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Guns, cars and us
editor's notes

The tone of the email was kind of self important. Maybe that’s why it rubbed me the wrong way.

That aside, some fellow’s individual-freedom-loving-knickers were in a twist late Friday afternoon because firearms weren’t allowed at the Great Ogeechee Seafood Fest, per some rule on the Chamber’s website GOSF.

He was having none of that. You can’t prohibit the legal carrying of guns in a public park in Georgia and J.F. Gregory is such a park.

Anyway, he emailed the city of Richmond Hill a note and included us in the mostly one-sided conversation, which on Richmond Hill’s end was about as short and to the point as you can get.

I paraphrase: “the city will follow the law and that’s all we’ve got to say.” And it was all the city had to say, too. I asked, “Is this legit?”


Then about 15 minutes later we got another email from the fellow, noting the firearms prohibition had been removed from the website and included a link to said website, minus the prohibition.

Well good for him, I thought. Chalk one up for the right to bear arms.

And then, nothing to see here after all. But hang on a second.

Does this mean if you’re licensed to carry a firearm you can tote one in J.F. Gregory Park at the next Easter Extravaganza? Or the Garden Club’s Pumpkin Patch? Or any other get together involving kids.

That surely seems a bit much.

Now, before the NRA get’s sicced on me, I’m not some hippie anti-gun nut. I spent six way too long years in Field Artillery, and when I wasn’t hiding from sergeants I carried an M203 and enjoyed blowing and shooting stuff up as much as the next red blooded American.

To beat this horse to death, I almost regret I didn’t get to blow up more stuff before I Echo Tango Suitcased and became, after much college that apparently didn’t stick, an old newspaper geezer who hates social media because it won’t get off his lawn.

There are even times, 27 years later, when I wish I still had an M203. Mostly it’s so I can weigh in whenever the neighbors behind me crank up the Luke Bryan and start playing cornhole and burning pallets.

I digress.

I am on the fence about gun rights.

I get there are those, some of whom I consider friends, who see threats to individual liberties around every corner, whether it’s there or not.

These folks believe it's important the right to carry guns is preserved to keep government off our backs and criminals from pillaging our property while wantonly shooting holes in our stop signs and stealing our womenfolk.

But I know gunowners, including me (I have three at the house in case I’m invaded), who wouldn’t dream of toting a firearm into J.F. Gregory Park or to GOSF unless maybe they were headed to a turkey shoot.

Now that I think of it, of all the places I might feel even remotely compelled to carry a gun for protection, the Seafood Fest has to be near the bottom.

And surely personal protection is why open carry folks openly carry and insist on the right to openly carry, right?

While I try to show some empathy for those who feel compelled to fight for their 2nd Amendment right, I am equally sympathetic to the notion we need to do what we can to make the world less likely to be used for target practice by some misunderstood people hater with an AR-15. I also can’t figure out why anybody needs to be able to squeeze off 30 rounds in less than a minute. Or tote a 9 millimeter to the Seafood Fest.

But there are other pressing issues and other weapons I am worried about at the moment, at least for me. Vehicles, for starters. As a commuter, I’ve watched over the last 30 years as traffic has gotten worse - in both volume and in the way people behave behind the wheel.

As a longtime state trooper, Lt. J.J. Durrence told me more than a decade ago, when he started in the Georgia State Patrol back in the 1980s, drivers exercised more of what he called “give and take.”In his next sentence, J.J. said “now it’s almost all take and no give.” And now the give is almost gone.

The other day on Highway 204 a woman in a hurry nearly ran a pickup into oncoming traffic because she squeezed her SUV in front of the guy, who in turn rode her back bumper like the mayhem guy in the Allstate commercials all the way to I-95, then acted as if he was going to sideswipe her in the 4-lane. Vehicles in weapons. A few minutes later, I was on I-95 in three lanes full of 80 mph traffic when I spotted a small tortoise in the middle lane.

The poor creature didn’t stand a chance. I wonder if any of us do.

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