Thank God for Guns

I work at a prison, in the city. It’s not the biggest city ever, and it isn’t the biggest prison ever. In fact, it’s one of the smallest ones in the state. The main point of this prison is to house the worst of the worst that the state has to offer. As you may suspect, this leads to some hair-raising situations, and I’ve seen many. However, last night was a new one on me, because the threat wasn’t from the inmates, we’re prepared for that, this threat was from an area where we have no jurisdiction or authority, the community.

Correctional Officers don’t tend to have many fans. Most citizens never think about us, and those who we come in contact with regularly tend to wish they were somewhere else. Yep, no one wants our job and even we would like to see the need for our job diminish. It’s one of those thankless endeavours that I have built my life around. I do patrol on the graveyard shift.

We had just settled in to work another night when the radio lit up. Talk of needing medical personnel, a stretcher, and an ambulance. Here we go again. After some doing, we eventually had the ambulance on the compound and a crew of people ready to take an inmate to the hospital. All that went fine, but when our officer was on his way back from the hospital is where things went wrong…

A voice came over the radio saying “central control, you’ll need to send someone out to get me, my vehicle broke down. I’m in a bad neighborhood”. I’ll have the change the names of the places and people here for privacy reasons. We’ll say this guy’s name is “Officer Black”.

Then a voice answered. We’ll call him “Sgt. Gray”, “Yeah, 10-4 Officer Black, we’ll send another vehicle out as soon as possible”. All seemed pretty normal, after all, state vehicles break down sometimes. Several minutes passed.

“Hey, I’m in a really bad neighborhood, you need to send someone quick, I’ve got a lot of eyes on me right now” Officer Black said, sounding a little more panicked than before. “Yeah 10-4. Officer White, are you on the way?” Sgt. Gray asked. “Yes, I’m on the way now, I should be there in about 15 mike” Officer White said as he drove off with a state issued van. “Hey you’ve got the shotgun with you right, Officer Black”? Sgt. Gray asked, “10-4 Sarge” was the answer. Several more minutes passed. Sgt. Gray told central control to try to get a wrecker from the Department of Transportation to go to “South Street” to pick up the vehicle.

By this time we were hanging on the radio to hear how things were developing. From the sound of it, it wasn’t going well. Every minute or so the calls from Officer Black became more frantic. “Hey Sarge, more people are showing up” followed by “These guys are armed, get here fast”. At this point, Sgt. Gray informed Officer Black that there was no wrecker to be found at this time of night and to stay calm, we’re calling the police. Meanwhile, a crowd of 10 to 15 people had formed around our officer and were closing in. Each minute seemed like an hour as we did all we could do, listen and wait.

Apparently, the crowd became violent. Officer Black was forced to take action. He evacuated the vehicle with the shotgun, and instructed the crowd to disperse. “Central control, tell metro that I’m armed, these people are armed and they’re not backing down”. Was the next nervous call we heard. The hoard refused to comply, they knew that this officer was alone, that he was from the prison and didn’t have the authority to arrest them. However, they didn’t know if he had the authority to use that shotgun to defend his own life… He did have that authority, and it looked like he might have to use it. Metro was called again, but there were no blue lights in sight.

Things were looking bad for Officer Black as the mob grew more brave, but at that moment, Officer White showed up. The people scattered. “Central, this is Officer White, I’m here and it looks like everyone is headed back inside”. We all cheered, thinking that things were finally safe. Officer White had brought a can of gas and a set of jumper cables to try to get the vehicle working again. Things were looking up… Until the crowd saw that Officer White was unarmed… Either way, the presence of Officer White had changed the dynamic of the situation. The mob saw things in a different light now, but they still weren’t happy at the appearance of prison officers in their neighborhood. Slowly, things started going south again as the crowd assembled once more.

After a few more moments, to our horror, there were now two panicked voices calling for assistance. “This is getting serious guys, get metro out here now, we’re like sitting ducks!” Officer White shouted on the radio. The only thing they could do was cling to that shotgun, and hope help arrived. Sgt. Gray instructed them to stay in their vehicles until the police arrived, then try to put gas in the vehicle or jump start it when the police have secured the area. Little did we know, it would be another half hour before the police would get there as they were held up on another crime on “North Street”.

Several more tense minutes passed, I was now wondering why they don’t have convoy training at the academy and debated trying to explain to them what a box formation was and how to do 360 degree security. It’s hard to do all that with only two vehicles and one gun though. Eventually, there was no getting around it. The armed members of the crowd were back and our officers had to take action since help was just too far away. It’s a good time to note that they weren’t out in some remote area, they were in the middle of a sub-industrial part of one of the largest cities in the state. Officer Black held the mob (About 20 people by now) at bay with the gun again while White tried to get the vehicle running. Unfortunately, it was broke hard and still wouldn’t start.

