Thursday, 2 February 2012

Freeze!





Okay, so last post I briefly mentioned a run in with the American police.  A number of people have asked me to clarify this so here goes.

In 1989 I was working as a fork lift truck driver in a car polish factory and drifting aimlessly from one unskilled job to another. I had received some money in compensation when I was injured in an industrial accident a couple of years previously and decided I to get a three month visa and visit the United States. The plan was to land in New York and work my way across country to California.

So me and a guy I had worked with and who had been to America before landed in New York in February 1990, spending a week there before catching a Greyhound up to Boston, Massachusetts. We didn’t have much money so we were budgeting tightly and ended up booking in at the Boston Youth Hostel and going out for some food and beers.

Later that evening and with several beers under our belts we realised that we had no idea where our hostel was.  My mate wanted to get a taxi but I spotted a police station just down the street and said we should go there and ask for directions before shelling out for taxi fare.

So we walked into the police station and towards the front desk where a lone female officer sat.  I was just about to open my mouth when her eyes widened and she jumped up, dropping her hand to the butt of the pistol on her hip.
She drew the gun and pointed a finger of her free hand towards my friend who was standing behind me.

“Take your hand out of the bag slowly, sir”. She said.

I turned to look at him, my hands so far up in the air I nearly dislocated my shoulders.  My mate was standing white-faced, his hand inside the bag that held the guide book he was reaching for.

I stammered out the reason we were there until she relaxed and I was able to lower my hands. She pointed out the late hour, our long hair, beards and leather jackets and the smell of drink didn’t make a great first impression.

I pointed out that I had never even seen a real gun before and hers was the first and I thought it was going to be the last thing I ever saw.  I was a gun virgin.

Guns are a rarity in the UK and the only armed police officers are specialised firearms units.  For all I know people in the U.S. have guns pulled on them everyday and it’s no big deal. 

41 comments:

Rockinrule said...

I certainly dont get guns pulled on me everyday.

Pat Hatt said...

LOL I'm still a gun virgin, not ashamed of that. The U.S. is pretty much gun crazy, never knew that about the UK though either. I'll remember to shave and not get drunk if I ever visit, or at least not reach into a bag..haha

Jax said...

LOL I live in NY and see a gun almost every day. Never had one pulled on me though. My dad's a hunter so guns are nothing knew...

I would have peed myself, forget flailing my arms in the air. hahaha

Margaret said...

I've never seen a real gun except in a police officer's holster. I hope it stays that way.

D4 said...

That's funny. I had to smile. I can imagine that stuff happening to me, and that's why I don't bother talking to cops.

Roland D. Yeomans said...

Sadly, the police daily only see the worst sort, so everyone begins to look suspect to them. I live in the deep South and guns are, indeed, everywhere.

Having a gun pulled on you certainly was a terrible first impression of America. But the world over is unkind to strangers to their shores.

Very interesting blog you have here, Roland

Sub-Radar-Mike said...

Interesting take on what we consider normal over here. I don't blame you at all for being nervous around hand cannons.

altadenahiker said...

Not every day, and it is a big deal. Though not as big a deal as it should be.

MRanthrope said...

good ol' American hospitality for you. Sorry about that pal, not all of us are douche bags. Also, I kind of cringed as I read your story and realized you innocently assumed cops in the USA would serve/help you.

The Angry Lurker said...

That was a touching cloth experience right there....

Bart said...

guns are way fun to play with. i love shooting things :)
u shoulda asked for her number...badge number

Kristjan said...

Great story!
What was that police lady thinking? That you came to rob the police station? LOL!

Tony Van Helsing said...

Rockinrule: You haven't lived.

Pat: We don't need guns over here, we just batter each other with fists.

Jax: I'm surprised there is any wildlife left on the States, everyone seems to be a hunter.

Margaret: It was a weird experience.

D4: I talk to them everyday mate.

Roland: thankfully it wasn't my first impression. Read my earlier post New York Conversation for that.

Mike: We just don't have guns mate, thankfully.

Alta: Huge deal.

MRanthrope: We just got off to a bad start.

Lurker: Life flashing before my eyes moment.

