Well the last few days I got a small taste of what soldiers must feel when they return to the real world.
We didn't get anywhere near the same Hurricane Katrina that folks in LA and MS are currently getting but the Cat 1 storm did sneak up on a few of us. I knew we had a TS inbound but planned to ride it out. What we didn't know is that FPL would cut the power on everyone in the projected path of the storm. When we lost power in the 10-15 mph winds thursday afternoon We decided to bail to our friends house out west.
I did some last minute preperations since we wouldn't be staying. This included putting up a few more shutters and things like that. We bailed a couple hours in advance of the storm.
Unfortunately FPL seems to have turned almost everyone off and our freinds were also without electric by the time we got there. The same freinds who never lost power in the last hurricane where winds were much stronger.
Well we were there and decided to stay put as the gorcery stores would be less picked over that far west.
We had no AC and a generator to defend. So as I have done in past hurricane systems I kept the firearms close. Always had a SIG P228 in a Serpa paddle hostler (good rig for retention and probably only a flap holster is safer to sleep with) and a MP5 craddled in my arm (full mag empty chamber cause I don't wanna shoot myself in my sleep) with a weapon light and 2 dogs to alert me to trouble.
And that is the way it has been for the last several nights.
And we still had it better than most. At least we had a generator so we had a working refrigerator and news updates on the TV. We also had passable roads and working vehicles so after nights of 4-5 scant hours of restless sleep we still had coffee and donuts only a short drive away.
And in the post hurricane Florida tradition it was open carryall weekend. This included holstered handguns during the day and slung rifles (a SMG in my case) after dark. Few people even took notice, except for those who realized my MP5 wasn't the kind of shotgun or rifle they were used to seeing homeowners carry slung at night.
Fortunately it was a weekend mostly without incident and the most important things we did was scout out restraunts with power and decide what we wanted to eat. Clearly we had it pretty good.
And as I would lay there at night hating the humidity and wishing I could just get some fucking sleep while keeping constant tabs on my weapon I couldn't help thinking of my Brother and all the guys who are currently in Iraq who are doing exactly the same shit for a year or more. In the case of my Brother this includes mostly sleeping in vehicles and not having access to showers and shit like that for 7-10 days on average before they go out again. Which kinda puts my extended weekend hardship into perspective. Add to that the obvoious fact that we aren't getting shot at and the only thing close to an IED we have to worry about is downed power lines in the water and it makes you kinda humble about your traumatic experience.
Anyway we got the electric back yesterday and I finally sleep a good nights sleep in my own bed with the AC on and no firearms strapped or slung to me. And it was sorta weird. This morning when I woke up my first thought was of my MP5 which I expected to be slung on my shoulder. I had a second or two of panic trying to account for it until I got my head together and realized I didn't sleep with it. As I've been cleaning the house this morning everytime I get up to move to another room I reach for it and realize I'm not still toting it from room to room like I have for the past few days.
And then I wonder how guys who have been doing that kinda shit for a year or more in Iraq gear down. And then I hope the guys who are currently suffering under Katrina are doing ok given the situation they are in. I hope they can at least find coffee and donuts somehow.
Its a weird syndrome. After GW1 we were ramping down and preparing to transition outta country (SA) and back to the US. All the normal procedures, packing, chunking trash and prep'ing vehicles for return. Then came our 'flight window'. Once we knew we were inbound for the airport, we had to check in our weapons with the armory. I was on advanced party back home, thanks to my MOS and was very ready to come home. But nothing prepared me for having to "up" my A2. It was the weirdest feeling I've ever had for an inanimate object. I didn't want to let it go. I felt naked. Like there was something missing from me. An empty hole. All the Marine Corps policy; "Everyman a Rifleman" and "Never let your weapon outta sight" was suddenly out the window. We didn't have any say in the matter and gladly traded it for a flight home, but till this day I still get hollow feelings of that day and having to give it up. After being in that kinda 'ramped up' environment for upwards of a year and then they take your weapon.....is nothing short of an eery feeling.
