Monday, November 10, 2008

The worst mistake you can make is carrying a gun.

Do cab drivers carry guns? Travis Bickle did in the movie. I've known a few guys who did.

The guy who bought Hammer's house when he got that choice job, was carrying one when he picked up a couple at the Crown Plaza one night. It was luger, WWII version, he was into guns. He kept it in a sock, with some other stuff like a roll of quarters. His wife still drives, one night about a year ago, she made the comment to me that if someone pulls a knife on you and you can take it away from them, you can use it on them.

His wife was wrong, and I told her why. When the cops get there, there's going to be a victim, bleeding, claiming that the evil cab driver cut them up for no reason. This should have been obvious to her, but for some reason it wasn't. The actual truth she was reaching for was something my grandfather told me 50 years ago, never pull a weapon on anybody unless you're going to kill them with it, otherwise they'll take it away from you and use it on you. Not quite the same thing, is it? My grandfather had worked on the Detroit waterfront as a young man, he knew what he was talking about.

What happened to her husband after the pair from the Crown Plaza got in, was they got into a fist fight in the back seat. What do you do, if a man and woman are pounding the crap out of each other in the back seat? He tried, telling them to get out of the cab. They didn't like that idea, so they stopped fighting each other and jointly tried to drag him over the seat into the back seat. He told me he figgured they might kill him. He said that when he was starting to lose consciousness, he brought that luger out of the sock. All he intended to do was show it to them, scare them a little, show them he could fight back.

They let go of him right away, but the guy started howling, "He's got a gun. He's got a gun." He was still howling this when the cops got there. The front desk from the Crown Plaza had seen the fight going outside their front door and they called the cops. Once the guy in the back seat saw that gun, there was no way he was going to get out of the cab.

There was a restraining order prohibiting contact between these 2. The cops had no interest in that, whatsoever. Our driver did get taken to jail and charged with carrying a gun. Was he planning on killing someone? Truth is, he was lucky they didn't kill him with his own gun. All it cost him was being banned from the business for over a year, over a year on paper, he lost the gun too, of course. Thousands in legal expenses to keep him out of prision, and an indelible track record for carrying a gun. Hardly worth it, how many beatings would you take in a year or 2 in prision?

Did he come back to the business? Yes he did, but the die was cast, he'd taken steps to find himself a better life. He's a card carrying journyman electrician these days. Maybe it was the right thing for his life, but what would have happened if he'd been forced to use it? He might still be in prison.

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