Monday, February 27, 2017
Five years ago I was eating lunch in the Aviation Armory at Fort Indiantown Gap. I sat with a Blackhawk helicopter pilot and a Chinook helicopter flight engineer. Both are Iraq veterans who flew many combat missions. Both are tall, strong men who regularly scored the maximum on the physical fitness test and were very good at their respective jobs.
They both live in rural Central Pennsylvania. The topic of conversation when I sat down was rapid opening cases for automatic pistols. They were discussing the relative merits of biometric locks versus RFID locks. They were talking about the relative merits of the gun case each had put in their bedroom for themselves and also for their wives while they are away from home.
Both men own more than 20 guns which they keep locked in elaborate gun safes. But the pistol case was for immediate access in case of a home invasion. Neither man wanted his young children to have any access to the guns, but did want to be ready to defend their homes and for their wives to have access to the gun in a moment.
So I asked, "Have you or your family ever been threatened or your home robbed?"
Both answered No.
They kept talking about gun cases and their wives proficiency with weapons. Neither of the wives seemed very interested from what I could gather.
Courage in one area does not displace fear in another. Both of these men happily went to war. One of them deployed twice, the other at least three times to both Iraq and Afghanistan. But they genuinely believe their isolated, rural homes west of the Susquehanna in the middle of Pennsylvania must be defended with high-tech weaponry. By their own admission, they are defending themselves and their homes from a threat that they have never seen or experienced in their lives.