Bat: I only thought of that after we got out of there.

Kristjan: We did look a bit lairy, to be fair.

amy b.s. said...

i'm really not sure what i would do if someone pulled a gun on me. talk about scary!

YeamieWaffles said...

Wow, scary post man, it's great that you made it out all okay though. Absolutely crazy regardless.

Cranky and Difficult said...

"I was a gun virgin"
Well said.

Great blog, just discovered it and am now following you!

Juliette said...

Just the photo of that gun pointing at me was scary! I would have wet myself.

My 2 Pesos said...

Very common in Texas.

Britta said...

Dear Tony,
first: you were lucky - one false move in such a situation...
I saw a few guns in my life: once a colleague of mine stood --- hey, that will make a great new post - I won't use up all my powder here :-)
No, but seriously: the right to possess a weapon is a very difficult subject to discuss.

Electric Addict said...

I don't get guns pointed in my face but I know many many many people with guns.

Azra said...

That sounds scary. In SA most people have (unfortunately) encountered a gun either willingly or unwillingly. Its not very pleasant either way.

Tony Van Helsing said...

Amy: I'm just glad I didn't have one myself, there would have been a shoot out.

Matthew: Thanks man.

Cranky: Likewise.

Juliette: I never said I didn't (I didn't).

Pesos: So I hear.

Britta: Use all your powder, excellent pun.

Electric: Thankfully I don't.

Azra: You said it.

Dylanthulhu said...

She's exactly the kind of cop I hate. Most cops are people who are hoping that someone will respect them.

No.

Janie Junebug said...

I don't like guns. My sister pointed her husband's gun at me once. She thought it was funny. Guess who didn't think it was funny? It was loaded.

Love,
Janie

Heaven. said...

Geez!

dopdavid said...

i live in the US and i don't see guns everyday, you can hear them everyday in certain parts of the city. i know many people who own them, but they keep them out of sight

Sujana said...

That must have been a truly terrifying experience! I've never seen a real gun yet and hopefully, never lol.

Padded Cell Princess said...

I would have crapped myself and I own a gun! Ok, my gun is in my dad's gun safe back in America but I do resent the thought that all Americans are hunters...my husband isn't ;)

p.s. but I was

JaeSunEx said...

wow that is a crazy situation. I have had a gun pointed at me before here in the U.S. was a bit of an adrenaline rush, not sure if i was scared or more excited and ready to try and defend myself. I guess it was the latter since i didn't get shot.

Janet Johnson said...

Wow, that would have scared me . . . though being female myself, I bet I things would have panned out differently. I have fortunately only ever seen guns in people's collections. I hope to keep it that way.

Kelly Polark said...

I hope she had someone drive you to the hostel after that scare!

Elisabeth Hirsch said...

A gun virgin--I love that description. The moment must have been terrifying though!

Movies on my Mind said...

That's a heck of a story. Mind you, the UK has enough gun crime in it to give pause for thought. I suppose at least UK cops don't carry arms, at least not publically.

Andy Santana said...

Olá,
passei para conhecer o seu blog,
adorei aqui.
Beijos

Samantha Vérant said...

I've never had a gun pulled on me. I think it's a pretty big deal. What a jumpy woman. Welcome to America, eh?

Christina Farley said...

When I pulled this up, all I saw was the barrel of the gun. Quite the experience. I've never had a gun pulled on me, knives in the jungles of Java, but not guns. Thank goodness.

R.gers said...

To be honest, that's my impression of the American police as well.

Nicki Elson said...

I'll bet you sprung for a cab the next time, eh?

"I got stopped by a lady cop..." You know the song?

Elle Sees said...

i stayed in that youth hostel in boston!!!

Jilda said...

Sadly, living here in the south, most people I know do have guns, sorry you lost your gun virginity in the states.
Fear, spawned by religion and politics, makes people think they need those guns. Congrats on your 200

Amy said...

I was in a discount retailer yesterday and there was a hand gun in the clearance aisle. Not locked up, just sitting out in the open. Certain that was a mistake, but there it was for anyone to grab. It's disgusting how accessible guns are over here, and the price we pay due to that fact.