The bullet’s in the gun
I’m Just Sayin’
by SHEILA SMITH
“You can get a lot done with a kind word and a gun than a kind word alone.” Al Capone
Gott’s Cove was once a place where everyone knew everyone else. We were all related by blood or marriage, attended the same churches and schools and buried our dead in the same cemeteries. We could identify which vehicle belonged to which neighbor and even call stray dogs by their name.
Times have changed, though, like they have changed everywhere else. Lately the Cove, like so many other small communities, has been hit with a growing number of burglaries, thefts and drug issues.
My cousin and I, one of the few in the family to make our adult lives in the community, have often discussed the change and what it means. There was a time when our parents allowed us to walk the roads without asking which direction we were heading or warning us not to talk to strangers. Years later, my cousin and I are even reluctant to take a walk together because we cannot recognize half the vehicles and passengers going by.
So with growing concerns and crime, a neighborhood watch has been formed. Monday night, a group of about 30 residents gathered to talk with the Acadia Parish Sheriff’s Office about our concerns.
When a detective opened the floor for questions, I was happy to hear the second one: “What are our rights if someone is on our property?”
Now, we all know the meaning behind this: When can I shoot? Of course, the detective advised that if any person is not in immediate danger, they should contact law enforcement. However, the detective added that if a person is in danger, they could defend themselves.
Some might think people have gone slap-happy in keeping firearms at their sides but in this day and age, you have to do what you have to do. Personally, I’m not getting rid of any weapons to feel all warm and liberal inside; I do not want to hurt anyone and I pray I never take a life. I also pray, though, that if someone or multiple suspects enter my home without permission or intending to do harm, I can reach a gun and pull a trigger fast enough.
I personally would hope not to shoot at someone I discovered stealing fuel from my vehicle or attempting to make off with my lawn mower. Of course, I would hope no one would be stealing fuel or taking items off my property.
The general feeling I got during the neighborhood watch meeting, and other crime-related meetings I have covered in Jeff Davis Parish, is that people are tired. They work full-time jobs and save money to not only pay for their own necessities but extras as well. Rich or poor, no one should have what is rightfully theirs stolen. So when I do hear a story about some trespasser or thief getting shot or pummeled in the act, I assure you my heart does not get sad. You have got to be some kind of stupid to think you can go into someone’s house or on their land and do as you please and have nothing happen to you. In fact, in these times, I would rather be caught by the police before the homeowner. With jails so overcrowded, a thief will end up back on the streets; with armed homeowners, you might be getting fitted for a pine box.
We all left the neighborhood watch meeting in agreement that we needed to pay better attention around the community and share any information about suspicious activity. The very next morning, in fact, people began contacting one another about a suspicious man riding through the area, claiming to be looking for work. Communication will make us stronger and it will help to protect the community from possible crimes. The sheriff’s department told us that even if we see an unfamiliar vehicle in the community to let them know; no matter how small the matter, they said they wanted to know about what was happening in our area because that information just might be relevant.
It’s encouraging to know law enforcement is working with us and looking out for the safety of our residents.
It’s also encouraging to know all of my neighbors and myself have loaded guns.
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