Letters to the Editor

Wild West redux

There is good news on the horizon for those who remember and reveled in the cowboys of the Old West. From black-and-white movies to color television, we idolized Roy Rogers and Hopalong Cassidy, Bat Masterson and Matt Dillon. And who can forget the wonderful Paladin whose calling card, “Have Gun, Will Travel,” said it all.

Well, here in Florida, the Wild, Wild West may soon be back squarely in our sights. Among the usual stack of legislative bills that would further expand our sacred gun rights is one referred to as “open carry.” Under this proposal — and it will surely become law in one form or another when our top-heavy Republican Legislature convenes next year — we will be able to stroll down our streets wearing sidearms in full public display.

As currently written, I could amble along Andrews Avenue or Biscayne Boulevard holding a loaded pistol in my hand. (Whether I can hold guns in both hands at the same time has yet to be addressed.)

Picture the scenario: You and I, a block apart, walking toward each other, both wearing gun belts sporting six-shooters. Your hand moves toward your belt — perhaps you’re just reaching for your cellphone, but then I don’t know that. In an abundance of caution I draw my weapon, in response you draw yours, then … Get the picture?

Will one of us perhaps decide to quickly cross to the other side of the street to avoid a possible confrontation? Not likely. We’re both pretty macho, and remember, our cowboys of yesteryear never lost a gunfight.

Phil Shailer,