel Santana Garcia took the seat next to him. When the vehicle paused at a bus stop on the corner of Atlanta Avenue and Carson Street, Garcia became increasingly erratic.

He punched the 12-year-old multiple times in the belly and head before lifting him up by his shirt and throwing him against the wall. Once he had thoroughly pummeled the child, Garcia left the bus. No one aboard moved to intervene.

Local Law Enforcement identified Garcia from surveillance video and arrested him later without incident. He was subsequently charged with child cruelty, assault, battery, and a variety of other public transportation-related charges. As of this writing, he’s being held on $100,000 bail. Given the notoriously porous nature of California’s criminal justice system, it remains to be seen if anything of substance is done to the man.

Meanwhile, Down in Texas…

Three days later, an unidentified Texan got out of his car around 11 pm at his local Shell station in downtown Houston. A car pulled up alongside, and a young male stepped out. This young man approached the shopper and demanded his wallet, phone, and valuables. To make sure the robbery victim knew he was serious, the miscreant pulled up his shirt to expose a handgun shoved into his pants.

After a great deal of legislative hand wringing, Texas Governor Greg Abbot signed into law a constitutional carry bill in the summer of 2021. This made Texas the 19th state to allow carry of a concealed firearm without a permit. When these bills come up for consideration, the less durable members of society wring their hands and predict blood will fill the gutters. In each and every case, this hasn’t happened. The Texas constitutional carry law took effect on September 1st, one week prior to the incident in question.

Before the robber could retrieve his weapon, the unidentified shopper pulled his own handgun and shot the man in the face, dropping him immediately. The injured criminal was taken to a local hospital and is expected to survive. The shooter was also taken into custody, but has no criminal record and has been completely cooperative with the cops. Surveillance footage confirms he was just an innocent robbery victim defending himself. No charges were filed against the Texas citizen with the gun.

In the Deep South our right to keep and bear arms is well exercised.

Ruminations

My sample size is admittedly comically small. Lots of other stuff happened in both California and Texas during those three days in September. However, these two sordid episodes are illustrative of some greater, deeper truths.

I live in the Deep South. Mine is also a constitutional carry state. I simply can’t imagine somebody beating up a kid or woman in a public place here. If that guy was lucky, half a dozen hairy rednecks would drag him off the bus and administer a little frontier justice. If he was unlucky, somebody would just shoot him and be done with it.

In any given crowd where I live, a substantial percentage of the folks you encounter in public are packing heat. If you know what to look for, you can see it. Stuff like what happened in Long Beach quite literally never happens here.

America is not the UK or Australia. There are already some 400 million firearms in the US. That’s about 120 guns for every 100 citizens. If each of those guns was a 1911 stacked muzzle to butt, they would circle the earth 2.3 times. In America the bad guys will have guns until the sun burns out. In those 19 constitutional carry states, the playing field is level.

I literally couldn’t live in a place like New Jersey, New York, Illinois, or California. Those of you who do sincerely have my pity. Deranged lunatics like David Garcia simply don’t beat up our 12-year-olds here. At least they won’t more than once. The esteemed author Robert Heinlein once opined, “An armed society is a polite society. Manners are good when one may have to back up his acts with his life.” Down here our society is indeed pretty darn polite. To my friends in Texas, welcome to the tribe.

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