Wednesday, Dec. 26, 2012 | 2 a.m.
A summer day. Two neighbors. One on the lawn, the other on the roof of the front porch, tools spread around him on the shingles.
“Who’s that? I’ll blast your — oh! Hi, Glen. Didn’t see you down there. Don’t sneak up on a fella like that. I almost cut you in two with my .44.”
“Sorry, Bob. Didn’t expect you to be strapped while doing home improvements. Whatcha working on?”
“Putting in a new turret.”
“No kidding? I thought you and Ruth were pretty happy after you cut in the second-floor loopholes.”
“Oh, they’re OK. But during the last couple of drills, Ruth and the kids noticed that the loopholes left a blind spot over by that big fir tree that’d allow any halfway-skilled home invader to lay down a pretty good suppressing fire. Also, they’re mighty drafty.”
“Are you putting another one up over the back porch?”
“Why sure, Glen — if we only had a turret out front, it’s like an open invitation for someone to try an assault through the garden, or maybe a flanking action around the swing set.”
“I see your point. I was making the same case down at the supermarket this morning. The deli counter and the bakery were completely undefended. I had my safety off the whole time. Spoke to the manager about it.”
“Huh. Was he even packing?”
“Two Glocks in shoulder holsters over his apron.”
“Whew. Glen, when will these guys realize that carrying only two pistols is like putting out the welcome mat for someone with three pistols? Or four?”
“Preach, brother. So are the kids excited about the turrets?”
“You bet. Ruth’s got them all down at the range working out with the new armor-piercing ammo. She’s already drawing up the duty roster.”
“Let me ask you something, Bob: You and the kids going to be pulling guard duty 24/7?”
“Well, wouldn’t you, Glen?”
“We’ve thought about going round the clock, but it’s tough for the little ones what with homework and school sports.”
A sigh from above. Bob dabs his forehead with the sleeve of his T-shirt.
“Listen, Glen, I would never tell a neighbor how to run his own home security — especially a man who’s holding such a fine Colt LE901-16S — but I guess I’d just ask you to consider what kind of message it sends, you not having a round-the-clock surveillance plan.”
“Gosh. Bob, I’ve got to say I’ve never thought about it like that.”
“Let me tell you a little story: My wife and I moved our family to LaPierre Acres because we got sick and tired of living next to people who thought it was OK to keep a Louisville Slugger under the bed and call themselves secure.”
“But that’s ridiculous, Bob — do we use a baseball bat to protect the president? And shouldn’t that be the criteria we use to determine what weapons ordinary citizens should be able to own?”
“Glen, as soon as word got out that our block couldn’t repel both organized armed criminals and the lone psychopaths that every American must be ready to confront at any moment of the day, property values started to plunge. We were lucky to get out when we did!”
“Even so, Bob, I wonder if going round the clock might take armed domestic response a bit too far.”
“Glen, if there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s that there’s no such thing as ‘too far.’ Or a ‘well-regulated militia,’ for that matter.”
“Hmm. You know, some poet once said that good fences make good neighbors. I’m betting that guy never owned anything that took a 30-round banana clip.”
“Words of wisdom, Glen.”
Bob turns back to his work.
Glen slips back into the woods.
Casey Seiler writes for the Times Union in Albany, N.Y.