Lawlessness and Order

Jul 30, 2009 at 6:10 PM
Around here, there isn't much law. And not a lot of the kind of orderly constructs city folk are used to.

If something happens to me on my own property, there isn't really anyone to come help me - sherrifs would come out if someone died and investigate it, but calling 911 is absolutely pointless out here.

If there is a fire, I'm outside the Rural Fire District.

I can't get fancy services you're all used to like cable TV, fancy internet services, cell phone service, or even many regular telephone services like caller ID and voicemail.

I live in the true boonies.

But there is something that you don't realize you're missing there in the city. Neighbourly interdependence.

My neighbors and I have a system of communicating to one another to come help if there is an emergency, and no surprise here - it involves shooting firearms off in a pattern. The fallback is of course to call one another by phone. But without call waiting and call forwarding, and with how much time we all spend out of doors, those are less trustworthy than bullets. Shots can be heard by everyone at once, whether they're near their phone or not. And the message is instant and urgent.

Whenever shots resound, I listen up. I've learned to recognize the difference between urgent fire and simply playing around. All of us each go shooting at different times for different needs - plinking or hunting or testing sights on new rifles, etc.

I personally don't choose to hunt, but my neighbors do, and I can't fault them - they actually use the animals they kill. I've eaten legally hunted bear, elk, deer, etc, that my neighbors have given me.

Because I have real neighbors. I stop by their houses and they stop by mine. We all know we are one another's fallback in times of need, and we all know that we will be there if someone falls sick, or needs a ride to the store, or has a fire to put out, or simply needs someone to water their plants while they're out of town.

When we make pies, we always make extra to bring a neighbor or two. I always have a beer or two around in case one particular neighbor stops by. It's welcome wagon all the time around here.

So today, after several years here, my heart no longer leaps into my throat when I hear gunfire. I know the difference in the reports made by ten or so different weapons. I hear a gunshot, and I can tell you whether it was my farthest away neighbor with his automatic rifles, my nearest neighbor with his .22 rifles, his shotgun or .45s, and I can tell you whether it was the mountain man up the far hill with his .38 or his ancient shotgun. I can tell when these are shots fired for fun or at an animal or similar threat. And I call on the neighbor that needs calling on by phone if there is any doubt in my mind.

So today, as I write this, I am listening to the rumbling endless thunder of distant automatic rifle fire. I love that sound. it's the sound of a lawless, orderly, friendly, law-abiding place where all neighbors know each other and recognize that we are all friends. Sure there are oddballs here, but I trust every one of these people with our safety. We are too interdependent NOT to.

I truly don't miss the kind of gunfire you hear in cities. In such cramped quarters, guns tend to mean someone has been violent toward another or is defending themselves against violent action. And that is a thought that has always torn me up. My first instinct is to run toward gunfire, toward the sound of ambulances, run to help, to stop injustice, to aid the wounded. So being a city person is seriously a bummer for me. That is not simply frowned upon there, it's even occassionally against the rules.

Hunting doesn't happen in the city, and space issues keep you all from plinking. No, guns are solely useful for personal defense weapons in the city. But for that they remain amazingly well suited. I know I'd be dead a few times over if I wasn't a concealed weapons permit holder.

I have a feeling that along with the other vast differences between city and country life, one very critical reason that the use of firearms HERE is so different from the use of firearms there, is that when you live in the city, you delegate your own personal safety and security, your neighborliness and your support system, to government run services or civil servants.

You lose something powerfully strong when you stop thinking of your neighbors as decent individuals and start thinking of them as a threat or an unknown worry.

While I'm not knocking civil servants, and the services they do provide, delegation of your own protection to people you don't even know is a truly foolish thing to do.

Especially in light of response times -- if you are going to be a victim of a violent crime, the police simply statistically CANNOT get there in time to protect you worth a darn. They are cleanup and investigation when that happens, not prevention.

Prevention is you and your neighbors. Prevention is being certain you know your surroundings and can be in control of them. Prevention is awareness.

What kind of idiot goes out of his way to commit a violent crime in an area where it's well known everyone has at LEAST one defensive weapon per household. Yes, there are wacked out druggies around here. No, they don't approach our area. Not sure why, perhaps it's because this ranch and it's surrounding ranches are all known to be run and lived on by good, honest, hardworking folks.

Basically what I have is a true neighborhood watch, a true network of people who watch out for one another. Everyone is armed. Everyone is trustworthy. And that to me is priceless, and I realize the paucity of such in this country now. There really are only a few pockets of old-time America left. And I live in one.

And I trust it more than I ever trusted any of my city services. Plus it's free. And it works. We nearly NEVER have a crime commited out here.

There is something to be said for not delegating that which you can manage just fine on your own.


  1. Kat Says:

    *sigh* I want to move to the woods. One day. I do.

  2. Mr.Pete. Says:

    Bravo! Well said Des.