16 April 2008

Way To Go Junior -- Chalk Up A Win For The Good Guys

The following is a true story as related to me by a source close to the situation. Some names have been changed to protect the innocent.

A little over a week ago, in my home town, a convenience store near my boyhood home was being robbed. Two gunmen forced the cashier to hand over around $1000. Walking out the store, they saw a young man about to enter, totally unaware that a robbery had just taken place. For the robbers, the loot from the store apparently wasn't enough, so they decided to try to mug the young man who was on his way into the store. With guns drawn they ordered him to hand over all his money. They couldn't have made a bigger mistake.

This is where it get's interesting...

Unfortunately for the two robbers, they had no idea the kid they were trying to rob grew up with me, and if anyone knew how I grew up, and the things we learned from our dads at young age, what happened next should not be a surprise. Junior Gonzales, about 10 years younger than me, an off duty, out of uniform marshall, pulled a quick draw, squeezing off several rounds from his service weapon while simultaneously taking cover. Several of his shots found their target. The gunmen attempted to return fire, none of their shots hit.

They began to flee, and Junior took off after them. They jumped into a vehicle, which was later determined to be stolen from a previous incident, and headed for the docks. On the way, they crashed twice, bailed out from the vehicle and began running. As they ran cash was flew out of their pockets. It was also obvious that at least one of the punks was seriously wounded by gunfire. A police officer joined the chase and the perps opened fire. The officer returned fire while taking cover. One of the gunmen threw his weapon into the sea and collapsed. He was taken into custody. The second man is still at large.

Ironic aftermath...

When the ambulance arrived for the captured criminal he had four bullet holes in him, the EMT couldn't have been more shocked. It was his mother. She said to him, "I thought you were supposed to be in school right now." Go figure. The other irony is just how unlucky those robbers were.

The man they tried to mug outside the store was not just an off duty marshall, but a boy from Mt. Weldon. The son of a retired marshall. I'm from Mt. Weldon. We don't mess around. We were taught young, and well. Most of us ended up becoming fighting men. From Marines, to Rangers, to bodyguards, and police, some of us even tried all of the above. There must have been something in the water, or maybe we were just lucky to have the dads we did. We grew up around guns, were taught how to handle them, respected them and learned to use them well.

This incident should be a warning to the bad guys out there. Keep pushing your luck, one day it will run out. Maybe that day will come a little faster when you tangle with one of the boys from Mount Weldon. By the way, the police dive team recovered the tossed gun from the sea the next day.

Junior, I tip my hat to you. Kudos for a job well done. I'm glad you're ok. You did it kid! To my cousin Chris, let me publically thank you for going back home and serving with the local law like you did. My time hasn't come yet. You know how they'd been begging me for years to return. Perhaps one day still indeed, I shall.

07 April 2008

My Time With Charleton Heston

Charleston Heston w Belafonte

With the passing of this great american icon of film and politics, I couldn’t help but reflect on my Forrest Gump like dumb luck.  I have met, been around, or hung out with more celebrities and news makes than I can remember.  Now, I’m not bragging here.  Half of the times, these folks didn’t even know of my existance or presence, and I certainly didn’t seek them out or stalk them like some crazed groupee, but it’s just kinda weird how many times I’ve found myself being around some place or event that later became part of history.  Some years ago, my close friends began calling me the Black Gump.  To you younger ones, watch the movie and you’ll get it.

It was back in 2000 in Los Angeles, I did not have long hair yet.  A week before the Democrat National Convention, which I attended, was to take place, there I was on the campus of UCLA.  There was a conference and symposium put on by a group who felt the earth had too many people to sustain itself and they were advocating population control.  Among the various activities they did, besides giving out lots of free condoms during the week of the event (hey, it was summer, we were in LA, college campus, young politically charged activists, you put it together).  The highlight of the week was a screening of the classic film Soylent Green, starring Charleton Heston.

If you’ve never heard of this movie, it’s definitly a cult classic worth checking out.  Since this is a blog, and to read this you must be online, do some research and google the flic to learn more about.  The post apocolyptic thriller portrays a scary world in the future.

My team was in charge of transportation for the invited guests, including Mr. Heston.  He was thrilled to ride with us, and kept up a lively and spirited conversation.  He didn’t look at us as just mere help as so many big wigs do.  The man was real and he was human.
 Before the film was played, Mr. Heston walked out to the front of the theater and gave a short speech to the crowd.  There he stood, larger than life, and you just felt an awe in his presence.  Then the lights dimmed and movie played.  To this day, I feel privilaged to have been in the same small room as this titanic figure in our history and culture.  It’s pretty cool to watch a movie along with the person starring in it.

My favorite line of his from a movie is from the Ten Commandments.  How can you not feel the passion behind the utterance "Damn them to HELL!"

By the way, I know there are many detractors to his legacy.  Feel how you may about him, as a gun owner, and a freedom fighter, I feel forever indebted to those like him who cared for and fought for what we now enjoy.

Although not given much credit for it, Mr. Heston participated in civil rights marches in the 60’s right along side black activists.  It did not help his career or increase his popularity in a still mostly racist hollywood.  He didn’t do it for personal gain, he did it because it was something he believed in.  He is part of a dying breed.  Those that are willing to stand up and fight, and be proud of what they believe in.

Rest in peace Moses, Ben Hur, Marc Antony, El Cid.