Arms and the Man

I hate guns. I don’t have any problems with the Second Amendment, target shooting, hunting, self defense (if you know what your’re doing) or any legitimate use of them, I just don’t care for them.

During my naval service, I was once required to carry one in an official capacity. I was summoned to the XO’s office and entrusted with an important mission- seems that one of our crew was busted in a small town near Boston. I was to take another sailor in a government car to retrieve the offender. I was ordered to carry a pistol because the sailor had been reportedly drunk, violent, etc. My first thought was, what am I going to with it?

Anyhow, we made the trip south. Upon arrival, I asked the cop in charge what my sailor had done to warrant being locked up in the local slam overnight. Turns out he was caught speeding (something like 55 in a 30mph zone). Unfortunately, he couldn’t come up with the $50 to release him on bail (this was near the end of the month). Was he violent? Drunk? Did he resist arrest? None of the above. I settled matters and took him into my custody.

Upon arrival back to the ship, I reported to XO, whose small office was next to the captain’s stateroom. After a short post-mortem with my superior, I prepared to leave. NOT SO FAST: The Commanding Officer, having heard the conversation, entered, with the air of an avenging angel, “What’s this I hear about speeding? At 55, you’re not driving the car, you’re aimimg it! I want this man at mast immediately”.

For the uninitiated, Captain’s Mast, aka Commanding Officer’s Non-Judicial Punishment, is the mildest form of dealing with offenses. It ts convened by Command to deal with relatively minor infractions under the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ). More serious charges can be dealt with through various levels of Courts Martial. (Does any of this suggest a kangaroo court?) In any case, the sailor was found “guilty”, and reduced in rank from Boiler Tender 3rd Class Petty Officer to pay grade E-3 Boiler Tender Fireman. Of speeding.

A quote attributed to John F. Kennedy asserts that “life is unfair”. I should mention that I often drove well in excess of 55mph on the same interstate. I was stopped at least once, but having been an Officer and Gentleman, I was never charged, let alone tossed into the clink for the night.

All of this occurred in the early 60’s (Vietnam Era), when nobody thanked us for our service, I managed to get through a few more years of duty, without having had to fire a weapon, or, worse yet, get shot with one.

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1 Comment

  1. I kind of laughed at this Roger. I shot a few rounds growing up as a teen. A friend of mine’s dad taught us how to hold a rifle. A .22 and a 30 aut 6. Almost blew my arm off. Any way my dad wasn’t happy. He fought in World War II and was determined never to own a gun. He saw the affects of them. He was a strong conservative in so many ways but he drew the line at guns. Anyway great story.

    Sent from my iPhone


    Liked by 1 person

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