Road Trip. Yep. Those immortal words, famously uttered in Animal House bring up all sorts of interesting challenges when applied to situations including guns. This weekend, my daughter comes in for a visit. That’s a Major Big Deal around the Kozak hacienda. I love my kid, and treasure the time I get to spend with her. She’s 12-going-on-22, and is remarkably mature for her age. But she’s still 12. And I’m divorced. Even though my ex is also a shooter, I have to keep in mind the potential for blowback on any decision I make that touches on the safety of our child. And then there’s the 180-mile journey (each way) I have to make to pick her up and drop her off – even though I fly her in. Let me explain…
I’m in Shreveport, wrapping up my late father’s affairs. Been here longer than I expected. Between the time I first came down here, for what I thought would be a brief visit to check up on him, and now, a lot has transpired. My divorce. His death. His memorial. And a bunch of trips flying my daughter down to visit. Turns out that it’s unbelievably expensive to fly in/out of Shreveport. So expensive, in fact, that many residents simply don’t do it, opting instead for a one hour or better drive to another city’s airport to travel.
I’m not talking chump change, either. I recently flew to Houston on business. To fly from Shreveport, round trip, was going to run just a little over $1,000. Had I driven to Longview, Texas (1 hour away) or Tyler, Texas (1 1/2 hours away), the round trip fare would have been $350. But the flight times didn’t work for me. So instead, I drove the three hours to Dallas, stayed overnite in a hotel, and flew (Southwest) to Houston and back, then drove home. Total cost, including air fare, hotel, and gasoline: $380. So I drive back and forth to Dallas. A lot.
Which brings up some interesting problems, vis-a-vis guns. I typically travel with a gun, even though it’s Interstate highway all the way from here to there and back. The road is safe, well-maintained, and well-traveled. But you never know what might happen. Last trip, I was going through a little town outside Tyler when my Jeep just lost power and stopped. Smelled something burning which was not a good sign. I pulled over, and checked it out, best I could. No luck, and then it wouldn’t start.
Sparing you the agonizingly long play-by-play, it turns out some sensor melted…because the clutch gave out. (Ah…the price I pay for driving an older model vehicle with a stick.) As luck would have it, I was heading over early for a business meeting (which I missed), and was able to get there just in time to get my daughter from the airport.
I bring this up, because dealing with a gun under these circumstances was – complicated. A Jeep is not the easiest vehicle in which to transport a gun. Not a lot of locking storage, and none that is accessible to the driver, without exiting the vehicle. Then there was the getting the gun out of the Jeep, getting in the rental, securing it in the trunk for the trek in/out of the airport, et cetera. I’ve had stage shows that didn’t require the planning and improvisation that this did.
That begs the question, why carry on a relatively safe jaunt such as this? And I’ve got one answer: I’m a dad.
You see, my entire worldview changed the day my daughter was born. I went from “caution lights mean speed up” to “better not take the risk” in one tiny, little heartbeat. You readers that are parents will grok this immediately. Those of you without kids won’t, but if and when you have a child, you’ll know what I’m talkin’ about, instantly. I no longer look at life as if my presence here is optional. At least not until my daughter is grown. And I also look at her and think, “how would I feel, if something happened to her – especially something that I could have prevented?”
It’s the number one (with a bullet) reason that I own guns and conceal carry. As big of a pain in the kidneys as it is to carry, I do it, because I want to protect my daughter, and keep us both safe. From what? From anything. From everything. From any danger I can avoid.
That does NOT mean I’m some wild-eyed, gun freak, waiting for a chance to go all Medieval on somebody’s ass at the first hint of a provocation. Nope. I think the best way to avoid trouble is to not be there when it happens. But I also believe that fortune favors the prepared. So I go in heavy, if you know what I mean.
So today it’s Have Gun, Will Travel, and Paladin’s got nuthin’ on me. (Okay, well, he did have the cool, black outfit, the Stetson, and the awesome six-gun, but I was speaking more in the metaphorical sense.) I’ll let you know if anything interesting happens. But keep in mind, I’m also a big believer in the concept shared by the Chinese, that calls may you live in interesting times a curse, and not a compliment.