Luckily, as the crowd was about to try to take the two in a rush, blue lights flashed down the street. The police were here! Well, one was there anyway, but that was enough. In an instant, the crowd was gone, and order was restored. The police called their wrecker to tow the vehicle back to the prison and everyone got back safe.

Situations like this is the reason I choose to carry a gun when I’m off duty. You never know when you’ll be thrust into a bad situation, and in this case, if it wasn’t for that one shotgun, our man Officer Black would have been skinned alive long before help could get to him. No matter how safe your neighborhood may seem, you never know where chance will take you. In the end, criminals don’t care about who you are, they only care if you have the means to defend yourself or not. As I got home this morning, I watched the news only to find that a woman on the other side of town had to use her handgun to defend her life when two robbers broke into her house, The police can’t be everywhere at once. Keep your head on a swivel out there, we’re all in this together.

About raywiggington
I've made a lifetime of uniformed service. From being an eagle scout to a US Airman to being a correctional officer. Never so much because I wanted such things as rank or title, because those are useless in the end, but because I believe that there is good in helping others. I enjoy hunting, camping, archery, non-electric blacksmithing, and other primitive and traditional lore.

3 Responses to Thank God for Guns

  1. Bob Wyman says:

    As to how I arrived here to read your article I can say- the usual way: searching for something, click a few links and land on a whole new subject. Anyway, it is a good story but I was a bit perplexed by “they didn’t know if he had the authority to use that shotgun to defend his own life”. I suppose you may be referring to the fact that many citizens don’t know or understand our Rights. Then the comment left “I respectfully disagree…I think it’s just too damn easy to get a gun in this country” reinforces that ignorance.
    I personally do not care about idiots who kill each other or what people do in Europe. I am tired of hearing it and it is not what our Rights are about. That is what creates the argument about “gun control” where there is no argument at all or should not be-ignorance. A badge is not required to defend one’s life! The fact that police do not nor are obligated to protect anyone is lost on most people. I, like you, carry a weapon. I do not intend to stop nor pay for a carry permit. I have studied the philosophy and methods of carrying and using a firearm. I did at one time have to pull the trigger as a warning shot. It was almost useless as a warning but it served the purpose. It is a last resort but once a firearm is displayed there is no turning back, one has to be completely sure of what they are doing. Many do not or should not even handle firearms and they are the ones who want to prevent me from doing so. It is that ignorance that needs to be addressed and you have helped shine a light on that fact for which I say “Thank You”.

    To maintain a free state each citizen must be free. Free means free. Overthrow of government is not the wording in The Second Amendment. It is knowledge that a free people will remain free which keeps government on a representative level. They must answer to us and when they start running amok such the use of DUI Checkpoints that is the prod that citizens need to re-learn and exercise their Rights. The “hired guns” then back off and in doing so the fear level drops. “They” create the fear and the problems that ensue, not “Us”. Teenagers killing other teenagers is a problem created by Bad Parenting NOT easy access to firearms. The day bad parents cause me to lose my Rights is the day I leave this country unless I form a citizens group and take action on these lesser life forms that force us all to live on their level. When children are tried as adults (which is as ludicrous as it sounds) one needs to enjoin the adults responsible for that child in the criminal case. Accessory’s before the fact is no less viable than during or after the fact. Mother Father and Child all go to prison unless it can be proved the child is a sociopath and that is the only thing the parents cannot control. I believe I am a allowed to protect my Rights by any means available and reasonable. Some people are useless and have no need to live in a society they disregard. They may join the others in prisons or perhaps the UK wants them!

  2. Thanks for the comment! I accept your respectful disagreement, and I would go further to defend my particular point of view on the subject, but this guy said it better than I could.
    For now, I’ll just say that guns have kept me safe all my life, and my life experience has been very different from yours. I work with criminals every day, and without a firearm it would be impossible for nearly anyone to stop an attack from one of them. We have people who can kick a cell door off it’s hinges, I’d hate to see what permanent damage they could do with a punch. If the main idea of your position is that we shouldn’t thank God for guns, I would say you could be right. If you mean that the world would be better off without any guns, I would say you could be right. But, if you mean that private citizens shouldn’t legally have access to guns for personal protection, I would strongly disagree since the police have no obligation to protect private citizens.

  3. I respectfully disagree…I think it’s just too damn easy to get a gun in this country. Here in New Orleans just about every day a teenager with a gun kills another teenager. And guaranteed the killer will be killed by another teenager with a gun in the not too distant future. A vicious cycle of killing and revenge killing that’s decimating an entire generation. Take guns out of the equation and the body count will go down dramatically.
    I think the world would be a much better place without guns but the genie’s out of the bottle obviously….But in the UK riots, as horrible as they were/are, I’ve read very few reports of gunfire, unlike the LA riots for example. It’s also worth noting that in 2011 the British police STILL don’t carry guns, which may be hard to believe for Americans. It’s MUCH harder to get a gun in any European country. The results speak for themselves…
    Thank god for guns? Not in my book….

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