Varmints in the Garden

Editor’s Note: Combat Handguns pays $100 for each “It Happened…

Editor’s Note: Combat Handguns pays $100 for each “It Happened To Me!” letter that we print. Send yours to Combat Handguns, 1115 Broadway, New York, NY 10010. Attention: “It Happened To Me!” or e-mail to linas@harris-pub.com

It was a hot summer day and I was physically exhausted after hours of hard work in my garden. As is customary for me at the end of a day in strenuous contact with nature, I rested under a very big and shady elm tree, drinking a beer and deciding what to do next. The suggestion came to me in the shape of a large groundhog that one more time left the security of his hole to have dinner in my lettuce garden; this time his mistake was to be in a hurry and not to wait a little longer when I would have been in bed, or at least inside the house preparing for dinner.

Pedro, as I called the groundhog, was approximately fifty yards away and the warm, balmy weather must have given him a false sense of security about his habit of raiding my garden in the open. As carefully as I was able to move, I went inside the house and into my library where I found my favorite revolver, a .38 Special. Meanwhile, Pedro was still there making havoc in my vegetable garden. The rest, as you can imagine, is history: It was a well‑placed shot and it was the end of a total nuisance.

Now, as is my custom after some shooting, I went down in the basement to clean my gun, which took about half an hour plus some extra time doing minor little things. It was at this time not yet evening, when I perceived the sound of someone coming in the back door. Since nothing ever “happened to me” I went up the stairs to welcome a possible visiting friend, still with my .38 Special in my hand and on the way to the library to store it, when the proverbial matter hit the fan.

It came in the form of a young man, not clean looking, and totally unknown to me. We stared at each other for a few seconds and I was waiting for some kind of greeting, friendly smile, maybe something like, “Excuse me sir, my car broke down. May I use your telephone to call for help?” To my total surprise he reached in his pocket and produced what appeared to be a small pistol, probably a .25 caliber. It took me several seconds to understand his request. Good Lord! It was a robbery and in my own house!

If it is true that in a moment like this dumb things are said and done, I was not an exception. I raised my hand toward his face, still holding my revolver, and hoped for the best. With a very calm voice I said something like: “Boy, look at the muzzle of my revolver and consider the caliber of your weapon. Do you think you have any chance at all?” I am not sure what he said made any sense, but he repeated his request to use my phone. His hesitation was the clue that I needed; I knew that I had him. So I told him as calmly as I was able under the circumstances, “If we fire in the same time, you will wound me. But what do you think my gun will do to you?” To my surprise he suddenly turned away and ran out of the house.

I was much too shocked to do anything. The simple thought that I was so close to killing a young man by shooting him in his face left me sweaty and almost sick, but very much alive. That month I did not forget to send my donation to the NRA for guarding the Second Amendment and my rights. This happened the summer of 1994.
—FT, DE

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