Guns

Hurrah USA. Just about everyone has a gun and I’ve been lucky enough to be in the right states to have them pointed at me. To me, this is utterly unacceptable. No one should have to fear for their lives from every angry looking redneck that passes by, and no one should want a weapon designed to kill other humans with. It’s just completely mad and we shouldn’t accept it as normal. Decent people don’t resolve shit with guns.

1. Libby Montana, age 11, 1991.

It was a summer day and I was living with my step dad and mother in a ranch that was the last house on the mountain about 10 miles out of town. I basically did what I wanted, no one supervised me, so whenever I wasn’t roaming the grizzly bear filled forest alone, I was probably playing with an animal or riding my mom’s horse, Matee. He was a stubborn horse and had already tried to kill me a couple times. He loved to run and didn’t like to be told what to do, so if he wanted to go, he went, and there was nothing you could do.

I had never ridden him on a trail and he wasn’t very good at picking his feet up when I tried training him for trails. He’d hit his feet on every 2×4 I put on the ground, and that’s pretty low. The chances of him clearing rocks and roots wasn’t great. However, I took him anyway on a trail I’d never been on that led down the mountain. What could go wrong.

The trip down was uneventful, but I remember our final destination well. We found an abandoned house with opened doors and a gated corral. I put Matee in the corral and started to explore the house

It was straight out of the 60s. Pinks and blues and big mirrored walls. Of course it was all peeling and weathered, and covered in grime. There were these cool Pepsi bottles that someone had heated up and warped into interesting vases, and a dark bedroom I was convinced a bear must live in. After poking around a bit I went back outside to check on the horse when from across the field a guy yells something and shoots a gun towards me. 1, it’s an abandoned house, 2, I’m there with a horse so it’s not like I’m looting, and 3, I’m a fucking blonde 12 year old girl. No matter to him. I jump on the horse and we get to hauling ass back up the mountain.

Now, since Matee got into his head that it was time to go home, he wouldn’t stop running and I couldn’t stop him. Turning him in a circle is the only way once he got like that and there was no room. I had no choice but to hang on to his neck and keep my head down as he jumped logs and raced up the hill. Suddenly hr had no problem picking his feet up. When we finally came to an old logging road I turned him hard until he stopped, got off, and walked the rest of the way. Insane horse but I miss him.

2. Also Libby Montana, age 14, 1994.

This time it was a cabin my mom was renting by herself. Her and my stepdad had gotten divorced and my life had been basically ruined in the last 2 years. I was on a home visit from a girls home I was for one week. It was the only visit I would get in the 2 years I was in that place.

My mom is historically bad with animals and unendingly selfish. She rented this place knowing it had no room for horses. However she liked the Montana Woman image and didn’t want to give up Matee. When I arrived I found that he now spent his time tied to a tree in the yard. She recently had adopted a dog that I thought I’d get to meet, but in the Montana woman style, she put it in the back of her truck and it jumped out and died. She sucks,

Anyway, I was 14 and already knew there was no point telling her what I thought, plus. I decided to spend my time there with Matee as much as possible for both our sakes, and as little time as possible with my mom.

He was much calmer and more mature than the last time I had ridden him. He was a tall, red, tennessee walker cross. Before she bought him he was a rodeo horse whose only job was to run full speed around the arena with a flag (and a human). He was young and definitely a project horse. However now he seemed much more reserved and actually happy to see me, despite our background of him trying to kill me three times.

I never liked putting bridles/bits or anything on horses, and my mom had sold my saddle anyway, so I happily rode him bareback with a nose bridle and worked on mane training him (so he’d ideally not even need that). My mom pointed me towards a field that she said I could ride in, saying that she had the neighbours permission. I didn’t know how he’d act in the open like that, given his background, but he was being really great. I started to canter a little and he went a little faster, but not a full bolt like he usually did. I was impressed that I was balancing at a gallop bareback with no worry of falling since I hadn’t ridden in years. I knew my mom rarely rode him and never did anything but walk, so he needed a run. We got to the end of the field near a house and suddenly a huge Saint Bernard runs up to us barking. Matee rears up, and I’m sure I’ll be thrown off, but I’m somehow not. When his legs land I realize that behind the dog is a hefty looking Montana woman with a shotgun pointed at me. A child on a horse. She demands to know who I am and I tell her and ask her why she doesn’t recognize the horse at least. She leaves, I leave, thanks mom.