I get that feeling when I head from AZ to visit family in WI, and that's only CCW! I can't imagine what it's like to lose/turn in a duty firearm after keeping it nearby for so long in an emergency/disaster situation.....
I've had a gun no further away than my car for just about the whole last 18 years. I can't imagine what it would be like to be totally unarmed somewhere. It's one reason I am not all fired up to take vacations in other countries.
One of my friends who came back from Iraq last year bought an AR-15, configured it as closely to his service rifle as he could, and slept with it within arm's reach for this very reason. Every since he left, he just felt "wrong" not having his rifle with him at all times and got the gun to make the creepy feeling go away.
He said that on two or three occasions he'd wake up from a nightmare (he only got in one firefight and it lasted all of ten minutes, but he said it was more than enough for him) and wouldn't be able to sleep again unless he could feel the rifle next to his bed. Once he'd run his hand over the grip and the magazine to ensure it was there, loaded, and ready, he could go back to sleep. After the two or three incidents, it didn't happen again and he's moved on to keeping the AR under the bed rather than leaning against the headboard in ready position.
Never did hear what his wife thought of the practice.
I know the feeling. Once in a while I will leave the house in the morning without my CW, and feel paranoid all day. Especially on the roads, around other drivers.
CW is like a wallet for me nowadays, I check for it subconsciously every five seconds or so. When I don't feel it there I always have a moment of panic.
This is how everybody should be. Like in Israel.
Having done it a few weeks every year I can honestly say I don't agree.
Israel has very stringent gun laws.
Jews For The Preservation of Firearms Ownership, Inc.
P.O. Box 270143
Hartford, WI 53027
Phone (262) 673-9745
Fax (262) 673-9746
Many have asked about the easy availability of firearms in the State ofIsrael, and whether or not they can bring their guns with them whenvisiting or settling there. Some have visited Israel, or have seenphotographs of people walking the streets in Israel carrying firearms.Nearly everyone interested in the preservation of the Second Amendmentin America points to Israel as proof of how ordinary citizens, armed andtrained, are a deterrent to crime and terrorism. And it's true! However,a quick glance at the rigid gun laws in Israel will show that it has farstricter firearms laws than many people, including myself, previouslythought. Enjoy reading the translation as much as I enjoyed translatingthe document!
Rabbi R. Mermelstein
The Israel Dept. of the Interior makes notification to the generalpublic the requirements necessary for the obtaining of a permit topossess a firearm:
1. Applicant must be a permanent resident of Israel for 3 consecutiveyears prior to making application for a firearms permit.
2. Applicant years of age.
3. The permit request must be for personal use, not to engage in thebusiness of firearms sales.
4. Applicant must fall into one of the following categories:
a. Part-time reservist (volunteer) for 3 years- may own 1 handgun
b. Such a reservist (volunteer) is a member of a gun club- may own 1rifle
c. Professional, licensed public transportation driver, transportinga minimum of 5 passengers- may own 1 handgun
d. Licensed animal control officer- may own 2 hunting rifles, *not*full automatic weapons, or semi-automatic weapons with a limitedcapacity magazine.
e. Full-time dealer of jewelry or large sums of cash or valuables-may own 1 handgun
West Bank and Gaza Strip Settlers:
1. A resident in a militarily strategic buffer zone, essential to thesecurity of the State of Israel- may own 1 handgun
2. A business owner in these geographic areas- may own 1 handgun
1. Veterans of the Regular Army honorably discharged with the rank ofnoncommissioned officer, and veterans of the Reserve Army with the rankof regimental commander- may own 1 handgun
2. Retired law enforcement officers with the rank of sergeant- may own 1handgun
3. Retired prison guards with the rank of squadron commander- may own 1handgun
Upon presenting documentation that one is about to receive a souvenir, aprize, an inheritance, or an award of appreciation from the Israelmilitary.
Yeah it makes no sense especially with their history and current situations. But their socialists it does not have to make sense. I thought I wanted to go their at one time but that changed.