Day by Day

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

A different meaning

When I lived in Puerto Rico, I would go over to my neighbor's house and we would have a cigar, maybe some rum. But invariably, as we sat under his carport talking, we would hear gunfire:

POP! POP! POP!POP!POP!POP!

Normally it was followed by other gunfire:

POP! POPPOP! BANG!BANG!BANG!

And we would sit there and wonder if a round was going to come through the window, or into the carport, or if someone we knew was going to get shot by some idiotic fucking drug dealing piece of shit with bad aim. I couldn't own a gun in Puerto Rico if my life depended on it, but the worthless pieces of shit who ran the drug world down there could get a fully auto AK-47. And they would fire them off on a regular basis.

Tonight, I go out to let the dog do her thing in the yard. I'm outside, watching her sniff for a spot to squat, and I hear units training on Ft. McCoy. I'm literally miles away, but I can still hear someone light off a .50 cal.

BOP BOP BOP BOP BOP BOP BOP! It's a sound that you can recognize if you've ever heard it before. Even now, years after I had the chance to push the trigger myself, I can hear that sound and think "That's a Ma Deuce."

Then I hear a 240B join in the mix. And I stand there, and think to myself.... This is the second place where I've heard automatic gunfire at night. But it has a different meaning here, doesn't it? It's not some hopped-up drug head capping a round in another hopped-up drug head's ass. The people firing those guns aren't some random criminal. They're people like you and I, training to make sure they get home alive.

Gunfire doesn't bother me here much. It's not that I don't hear it, but it has a different meaning.

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