Monday, October 25, 2004


My father had been receiving death threats and went through the usual course of action for any white, middle-aged male: call the cops, buy a Glock.

The suspect--who it seemed had a knack for doing this kind of thing with medical professionals--had called my father's office several times, threatening to shoot not only him but the nurses, the other doctors and then the rest of the 1,000-plus employees of the adjoining hospital. After six or so calls, enough was deemed enough. Three other doctors purchased Glocks, and an orderly who drives a mammoth safari vehicle bought a .45 powerful enough to shoot through the ancient fragile skin of an elephant. Complete with laser sight. Do not cross such white men.

He brought it home, marveled it at its Ronin-like beauty (black, lightweight, easy-to-clean with safety features galore) and placed it alongside his other sons, the guns in his closet. For the first time, my respectable, bespectacled father had moved past resembling a beat cop with a half-cocked sidearm and into an Austrian terrorist with demands.

On a rainy day, the family drove to a gun store lined with rifles and deer heads, staffed by men wearing Aviators. My mother, who is frightened by guns and hate speech, opted to sit outside the firing lane while he and I squeezed off $20 worth of ammo.

Pistols bring you the same feeling as any type of pill; it does what is intended, produces the effect you desire when you so desire it. The first squeeze is an apprehensive one, filled with images of the gun growing a brain and turning itself on you by a simple twist of the wrist. After that, it's just a process, the thrill on par with a scary movie.

Nothing happened with the crazed ex-patient. The threats stopped, and seeing as this man was a patient with records that listed his address, name--hell, even medical history--I never understood why they couldn't simply arrest him. But my father continues to go to this weapons depot, to stand in a dark alley with a two-dimensional paper threat 50 feet before him, where he triggers steel through air in a process that can now simply be called a hobby, brought to life by empty words from a fool with a scar.

Photograph by Thomas WheatleyPosted by Hello