3. Libby Montana, 2014.

You are probably wondering what the hell is wrong with Libby… and oh boy do I have stories of that horror story of a town. This time however neither myself nor my mother lived there anymore. However, I took my partner there, in our 30s now, to see one of the many places I had grown up. Most particularly to visit the Lookout Tower where I lived for a summer with my mom and see what state the ranch was in.

No horses for this one, just our F350 truck with Florida plates. We were exploring some forest service roads, as we always do, when we came to an ATV parked in the middle of the road, a young guy and girl in it, and no intention of moving. We wait a second before just squeezing by, because you don’t talk to rednecks in the middle of nowhere if you don’t have to and definitely not people who obviously want to start shit with people. We give them a nod as we pass, as is the small town way (usually), and drive on. Not 100 feet away yet and we see in the rear view mirror that he’s pointing a riffle at us. Good times.

4. Portland, Oregon drive-by, 2004.

This time was an actual close call. I was working at an ice cream distributor on a hot summer day. The owner was too cheap to pay for air conditioning, despite his $200 a day electricity bill for his walk in freezer. So I ran the whole front end of the place by myself in the heat and with almost all windows and a corner door. Behind the front-end was his office and his gigantic bank safe with tens of thousands in cash in it at all times.

Anyway, the day was wrapping up. Most distributors are done selling by around 5 or 6 and we only had one customer outside loading up his freezer for the next day. The owner had his very old mother visiting from England. She was sitting out front with me, sitting on a couch waiting to be taken home. I was probably counting money in the bill counter when we heard shots. I didn’t have much time to think about what was going on, let alone think it would effect me. But somehow this Cockney man who grew up in a country without any public gun ownership to speak of, caught on fast. He had been standing in front of his safe when the shots started or he would have been shot. We later saw several holes in the door behind the safe. The customer outside was bent over his chest freezer in the back of his truck. Bullets hit on either side of him, piercing the freezer and his truck bed. I had a single bullet zip past my head and hit a clock on the wall, then bounce, and land on my boss’s mother’s folded over coat lying next to her. He runs out of his office and tells us we’re stupid and should get down, as if me or an 85+ year old british woman would have imagined a drive by was happening… to an ice cream shop…

The shooter was actually shooting back at a car that had done a drive by on his house. Shooting straight down the street into our storefront, with people clearly outside and probably inside. So sure, not technically a drive by, but does it fucking matter? .

5. Priest River Idaho, 2016.

I also grew up a little in Priest River, but it was nothing like Libby, or so I thought. I hadn’t been to Priest River since I was 9 years old but now we had stayed a couple months in or nearby that Summer. I decided one evening to go ride my dualsport motorcycle in the Hoodoo Mountains across the river, because they’re called the Hoodoos dammit.

It was a good ride, almost completely forest service roads, some of which just end abruptly and others that go all the way to towns on the other side of the range. I go about half way through them and decide to turn around and go south so I can loop back to Priest River on a road that goes along the river. I come around a blind corner to a couple of rednecks standing on the side of the road with their truck, and one of them pointing a gun directly at me. They had decided that ON THE ROAD was a really good place to put a target. The whole damn forest and they choose a public road. I was so pissed I was tempted to turn around and kick the fucking target down or yell at them, but then again…GUN. So, fuck you guys.

In fact, fuck all guns. If you just can’t be torn away from your precious little security blankets (read baby blanket), keep them in lockers at shooting ranges, in gun safes, away from other people who have the right to not have their lives threatened. None of you know what you’re doing so stop pretending to be GI-Jackasses.

I’m sure we’ll have more guns pointed at us in the future, so till then, keep your head down!