Wednesday, July 24, 2024
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HomeEducation / CultureOh shoots: It’s only just big-gun

Oh shoots: It’s only just big-gun

By Anthony Deyal

Last Sunday, the latest Trinidad bulletin was that the man who calls the shots in the nation’s prisons put one in his foot.

According to the newspapers, the prison commissioner, Dennis Pulchan, was out of commission because he was trying to holster his gun when he slipped and fell. He reported that he heard a loud report and then felt a burning sensation in his right leg. It is believed that the prison commissioner had a bad day and may have started off on the wrong foot. In fact, when the nurse at the St Clair Medical Centre, to which he was taken for treatment, wanted to change his bandage he put his foot down and refused. I recoiled when I read that.

Someone joked that when Pulchan’s boss, minister of national security, Fitzgerald Hinds was asked about the incident, he replied with hindsight; “That is a loaded question.” My friend Franklin called me and said that when the prison boss gets out of hospital he would be like the rest of us and have to go back for his second shot. I pretended to be upset and told him to “shot” the hell up. He was quick enough on the draw to retort, “The bullet was shot of a length. The commissioner aimed for his big toe.” I quickly shot back, “Had that happened, the commissioner would have been coma-toes for a while.”

Then my friend laughed uproariously and recalled, “Talking about toe-tease, there was a man in Portland who accidentally shot himself in his groin and blamed a homeless man. Unfortunately, the evidence could not stand up in court or elsewhere.” The whole thing actually backfired and the man ended up in jail and hospital at the same time.

In what seemed to be the start of a new pandemic or pun-demic, another big-shot, this time the president of Trinidad’s pharmacy board, Andrew Rahaman, shot himself in what the media claim is the “right” leg. I had to read it twice thinking either the president or I had missed something.  In matters like these, is there a “wrong” leg to hit? Worse, the newspaper report claimed that “Rahaman accidentally shot himself on Tuesday night while trying to secure one of his guns.”

I had to thank the media for putting me straight on this matter because I always thought that the guns were intended to secure us. If the pharmacist spoke the truth, and did not dispense with accuracy as they normally do, he explained that after exercising he got into his car and tried to adjust one of two licensed guns which was holstered and tucked on the right side of his pants waist. The gun went off and Rahaman reported he felt a sharp pain in his right leg, which he saw was bleeding.

Such was the jubilation that a “party” of police visited the crime scene. My friend Franklin, having more ammunition for his humour, called, “Imagine a two-gun pharmacist. They should call him Doc Hurry-day.” I shot back, “Fortunately, he hit his leg and not some other part otherwise we would know him as Wild Bill Hickock.” My friend was once again quicker on the draw than I was. “Given the mess he made of his foot and his reputation,” he declared, “They should call him Botch Kassidy.”

You would think that anyone else with even a modicum or a “planck length” (smallest possible size in the Universe) of sense would know better than to shoot his foot and would always stay out of the range of dangerous weapons. But even the reverberations among the population did not stop the big shots who could get two guns when most other people are denied, regardless of how much they need or deserve a gun, to have just one.

This is why we have to think of our next self-wounding shooter as the lone ranger and this article as “Four Guns To The Border.” At just around the same time that the prison commissioner was out of commission, a businessman, Riad Hosein, had to be treated for a wound in his upper calf after a bullet from his Glock 9mm pistol hit him. He had shot at a metal target in a range owned by a senior policeman. Obviously, the target at which the man fired, called “the Christmas Tree”, must have a clause or two, one from the North Pole and one from Santa Fe, protecting the owner of the range from repercussions, legal or otherwise. The media said that the shooter was subsequently discharged but, unfortunately, after his gun was.

Nobel Prize Winner for Economics, Ravi Bhatra, believes that because we really don’t learn from the mistakes of others but must make our own, the stock market crashes at predictable intervals based on the “coming of age” of a new generation. In Trinidad it does not take a whole generation or more than a few days for people to screw up irrevocably. In March 2019, just two years ago, Richard Edwards, a 50-year-old businessman, decided to show off how to load and unload his firearm. He pointed it at his forehead, claimed that the gun could not discharge in that position, pulled the trigger, the gun went off and he died.

Thinking about the commissioner and others, the best thing I could say is that at least they didn’t get shot in the head. That could be mind-blowing. But you would think that not messing with guns would be a no-brainer just like them.

The phrase “to shoot oneself in the foot” means to sabotage yourself or to make a silly mistake that harms you in some fashion. The phrase came from the First World War when soldiers sometimes deliberately shot themselves in the foot so they would be sent to the hospital tent instead of the battlefield. Predictably, they all claimed to have shot themselves accidentally. “Shoot the bull” describes what I and my friend were doing – making jokes and sharing stories with each other. In other words, shooting some “shoot”.

“Oh shoot” is an expression that we use when we make a little mistake and the “shoot” is a strategic replacement (especially in front of priests or parents) for a four-letter “S”- word which means human faecal waste. There are a lot of good jokes and puns built around the shot call. Netflix is soon releasing an extremely realistic documentary series about the life of Abraham Lincoln.

The finale is shot before a live audience. In Alabama, a man was shot with a starting pistol. Police are sure it’s race-related. Another man was shot 100 times with an upholstery gun. Don’t worry though, he’s fully recovered. And now, I have to stop writing so I can attend the funeral of my friend Will. The officer in charge of the shooting range, instead of making his soldiers shoot at the Christmas tree, shouted out his instructions, “Fire at Will!” And they did.

*Tony Deyal was last seen talking about the panda that walked into a burger joint, had a burger, pulled out a gun, shot the waiter and left. When asked why, the panda replied, “I read that pandas eat shoots and leaves.”

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