I got pulled over today for having studded tires. No big deal there. I’ve been meaning to change them out, but it seems I always had something else to occupy my attention. Besides; it wasn’t but a few weeks ago I needed them up in the mountains. We had snow right here in mid May too.
Strangely, the cop asks me if I have any guns in the vehicle. This has never happened to me before in Idaho, and only once in Washington, in all my nearly 40 years of driving, even though I usually have a bandolier of .30-30 ammo hanging on the headrest for all the world to see.
“Well, yeah. Certainly.”
“Where are they.”
“Let’s see. I have to think about this. There’s an AR in the back seat, a 9 mm pistol in the back seat, and one on my hip. For which I have a permit” I added. (I’d forgotten about the Mark II auto pistol in its soft case on the front seat) That’s about the minimum. I usually have more guns with me, because sometimes I like to go shooting after work.
“Oh, alright” he says. Now, I would have been glad to show him the permit, but he didn’t ask. He just walked back to his cruiser. I figured he didn’t much care and would rather proceed checking my record and writing up the ticket. Wrong! Fail!
He was back there forEVER. I’ve never had a stop take half this long. Eventually a second cruiser shows up, and the second cop gets out and has a LONG conversation with the first one. I’m really beginning to wonder what they could possibly be discussing. Who do they think I am? What do they think I’ve done? WFT? I have no record, my driving record is pristine. Man, studs in June must be one hell of a big deal!
By now I can feel the adrenaline coming on, ’cause both cops are approaching my pickup, one on either side, cautiously, like they are afraid I’m going to start shooting any second, or like they’re getting ready to make an arrest of an “armed suspect”. I’m half expecting to see a SWAT van tear around the corner at this point, they way they’re acting.
Understand that this whole time I was nothing but peaches and cream, putting forth my most polite and straight-forward mannerism, and keeping my hands on the wheel or in full view every second.
Turns out they “had a hard time finding [my] carry permit” in my home town in Washington. Several years ago, the rules were changed such that you now must apply for your permit, and any renewals, in your home town police dept., and apparently they had a hard time getting hold of my local guys, or my local guys had a hard time keeping their records straight. I don’t know which, but several of these fellows need a little talkin’ to.
For one thing, if I were a real threat, would I have declared the pistol on my hip? I think not. Yet these guys never did relax. Not even after everything was cleared up. They were polite and all, but wow– very nervous, and it seemed the more I tried to be all polite and accommodating and chatty, the more nervous they got. The first guy is the only one I spoke with, and he acted plenty nice and all. No complaint there.
For another thing; really, if you are so risk averse that you have to call for backup because I have guns just like most people around here, maybe you should be in another line of work. I know it’s tough, but that requires a certain personality and the understanding that sometimes shit happens and that you’re willing to accept the risks. We all do that for example every time we get behind the wheel. Lots of people we know have been is serious vehicle accidents, but we’re not at DefCon One all the time, like these two cops were today. For another; my family name is something of a local institution here in Moscow. We’ve had a downtown business here, right next door to the cop shop, since 1990, and in this town since 1978. Our ads have been on the radio here every day. For years. My name is the name of the business. This is a small town. If you’re afraid of me you must be afraid of your own shadow. Besides, if you REALLY believe in the second amendment, you wouldn’t be worried about whether I have a permit to exercise my rights, except as a formality or an afterthought.
Now I know more what it must be like to be caught “driving while black”. “Driving while armed” can be much the same, even in Idaho it seems.
Now I don’t want to hear from anyone about how tough the cop job is, or about how many cops get into dangerous situations as fast as lightening. I know. Sorry. You know that when you apply. There are those who can handle it, those who probably shouldn’t be there, and others who just need a little talkin’ to once in a while, to keep them on track. These two were just a bit off track, and it Does. Not. Help. Anything.
That being said; I was pulled over by ID State Police a few months ago, for not signaling a lane change, and he was cool as a cucumber. No ticket. Just wanted to talk about it and check the equipment. Huge contrast.