June 2009

Down Range: 06/09

LONG ARM OF THE TINGLES

Last week was big for me: I got two "new" guns and a very personal wanding in Houston’s Municipal Court building. Nothing sends shivers up the leg of a gun owner like a nice pat-down and wanding, I always say. And though my shivers weren’t seemingly as pleasurable as lefty commentator Chris Matthews’ were at the prospect of an Obama presidency, I’ll remember the tingles fondly anyway.

Todd Woodard

Todd Woodard

The back story: One gorgeous Sunday in November last year, I was taking my daughter to church (really!) when I tapped the brakes to break my 60-mph highway cruise and began coasting off the Katy Freeway down an exit ramp to a feeder road. Still coasting at the bottom of the ramp, I saw a person 100 yards or so ahead of me standing smack-dab in the middle of the four-lane feeder road—very odd, and I thought at the time, very dangerous. That person turned out to be Houston Police Department Officer Calvillo running a radar gun, with which he clocked me doing 51 in a 35-mph construction zone.

Long story short, in the parking lot of a Steak & Ale, Officer Calvillo wrote me up for speeding and not wearing my seatbelt.

I hired the Eutsler Law Firm to fight the speeding ticket because the exit ramp wasn’t marked where I could easily see the posted speed, but in retrospect, I’m not sure how I would have handled things differently if I’d known about the reduced speed. Braking hard to get down to 35 mph on the exit ramp might have gotten me rear-ended, but, hey—the city’s gotta eat, too.

Because I didn’t just pay the ticket by mail, I had to appear in court downtown, and that’s where I got wanded. Just like getting on an airplane, everyone going into court had to pass through security, and my iPhone was in the cargo pocket of my pants leg, where I conveniently forgot it. After several passes through the metal detector in varying stages of undress, I got to stand while the nice security officers found my phone. A bald guy whose ear hair was so long that he combed tufts of it into wings around his ears watched and laughed.

You might be wondering, "Well, this is a very nice story and whatnot, but what does this have to do with guns?" Actually, a lot. To get into court, I had to leave certain self-defense items in my car—can’t carry concealed in court, and they’d do more than frown at my SOG Twitch XL knife. Also, I had to submit to a physical search. And I had my first brush with law enforcement in years in which I was the perp and not the interested observer, carefully asking things like, "Officer, how do you like that Glock?"

Earlier in the week, I had retrieved my deer rifle from Briley, and I picked up a new Stag AR-15 that writer Gene Taylor tricked out for me. So, for nearly eight hours, the prospect of going to the range after court kept a smile on my face. Those were good shivers. GT

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