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How to talk right Chap12

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Message Paul Titterton
A while ago an American friend said that in some states you get drive-in shops that sell both guns and alcohol. We had been discussing a news item showing the killing of a guy who had stolen a tank in San Diego, I believe. The tank had destroyed a bunch of cars and a bus, but had become stuck on a bit of concrete (just as well finance brought down the USSR, if this was an example of a battlefield weapon).

Anyway, a police officer opened the turret with a big screw driver (I seem to remember), then shot the driver. My friend approved. A big gulf opened between us. My ex-friend was not violent, did not drink and seemed a decent, peaceful chap. To be charitable to the police officer, maybe he thought the tank could still cause damage, but it seemed murderous to me.

Americans tend not to be ‘feart’ when it comes to firearms. The BBC reported that a fashion in Texas is to hunt specially imported African semi-endangered species. When I heard of this, I fondly imagined a Kit Carson figure bravely stalking a rhino that just might be dangerous enough to put his life at risk. However, the piece I saw showed a man in a reinforced pick up, with a rifle the size of an anti-tank gun, annihilating a totally static gazelle-type creature. I was reassured when a spokesman for a U S hunting group said this was not as sporting as say.. duck hunting !! Since we have found out how dangerous that is!

Guns in the community seem alien to most Scots, who have only ever seen them in museums and on TV. Not me, however. I once visited a friend who had a collection of antique firearms. He had been drinking heavily but was still at the witty and worldly-wise phase. As he talked he showed me some “black powder”.

I should have been alarmed when he got a flintlock out, but I was intrigued. “It whooshes you understand doesn’t bang like cordite.. you can follow the path of the projectile as it flies along…you put powder in ..then the round.. I made this myself .. in a mould you know..”

I suddenly knew what he was going to do. The room filled with smoke, I was momentarily deafened. The smoke cleared. He had shot his boiler. It was dead! The room slowly filled with water and I nervously left as he called the plumber. “Davy drop in for a whisky… Oh… and bring some spanners...I have a flood you see…”

So do they have drive-in gun shops with alcohol?. I don’t know but I imagine a conversation there to be along the lines of “ A bottle of …ah… Burgundy.. and ..let’s see… OK …a Glock 17 pistol please quick as you like.

‘Sorry, sir, you will have to wait 3 days. … But I have an arms licence already….

No sir…you must wait for the Burgundy. It is French after all.”
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'Hamish ' is an antiwar writer socialist- scientist and musician living in Scotland.
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