After I posted the blog entitled “Telling on myself,” I received a response, in the form of a private email, and it’s a doozie.
Everett Bosch wrote to me to relate the story of a strange encounter he had recently while airgunning. Everett is a Presbyterian Minister in the Town of Tracy, California. Tracy, Everett tells me, is situated about 60 miles east of San Francisco and about 60 miles south of Sacramento. It used to be a small farming town, but with the growth of the Bay area, has increasingly become a bedroom community for folks who commute to the Bay area.
But folks still farm in Tracy, and ground squirrels are definitely a problem for the farmers. Everett is an airgunner, proud owner of a scope .22 Discovery, and he likes to help people out by doing “pest control favors” while at the same time keeping his eye sharp.
On a recent Friday afternoon, he decided to indulge one of his country boy pastimes by getting out his Discovery and going out west of the new Catholic Church site to help out a local farmer by reducing the severe ground squirrel-caused crop predation in that area. He walked about a quarter into the fields from where he parked his car and began to search for ground squirrels. As he searched, from time to time he would look toward the road.
After a while, Everett looked and saw two highway patrols cars some distance up the road from him. He figured they were doing “some sort of highway patrol stuff” and gave it no further thought. A while later, he looked again, and there were now four highway patrol cars at the same location. “Boy, something must be going on,” he thought.
He was about to find out that he was what was going on.
Having hunted for about an hour, Everett decided to call it quits.
As he walked back to his car, from the quarter-mile distant road, with its four Highway Patrol and now one Sheriff’s patrol cars, came the loudspeaker command: “You in the field with the rifle… put the rifle down! Put your hands up! Start walking toward the road!”
Everett thought, “Oooh boy, I’ve done it now! I can see the paper now: ‘Local pastor arrested on terrorism charges!’ As I walked the very long distance, my hands slowly drifted downward a bit: ‘Get your hands away from your body! Lift them HIGH! When you get to the pole, a unit will meet you.’ The CHP car came to me, stopping about 15 yards away and the officers inside took over. One got out, standing behind his car door with pistol drawn and aimed carefully at me. The other said, ‘Turn around; keep your hands very high! Get down on one knee; now onto the other one; cross your legs over your ankles!’ At my age and with my extra-long feet, do you know how hard that is? I’m sure I detected the end of a laugh when I heard, ‘Don’t fall over.’ The officer at my back proceeded to give a very thorough pat down, over, under, and around. He asked, ‘Is that a cell phone in the belt holster under the shirt?’”
Soon it became very apparent that the Everett wasn’t doing anything illegal. He was merely trying to help a local farmer with a pest problem. The responding officers even commented on his “impressive” air rifle.
Everett now has a written statement of release from custody by the investigating officer (though he said Everett was never in custody… whatever Everett was in, he was now released from it!). Apparently the local authorities had received three phone calls, not from the local residents, but from motorists on the highway, reporting “a man with a rifle.” The Deputy Sheriff said that it was just “Suspicious Circumstances” to which they had responded. Everett thinks maybe he’ll have his statement of release framed.
He concludes: “You see, this is no longer the little country town called Tracy, occupied by farmer-types and mostly blue collar workers accustomed to ‘gopher patrols’. It is now the city of Tracy owned by Bay Area people who call 911 out of fear of guys with rifles.”
Til next time, aim true and shoot straight.
– Jock Elliott