Saturday, November 1, 2008


Michael sez: This is a post from my friend Mike Kemp. It is about rural America and a set of ideals that are foreign to most people in this country. Enjoy.

In many places around the country, gunfire has become such a problem that lots, lots, and lots of money is being spent in the effort to pinpoint the location of the gunfire, and to officially respond to the gunfire. A quick google of the following phrase, "acoustic sensors cities gunfire" produced the following hits.... on the first page of at least 10 pages, I found these references:

Where I live, gunfire is also a common thing. Throughout the day, I hear gunfire all around. Sometimes, it sounds (and is) as close as a hundred yards. Other times, from the sound, it is a quarter mile, a half mile, even two miles away.

But for some reason, I do not find it disturbing. When the source is close, 100 yards or so, it is my 'neighbor across the pond' out popping rounds with his AK, or his kids shooting what I take to be large-bore centerfire handguns. If it is close but from the north instead of the west, it is my neighbor up the hill plinking with a 22, or taking target practice with his 9mm.

A bit further away, to the east, my cattle-farming neighbor seems to enjoy bird hunting, now that it is autumn. I hear his shotgun intermittently, sometimes two shots in quick succession, when he gets an opportunity for a 'double', I suppose.

Now and again, from a bit further away there is the serious, sharp BOOM when someone fires a round from ambush with a centerfire rifle, and I presume that someone just took the first step towards putting venison on the table and in the freezer.

Occasionally, I hear baying hounds coursing well to the north, as a pack runs rabbits. Sometimes, there is a distant shotgun, but mainly, as I often did as a kid, somebody is just out letting the dogs run, and enjoying the music of dogs singing with sweet, clear voices.

This is HOME. I do not have the first concern about all this noise and gunplay. In fact, I find it a comforting sound. The bird hunter, the deer hunter are exercising their skill, and feeding themselves and their families. The target shooters and plinkers are practicing their skills, for THEIR hunting ventures, or against the time when they may be called upon to protect themselves and their families.

I live in rural, very rural south Miss-sippy. It is a very peaceful place, gunfire and baying hounds notwithstanding. We, those who live in the several square miles around me, like our area. The gunfire and the hounds are comfortable reminders of the way we live, far from the troubles and pressures of the cities. A few nights ago, a car pulled up in my driveway well after dark, and there was a knock at my door. It was the son-in-law of the family up the hill to the north, come to see if I still had some okra that I would be willing to contribute to round out their extended-family dinner. I did, and I did. After a couple of minutes of small talk on the porch, he took his largess back for the matriarch to cut up, shake in corn meal, and fry. That is of no concern to me, I am quite certain that one way or another, my generosity will be rewarded by that family-- help in mowing, help in chores, in lifting, assistance to an old man past his prime-- me.

In recent days, the Philthydelphia Phillies won the World Series. Soon enough, riot police were called out by the busload to deal with all manner of trouble. And this was after a VICTORY. It makes one wonder what the response of the populace had been, had their team lost.

And that brings to mind the coming election. It is widely speculated that Democrats, particularly, are primed for.... let's just say, 'protesting', if their man happens to not win. Emergency management agencies around the country are gearing up, going on 'hot standby' should circumstances in their cities get... 'out of control', let's say. Police forces, fire departments, EMS crews.... all are on alert, are to be available to respond.

Out here in the boonies, we are far from any 'emergency response'. In the best of times, we are so far away from 'organized help' that one does not expect organized help from 'town' inside an hour. Therefore, we countrified folk don't much think in terms of 'dialing 911'. In many if not most cases, our 'first responders' are our neighbors. If things get 'generally out of hand', response time could quite literally be measured in days, not hours or minutes. Hurricane Gustav was an example of that. Our neighborhood was without electricity, water, phones for a week. During that week I did not see a single 'official' vehicle. But one of my neighbors has a generator, and I had some gasoline. So my insulin spent the week in their refrigerator, and their generator ran in part on my gasoline.

It's not easy for a singleton to be prepared against any and all circumstances. In fact, it's nigh on impossible to be prepared for any and everything. But my gun-toting neighbors are a solid bunch. Should trouble threaten-- in the wake of an election that doesn't turn out the way some would prefer, for instance-- I don't hold any real concern for what trouble might come our way. We are a long way from any likely source of trouble-- rioters, looting, gangs of whatever stripe. And, response time from 'official sources' being what it is, we would not have the luxury of dialing 911 and holding on till the cavalry gets around to riding up out here.

In the event of any man-made disturbance, those causing the disturbance will have to deal with my neighbor's shotgun; my neighbor's AK and his kids with their centerfire revolvers; my neighbors' deer rifles; my neighbors' 9mms and 38s. And, last but not least, MY AK, deer rifle, and 9mm.

Mike Kemp


gott_cha said...

Oh yeah,...sounds familiar,...such is the live in the country,...'specialy down here in DIXIE

James G. Beldock said...

Hi. James from ShotSpotter here (one of the companies you found in your initial Google research).

Yours is an interesting point. In parts of the country where it is *legal* to fire weapons, there are no ShotSpotter systems. Our systems tend to be deployed in dense, urban areas (or by the military), with the intent of curbing endemic violence.


Sunfighter said...

I lived down in the hills for sometime and the sound of gun fire was very common. On any day you could here a shotgun here, an AK there, a .308 there, a 22 there. Ah the lovely sound of country life. Oh how I miss it...