Welcome to Southeast Texas — Our bananas are armed, by God!

Note from Blogger man: Periodically, I feel I should let people know I have this bad habit of editing this blog once it has been published. And published. And published. Sorry, I am used to editing on paper and it’s just too much damned trouble to hook up the printer!

Hey Mr. Tally Man tally me — uh, an AK-47?

It is always entertaining when something locally that is not a disaster makes international news. Whether that something could have caused a disaster, maybe that is a different matter.

Police here in Beaumont, Texas, said on Feb. 8 “multiple concerned citizens reported that a man standing near the intersection of Highway 105 at the Eastex Freeway Service Road was armed with a rifle.”  Officers arrived just after 10 that morning to find an 18-year-old man “dressed in a banana costume and had an AK-47 rifle slung across his back.  The rifle had a drum magazine attached with at least a 50-round capacity. “

The young man was advertising for the grand opening of a local gun store called Golden Triangle Tactical. One must admit, that the spectacle certainly got the public’s attention from here in Texas to all the way across the pond. “Damned Pommies!” as my old Aussie friends used to say.

Whether the advertising stunt was dramatic irony on behalf of the shop owner, and most probably the Banana Boy, one cannot be certain. You see, the owner of the gun shop had been stopped by officers inside the local Parkdale Mall back in December while carrying what was reported by the media as an “assault rifle” on his back. Derek Poe, the shop owner, told police he was carrying the weapon to his store, which was then located inside the mall. The mall management had stated that guns were prohibited although no signs were posted, that is until after this incident made the news. Poe, decided to find a better location in which to run his shop.

Texas has no laws prohibiting openly packing so-called “long guns,” a fact that many gun advocates have wanted to make known through gatherings and marches with like-minded gun-toting Texans. Some are advocating openly carrying handguns in the state. The list of supporters include Sen. Wendy Davis, who won the Texas Democratic Primary on Tuesday. Davis will face Republican Attorney General Greg Abbott in November.

Beaumont police cited Banana Boy for violating a city ordinance that prohibits soliciting in and alongside roadways.  Poe was cited for disorderly conduct by police for taking a gun to his shop in the mall, so noted by “The Gun Report” on The New York Times website. The initial instance, Poe’s plight, has led to some marches around our area of folks both young and old slinging guns around their shoulders. This resulted in neighboring Port Arthur’s police chief to warn such protesters to stay away. The warning was given during the city’s Mardi Gras celebration last week. Whatever one chooses to make of it, two young women were caught up in a carjacking spree while stopped at a Port Arthur red light on their way to the Mardi Gras festivities Saturday evening.

Some may say that the Port Arthur Police Chief Mark Blanton has flawed reasoning for warning those who openly carry long guns. Blanton is concerned such displays of long guns might hinder people from reporting others toting around rifles or shotguns for reasons instead of exerting their Second Amendment rights. Other law officers worry that the public seeing others carrying long guns may disturb those who carry concealed handguns, and who do not know if the gun-carrying person is a nice fellow or mass murderer. Thus, there might be more shootouts at the O-K Corral, so to speak. All of such may seem reactionary police reasoning. But, now wait a minute.

Any crime reporting in Port Arthur would be anecdotal on my part. It sure seems a lot takes place listening to or reading local media. This especially since the town has hit the rocks economically over the past years, despite a boom in construction at local refineries and petrochemical plants. It seems like crime is rampant in Port Arthur. And most is so-called “Black on Black” crime. That is not unusual in the U.S., nor in Port Arthur. Unfortunately this isn’t rare since the town has an African-American population of 40 percent and 36 percent white, followed by Hispanics, Asians and other ethnicities.

The point is, those folks who drive the main highways through “the PA,” will likely see black people. And I just wonder what these gun advocates, mostly white, would feel seeing wave after wave of assault-rifle toting young black kids? Oh well, “we’ll just even out things,” some of the white gun-carrying folks might say. It doesn’t matter though. The point is, a bunch of gunfire in the streets is hardly a positive Chamber of Commerce-Convention and Visitor’s Bureau welcome.

Those who know me know that I am pro gun — to the point I like shooting them and I believe they have a place in our personal safety and culture. The encouragement of violence, by comparison, not so much. I like the fact we can carry long guns in our vehicles and handguns as well. I’ve often thought that perhaps openly carrying handguns would be safer than concealed carry. I am not so sure now. I do not like the vision of masses carrying long guns in our streets unless they are military folks or cops who are marching during a Veterans Day parade. And what will the (paying) neighbors say? A bunch of heavily armed people openly carrying weapons might be exciting for some silly Eurotrash who think they’ve landed into a Wild West show. But me? I prefer living in the not-so-wild, uh, West.

And, I think fruit wearing assault rifles around their shoulders and marching down the highways are just damned silly!