Archive for the 'Family' Category


Dad Had To Open Carry At Times

My Father was a career Postal Inspector. This job, still employing less than 1500 officers, is little-known to the general public. It was, during Dad’s career, very different from other law enforcement roles.

Postal Inspectors had diverse responsibilities. They audited Post Offices, did high-level personnel work (hiring Postmasters, firing employees who were child molesters, etc.), forensic tracing of mail, investigation of Post Office crimes – both internal (stealing) and external (burglary). A ‘routine’ day could become very different in minutes.

Every Postal Inspector had a jurisdiction which was darn near unlimited. A Postal Inspector conducted part of Lee Harvey Oswald’s last interview, minutes before he was shot by Jack Ruby. They were not required to inform local authorities of their presence or their assignment. They often did so, when needing assistance. Local authorities gave priority to assisting these officers.

Most of a Postal Inspector’s work was conducted alone, without a partner or even local backup being in the general vicinity. The following is one example.

Dad had determined that the perpetrator of a Post Office burglary was a career criminal, ‘Joshua O’Neil’ {real name redacted}. His pursuit of O’Neil led to information that O’Neil was employed picking cotton in an Arkansas field. Dad arrived at that field and prepared to make an arrest.

The preparation was a little unconventional. O’Neil was about 6&1/2 feet tall, and weighed about 300 pounds. He was working in full visibility with no other workers nearby (they have separate rows to pick). Dad was dressed in the standard Postal Inspector uniform: a business suit. It was hot as hell in that field. He was as conspicuous as a maggot on a toothbrush.

Dad took off his coat due to the heat. He realized that he had created another problem. His service revolver (this was prior to side-arms being 10-shot clip-feeders) became visible at his beltline. If O’Neil noticed him too soon, he would be warned that Dad was The Law.

Dad draped the coat over his left arm and held it against his body, neatly covering the side-arm. He approached O’Neil from behind, aided by the facts that cotton pickers work one side of a row continuously, and they concentrate some because the bolls don’t cooperate like bananas do when we peel them from a cluster.

Dad succeeded in getting close without being noticed, not even by anyone who might have chosen to speak out. He got the drop on O’Neil, ordered him to put his hands behind his head, and escorted him – from a few feet behind – back to the car.

At the car, he placed O’Neil into a posture to apply handcuffs and to search him. You have seen this in police videos. What Dad found was not something that I have ever seen in videos. O’Neil’s front right pocket contained a unique knife. It was big, or big enough. It had the blade propped open, slightly, by a matchstick.

This weapon was a clever improvisation for a ‘switchblade’ knife, which was illegal. It would provide the same function. O’Neil had weakened the blade’s hinge spring with flame. The matchstick left the point of the blade slightly exposed. When O’Neil would draw the knife from his pocket, the point of the blade would catch on the pocket, and it would be fully extended when it came out of his pocket.

O’Neil had met a formidable adversary, and he went to jail.

No person – neither Post Office employee, nor criminal – ever thought that Dad was anything but independent. He was also brave, resourceful, and highly intelligent. He demanded only one absolute from me: that I be personally responsible.

Dad taught me firearms use and handling. He only acknowledged one person as responsible for whatever happened with a firearm. Only the person in possession of it was responsible. Whenever a person holds a firearm, or places it where he remains responsible for it, there is no power on Earth which can protect him or anyone else from any consequences.

Such consequences would have a somewhat reduced priority for society if they were only consequences for the person carrying a firearm. The actual priority is much higher. We do not need to “protect them from themselves”, we need to protect the many people that they interact with from someone who is acting foolishly.

A policeman, walking into a business while in uniform and armed, is not acting foolishly. He is trained in firearms use and situational awareness.

A man with a semi-automatic AK-47 slung across his back, walking into a business while in casual clothes, and pre-occupied with a shopping cart, is acting foolishly. This is an a priori example of someone who is not trained in firearms use and situational awareness.

The several ways in which such an ‘open carry’ situation can, and repeatedly has, gone very wrong are proof that we need legal restrictions on sloppy, uncontrolled handling of high-powered weapons in the presence of other people.

Dad was without fear when he apprehended, unassisted, an armed career criminal. If he were to see any of the horrendous examples of open-carry behavior which we now witness, he would leave the area immediately.


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Basic Understanding

A nation of sheep will beget a government of wolves.
- Edward R. Murrow

Intellectual Property Notice

All original material Copyright James R. Stone 2010, except where specifically noted. Some images licensed under Creative Commons, or GNU Free Documentation License, or unlicensed and public domain.

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