Fear in My Own Backyard

Wednesday

Dinner at a fabulous sushi place in Greenville, South Carolina. Bob, my colleague, and I are visiting my son and my granddaughter and my son’s girlfriend. We were gnawing on beef dumplings when the phone rang.

It was Alex. In a tense voice, she told me that the night before, there had been a Black Lives Matter rally about 50 feet from our swimming pool. Several hundred blacks and whites walked through the streets shouting, “Eat the rich!” One of them threw himself over the back wall and started to pry open one of our back doors. He was white and not wearing a shirt. One of our housekeepers, a stunningly beautiful Hispanic woman, Jennifer, yelled at him to leave and chased him back over the wall until he hid in a huge green trash barrel (which is where he belongs).

Then many more stood outside our back wall and shouted obscenities. My wife, Alex, and her nurse, Gemma, could see the rage on the rioters’ faces from our kitchen.

(All of this was relayed to us by phone by my wife.)

Gemma told Alex that there were too many doors leading into our house from the many gardens around our walls. Gemma suggested a strategic move: They went into my bedside table and retrieved two .38 revolvers, fully loaded, and went to Alex’s bathroom, double-locked the doors, and sat down to defend themselves.

We live only two blocks from the Beverly Hills Police Department headquarters, but you cannot count on anything these days.

Gemma asked Alex, “Are you afraid?”

Alex hoisted her piece and said, “No.”

“Neither am I,” said Gemma.

A few minutes later, a huge wail of sirens told Alex and Gemma that the police were there. There was screaming and more sirens, and then in about an hour, the street outside our house was clear.

Tuesday

But now it’s Tuesday. I’m back from the East. Alex, Gemma, our night nurses, Carol and Cesar, and I are in my bedroom studying a pile of guns and bullets. We’re deciding how to parcel them out. The rumor is that the Black Lives Matter people will be back on July 4 to make more trouble. I will not shoot anyone who is not directly threatening us. But I won’t hesitate to shoot if we are in jeopardy.

Who would have ever thought things would come to this in Beverly Hills in the U S of A? And the demonstrators/rioters/house breakers have the media on their side. My view of this is clear and was preached by Trotsky when the sailors of the cruiser Aurora rebelled against the Bolsheviks they had put in power a few months earlier. “I have just one word for the Bolsheviks,” he said. “Shoot!”

But how could it have come to this? I feel very lucky we have a home in North Idaho. Maybe that will be the Last Redoubt. To think I am handing out pistols to my wife and to our nurses. And to think my wife shook her head, “No,” and smiled when Gemma asked if she were afraid. Her father was awarded the Silver Star for World War II and the Distinguished Service Cross for Vietnam. West Point 1944. Fought hand against the SS and the Viet Cong. How proud he must be. But how could it have come to this?

And where the hell does it end?

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Author: Ben Stein

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