The Gun

Two weeks ago during one of our "terror warnings" I had an unexpected free morning. I got some things sorted out, and on my way to an afternoon meeting I treated myself to lunch at Salomon's Bagels. I love bagels, and there is a great little bagel store next to the Jewish bookstore in the Joachimsthaler Str.

The bookstore usually has a policeman standing outside, guarding it, and this day was no exception. Except that the policeman had a machine gun slung over his shoulder, and it was pointing straight ahead. And the policeman was not paying attention to anything other than his mobile phone.

I found this very, very strange, and was lucky to be able to pass behind him on the way into the bagel store. I had a lovely lunch, but on the way out, the policeman was still there, the machine gun still pointing straight ahead. He wasn't texting any more, but he had his back to the wall, so I had to pass in front of the mouth of the gun to pass him.

I thought about speaking to him, as a gun which is not in use is to be kept pointed to the ground - WiseKid, now experienced in the ways of the military, explained this to me later. But I decided that discussing anything with someone pointing a gun at me was not really a great idea. I gave the guy a wide berth, kept my eyes on the mouth of the gun, and passed as quickly as I could.

When I got home, I got mad, and wrote a complaint at the online police station. Today a woman called and apologized profusely. She said that the policeman had been called to a discussion with his boss and had reviewed with him the proper way to hold a gun and that he can only use a telephone for police business, not for personal business. I explained again that as a citizen of a free country that is not at war, that I do not want to have guns pointed at me by police. She agreed, and apologized another few times. They didn't want to write me a letter, but prefer the personal touch.

Well, okay. A letter would have been nice, but I really am surprised that my online letter had consequences. I rather expected it to be piped to /dev/null. Now if we could just get them to tone down the security theater ...


Anonymous said...

calling is less effort and leaves no paper-trail of the incident?

would it be unreasonable to have asked for a response in writing (email is fine)?


WiseWoman said...

I considered that, but then I was really happy to have gotten any kind of response out of them. They're learning - next time I want it in writing.