The Gun Range Incident

Do you remember me mentioning the armored truck company that I used to work for?  Something about breakdancing, as I recall….

Since we carried firearms on a daily basis, the state required us to requalify at the gun range every year.   Our permits to carry on the job were only good for a year, but that date varied for each one of us. In spite of that fact, most of us jumped through those hoops within a two-month period of time.  That meant that every year between November and January the secretary was forever trying to get everyone scheduled for requalifying before their permits to carry expired.  And under no circumstances were we to forget when our year was up!  If one of us let it slip, his or her name was moved to the top of the “black list” and he or she was grounded to the office until another “requal” class could be attended, which was sometimes weeks away.

For us, these classes were outside (which meant that if you were caught in a December or January class, you were probably one of the oh-crap-my-permit-is-about-to-expire people taking the class).  So, needless to say, I usually tried to get in on one of the earlier Fall classes.  These classes were open to more than just armored truck employees, too.  These other people who attended usually worked for local security companies.  So it was at one of these mixed classes I was attending one year that a hilariously unbelievable incident occurred.

Our HR department–Gary was his name–was also our firearms instructor and often took the role of the gun range instructor when we all had to requalify.  He was the instructor on that fateful day.  I need to tell you that some of the security company people were…um…old.  Old as in thinking, “They actually let you carry a firearm??” old.  Their guns were just plain old revolvers in even older leather holsters that seemed to hang down to their knees.  (I felt like I was just waiting for one of them to walk up to me all bow-legged, stand there and stare at me while they spit chaw out of the side of their mouth and say, “This here gun range ain’t big ‘nough fer the both of us.  DRAW!!”).  Well, one of these “youth challenged” individuals was an old lady.  I watched many a requal class come and go where the instructor worked time and again with this woman to get her to barely pass so that she could carry for another year.  This time was no different. Except for what happened next!

Gary had shooters on the line, and she was one of them.  He gave his instructions and finished by saying, “Shooters ready?  Fire!”  Everybody shot but her.  She just stood there watching everyone else shoot.  She eventually took her gun out of the holster as everyone else finished up and pointed it down-range.  But she didn’t fire it!  Gary was behind and to the right of all the shooters on the line.  When he saw this, he asked her what she was doing.  When she eventually realized he was speaking to her, her body language said, “Huh??” as she turned towards him with her gun still pointing ahead of her!  If there was a roof to hit at an outdoor gun range, Gary would have hit it.  As she turned with her gun pointing at him, he yelled, “What are you doing?!  Holster that weapon!!”, as his arms flailed about and everyone else hit the deck.  He then proceeded to rip her a new one as he got her back in position with her gun down-range again.  He gave her his instructions again–at a much faster rate of speed with an increase in volume to match–and said, “Fire!”.  She just stood there.  He said, “Fire!” again, only louder.  She turned and looked at Gary, then turned and looked down-range again at the target.  She drew her weapon this time. Then, upon finding another roof to hit, Gary yelled, “I SAID FIRE!!!”.  She eventually got a shot off.  Then another.  She may have even hit the target.

I looked at Gary and  noticed his hair looked thinner.  But only where his hands had been gripping his head in frustration.  Then I looked at his feet.  There was hair strewn all over the ground in front of him and he still had a death grip on another small clump of it in each of his hands (I also noticed that his hair had turned several shades lighter and quite suddenly at that).  His eyes looked coal-black as he bored holes with them into the old woman’s head.  I think he was even talking to himself, but I couldn’t make out what he was saying from where I was.  Probably just as well….

She didn’t pass that day.  In fact, we never saw her again at any other requal class.  Maybe she decided to retire.