Grenades for Jehovah's Witness

; .

An M16 replete with an M203 grenade launcher can seem fairly intimidating
under the wrong circumstances — such as during door-to-door proselytizing.

There’s got to be a locus for it on the human genome someplace. We simply haven’t found it yet. Some folks clearly just have the gun nerd gene.

It really is tough to quantify. I have been into guns from my very earliest recollections. I’m not a violent guy and honestly don’t much care for hunting. However, the act of stroking a trigger and seeing something happen downrange will reliably get my juices flowing. This particularly curious genetic anomaly has taken me to some fascinating places.


Happy Birthday Indeed!

I bought my first two machineguns on my 21st birthday. They joined an already not-insubstantial collection of scary black guns. These pieces were the fruits of uncounted hours spent behind a lawn mower alongside an unsettling lot of janitorial service rendered at a local drug store. Once I came to appreciate I could turn my time and toil into guns, the world was my oyster.

I lived with a couple of like-minded guys as I trudged my way through engineering school. They were cheap, like me, so our modest duplex was hot in the summer and cold in the winter. Money wasted on personal comfort could otherwise be better spent on finer stuff.

On this cold January Saturday, a few buddies and I had been out turning ammo into noise. The star of the show was my full auto M16A1 replete with 40mm M203 grenade launcher underneath. We got back to our little duplex and I launched into my recovery routine. I laid out a GI-issue poncho on the living room floor, stripped my weapons and cleaned them nicely in anticipation of our next foray to the range.

As it was chilly I was still wearing my shooting togs. At that time in my life that meant some BDU pants and motorcycle boots, a leather motorcycle jacket, and cutoff fingerless gloves. I got my M16 tidied up and reassembled and then moved to stow it in the gun box back in the bedroom. As I strolled across the living room with my rifle/grenade launcher thrown rakishly over my shoulder there came a knock upon the door. Without giving it a moment’s thought I swung open the door to see who might be calling.

All my close friends knew the deal. Most of them were smitten with the gun nerd gene themselves. They all appreciated a trip over to the Dabbs survival enclave would invariably involve a visible firearm or three. In this case, however, it was something else entirely.


The Watchtower is the monthly illustrated religious magazine of the Jehovah’s Witnesses.
Their outreach teams will typically leave a copy after a visit but Will missed out on his that day.

Hello …

I was unexpectedly greeted by a trio of Jehovah’s Witnesses, two young women and an older man. They were arrayed in the standard two-up, one-back Jehovah’s Witness assault formation. The man was in the rear. From behind genuinely perky demeanors they launched into their spiel, likely for the hundredth time that day. I swear I’m not making this up. Their opening question was, “Sir, are you burdened by all the rampant violence in the world?”

Truth be known I was and am. People being mean to each other is a lamentable aspect of the fallen nature of man. However, at that place, under those circumstances, carrying that gun, there was simply no way I could have convinced them of the fact.

Throughout our brief time together I uttered not a word. I just stood there agape, fish-like and stupid. The two young ladies’ eyes grew big as hubcaps. Their apparent superior officer, the guy in the back, gently put his hands on their shoulders and said, “Sir, you have a nice day.” With that they beat a hasty retreat. They didn’t even offer a copy of The Watchtower magazine.


Something close to the mental image Will’s visitors had when he opened the door in his shooting attire and grenade launcher.

Sorry, Folks

I felt genuinely terrible. As regards the Jehovah’s Witnesses there is a great deal philosophically and theologically upon which they and I disagree. However, they have my sincere respect. Anyone who cares enough about my immortal soul to cold call my front door should be treated with kindness and courtesy, even if I’m not terribly interested in adopting their belief system. I never intended to frighten or unsettle them. It was just really poor timing.

For the rest of my time living there I was never again visited by the Jehovah’s Witnesses. I always imagined I likely made it into some special instructional video. I probably earned my own segment titled something to the effect of, “What to do when confronted by a hostile redneck biker with a grenade launcher.”

To the three unfortunate individuals who called upon me, if you’re out there someplace I truly am sorry. The whole exchange just came off epically wrong. Though it did not seem thus back then in 1988, I am actually a pretty nice guy. I’m just smitten with the gun nerd gene.

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