In a previous article, I mentioned that I had done a favor by moving a lady and her possessions across the country. The trip became a bit more memorable near the end. In the last hundred miles before the drop off point, I was informed that a prominent outlaw motorcycle gang had found out that she had been in Arizona, and now knew that she was moving back to the Midwest. I was told that she had been instrumental in putting one of the leaders of the group in prison for a few years. I was also assured that they were not interested in me . . .
I asked her about it, and she said that if they were going to do anything to her, it would have happened a long time ago. Part of the goods being moved was a Harley.
I dropped her off, loaded up, and headed back. Crossing northern Texas, I stopped at a Love’s Truck Stop to refuel both vehicle and body. While doing so a Texan came in with a rifle in a rack in his truck. I count that as open carry.
I asked if I could take some pictures. Mr. Kenneth Ware agreed, but he didn’t want his face plastered on the Internet. He farms three sections of wheat that he and his wife own, debt free. That’s 1,920 acres for people who don’t have a background in surveying. Another way to describe the size of the farm is land that’s one mile deep by three miles wide. He does most of the work himself. He said he farmed it with antique equipment because a new tractor would cost as much as one of the sections of land.
The rifle was a Winchester model 67 with most of the finish gone. He said it was still accurate enough to pot a rabbit at 100 yards. I said he had good eyes.
He remarked that I was the first person to ask about the rifle. It had belonged to his wife’s grandfather. Her uncle had it until he died at the age of 100. Now he has it. The grandfather probably bought it new as an adult, as the model 67 was introduced in 1934.
It says a lot about a culture that the crime rate is so low that a rifle can be left in a truck rack without much worry. I remember not locking the doors on our house in northern Wisconsin in the 1950’s and ’60s. Vast swaths of the United States are still in that condition.
If you pay attention in the original movie “The Parent Trap“, you will notice a rifle in a truck rack on the California ranch. It appeared to be a Remington .22 to me, but It has been a long time since I saw the picture. “The Parent Trap” came out in 1961. At that time, you could order anti-tank guns and anti-aircraft cannon and ammunition through the mail and have them delivered to your door. I do not recall a single crime being committed with them.
Kenneth appeared to be about 70, because he had a grandson that had graduated from West Point and was now in Baghdad. I asked Kenneth to thank him for his service, and mentioned that I had also been in the Army. I wonder if the grandson had shot his great, great , grandfather’s rifle. I bet that the West Point officer can shoot.
There are rough estimates that gun owners are about one third of the U.S. population. My experience is that the percentage approaches three quarters when you are talking about the military and combat arms. It is well known that the best places to recruit soldiers and Marines are the rural South, Midwest, and West. Those places have high concentrations of combat veterans. Nearly all are members of the gun culture.
©2014 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice is included.