From TPM Reader JW …
I was having dinner with a childhood friend earlier this year in Texas. (I live in NYC now.) This was shortly the April tornadoes that hit the area pretty hard, and he was telling me how scary the roads were. No street lights, fallen trees, tornado sirens wailing, a sense of general panic and that spooky pre-tornado quiet. I assumed the reason he was on the road was because he was trying to get home, but then he told me that he had actually been at home when the sirens began, and left precisely because the danger seemed imminent.
I didn’t understand.
“I realized that I didn’t have any bullets for my gun,” he told me.
I still didn’t understand.
“Looting,” he explained.
I’ve known him for a long time, and had been to the gun range with him a few times when we were kids. But when this level of paranoia set in, I do not know. It amazed me that someone would leave the safety of their home at a time like that, literally risking their life out of some fear that if the worst were to happen and his home were to be hit by a tornado…well, that that wouldn’t have been the worst that could happen at all. The worst would come after, when some roving mob of looters—presumably from the nearby apartment complexes—would invade his neighborhood, and come for his…TV? His old comic books? I don’t know.
I pointed out that I thought his reasoning in that situation was absurd, and he didn’t argue. But, as it is with so many of these survivalist types, the tone of his story made me think he preferred the fantasy.
Growing up in Dallas, it was commonplace that someone would show up to parties in high school with their dad’s gun, show it off, wave it around, perhaps threaten someone. I can name a half dozen people who have died in gun accidents as well. A hunting accident, a friend who banged on the wrong door at the wrong time of night, kids playing with dad’s gun, kids using dad’s gun in a fight. I am glad I don’t live there anymore.
Josh Marshall is editor and publisher of TalkingPointsMemo.com.