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GUNS Magazine September 2010 - Page 78

harD leSSonS At the University of Hard Knocks. he kid was about 7, I think. A rawboned skinny boy with a big scab on his nose and sparkling blue eyes. He gawked at my legs while I stacked groceries on the checkout counter, then finally looked up and caught my eye. T because they’ve got a bone in the yard or ever expect to get one for themselves. Others fight because all their brothers are fighting dogs, and there is honor in the pack, and in your heart, if nowhere else. Hard lessons, “You sure got ugly legs,” he lesson. Did you?” but the dogs are hard too. observed, wrinkling his nose. “What Yeah; I’ve learned a few lessons. As a cop, I learned we don’t have happened?” I thought for a moment—a As a Marine, I learned our national a Criminal Justice System, we have a long moment, and almost got lost in “house” needs tough, vicious guard Legal Industry. It pays some people my head. Oh, a lot, I thought, a lot dogs on duty 24/7 out in the inky handsomely and destroys others, has happened… But that’s not what I dark, even out past the far fenceline; innocent or guilty, and not many care told him. couldn’t exist without ’em—but most much about who is which. There are Summer had come to the high of the “residents and guests” don’t prosecutors who aren’t interested country, and despite the fact the want to see them lying on the lawn in evidence which might absolve a appearance of my legs tends to upset in the sunshine, nor pay the vet bills defendant, defenders who fight tooth some folks of tender sensitivities—an when they’re ripped and bleeding, nor and nail to exclude damning evidence array of shrapnel wounds make them even be aware of them. of guilt, and the courtroom charade sorta “decorative”—I happily donned I learned a lot of dogs fight because is all about who scores the win, not at old bush shorts again. I mean, long they’re fighting dogs, not necessarily all about “justice.” Look up the word pants are just, you know, too “eristic” and you’ll know the long. Besides, when you’re real name of the game played balancing precariously on a in court. Testify in enough cane, shorts are much easier trials and you’ll learn there to pull on. are only two kinds of justice Anyway, the kid’s left: street and poetic. statement surprised me. I learned every big agency Many people stare sidelong, needs shooters; guys who can like they’re trying not to stand and deliver, willingly be seen looking at a bad and well. The brass knows accident, but very few will who they are, quickly calls ever ask what happened. on ’em when all else fails, and It might be the kinda thing even more quickly throws they really don’t wanta them to the jackals whenever know. Little boys don’t have it’s politically expedient. that reticence. As a contract soldier, I But how can you—and learned most “mercenaries” why would you—tell a child aren’t very mercenary about things that made you at all, instead, driven by scream in pain; wonder can ideals their birth-nations I lose this much blood and espouse, but will not support live?; and haunt you every without a hefty, unbalanced cold, wet morning, stinging quid pro quo. I’ve known like fire ants? “mercenaries” who never lost I told him, “I just moved a fight, but were conquered the wrong way a few times, by every grinning hungry too slow or too fast; just child; every thin, dashikidid the wrong thing.” He wrapped momma with a took that in, rolled it over thirsty mtoto; every bent old like a sour lemon drop on man whose only possessions his tongue and said simply, were his cloak, cap, walking “I done that too. See?” He stick and his dignity—the pointed to the scab on his Sometimes, by the time you learn the lessons, you’re as frayed and dogpeople whose only support beak. “Mom says I learned a eared as the lesson books. from their own governments WWW.GUNSMAGAZINE.COM • SEPTEMBER 2010 78

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