Tuesday, June 29, 2004

Barrel of a Gun

I'm still on Beijing time, as is evidenced by the fact that I only sleep for a short time between 2 a.m. and 5 a.m. (corresponding to nap time in China) and crash around noon (aka 1:00 a.m.) and wakeup after 8. Sadly, I have no motivation to change this.

Last night at about 2, my brother returned home from a tour of duty on the police force carrying a variety of items, including a small black box. I asked if that was his gun that I knew he had to buy a few weeks ago. He confirmed it, then proceeded to put everything down and get it out of the box. He opened the chamber to show me that there was no bullet, and then pointed it at the floor and pulled the trigger so it clicked and showed that it wasn't loaded. I can't even describe how the sight of him holding a gun made me feel. And then he handed it to me.

I've never held a gun before, and I can safely say I never want to again. Though my gut and my eyes told me it wasn't loaded, I still could feel my heart racing and hear it in my ears. It weighed a ton and I could barely hold it up with both hands. He then showed me his magazine and told me exactly the steps he had to take to load it. And then explained how the safety on it was on the trigger and that the trigger had to be depressed for it ever to fire. Which seemed it a bit inadequate to me.

My parents have never owned a gun and my dad has always said that there would never be one in the house. Of course that doesn't apply now since the bro's a psuedo cop. But I told him that just the sight of it scared me, to the point that I just didn't want to have it out of the box. And I commented that I don't know how he does it not being terrified of carrying a loaded gun. He confessed that at first it scared him too until he had shot it (at the range of course) and that the only thing that reassures him is that since he is the only one that handles it, he knows that it's only loaded if he loads it. He loads it before he's on duty and unloads it immediately afterward. He said that he wasn't even keeping the bullets in the magazine until it became too much of pain to load it every time.

He's on duty again tonight and will be patrolling the carnival that's in town for the 4th of July (more on that later). I may have to go down to the park to see him, since I've yet to see him in full uniform and until I do, it won't be real to me. But the gun. Damn that was too real.