Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Defending Chez Berg

On a recent sunny afternoon, a neatly-dressed middle-aged man walks along the sidewalk on a leafy residential street in St. Paul.  He has a clipboard in his hand, and he wears a baseball-type cap with "SAFETY & INSPECTIONS" embroidered on it. He has an ID on a lanyard around his neck that identifies him as an employee of the City of St Paul's Safety and Inspections Department.

As the inspector turns to walk up the sidewalk to a front door of a house, his pace slows and he becomes watchful. He climbs the steps to the door, listens a moment, and then rings the bell.


He listens again for a moment, hears activity inside, and rings the bell again, this time twice.

Again, nothing.

A little exasperated, the inspector raps the door sharply and say, "I know you are home, Mr. Berg."

"No I'm not," comes a voice from within.

"Oh, come on now, Mr. Berg. If it is not you, who is it?"

"It's my - - I'm the cleaning lady."

"Mr. Berg, I recognize your voice from the radio."

"You do? Great. Who is it?"

"I'm from Safety and Inspections."

"Go away."

"I can't do that. We have to talk about your lawn and your garage."

"Send me a letter."

"We have. Several. You've never responded."

"Jesus. I have to share a city with these cretins."

"What did you say, Mr. Berg; you were sort of muttering."

"Oh, never mind. What's you bed wetters' problem now?"

"The same things we've been talking -  or at least trying to talk to you - about for quite a while: small children have become lost and disoriented in the tall grass in your yard; the scrap metal salvage business you are apparently running out of your garage is not permitted in a residential neighborhood."

"Damn DFL cabal that runs this town!"

"Be that as it may, these are still code violations."

"I'll take care of them as soon as I can."

"It's too late for that, I'm afraid. I've written you up and I am here to give you the citation. Please open the door."

"I won't. Now go away."

"I'm not going away, Mr. Berg."

There is silence for a few minutes.

"Are you still there?"

"Yes, Mr. Berg, I'm still here."

"Damn. Okay, wait just a minute."

The inspector hears some commotion from inside the house: doors being opened and closed and drawer and cupboard doors being slammed. After a few minutes, he can hear footsteps back to the door from the inside.

"Did you ever hear of the Heller decision by the Supreme Court last week?"

"I can't say that I have, Mr. Berg."

"The Supreme Court of the United States says that I can keep a loaded handgun in the house."

"You could always do that in Minnesota, Mr. Berg."

"Really? Whatever. Do you know what this sound is?" There is a chunk-kachunk sound. "Never mind. It's me racking my sweet new Colt .45 pistol, and I'm going to shoot your liberal elite ass right through the door."

Now the inspector, already being aware that Mr. Berg is the proprietor of a web site called "A Shot in the Dark," has been prepared to take evasive action from the time he first rang the bell. He hops off the steps and crouches between the steps and the foundation of the house.

There is a flash of light from within the house and the gun goes off with a tremendous roar. The bullet splinters the front door and strikes the pavement in front of the house. It ricochets with a whine and the passes through the front driver and passenger windows of the car parked in front of a house across the street, setting off the car's alarm. The bullet comes to rest with puff of stucco in the wall of the house.

With the blast ringing in his ears and above the din of the car alarm, the inspector can hear screaming from inside the house. "Aaaarruuugghhh! I'm wounded! Get help!"

Our shooter had wrapped his thumb around the gun's slide where it received a terrible whack as the slide rocketed back when the gun was fired.

The inspector replies helpfully, "I know that you didn't shoot yourself, Mr. Berg, I saw the bullet come out of the door."

"It's my thumb! It's gashed and limp! There's blood everywhere! Help me!"

"Well, your other hand is okay, right Mr. Berg?"


"Then you can dial 911 yourself, can't you? Although I suspect there will be emergency responders of one kind or another here shortly. You might want to explain the bullet hole when you call, though. They're just civil servants, you know."

The inspector walks in a crouch to the other side of the house next door and sits, listening for the sirens. He thinks, "Now I'll have to write him up for the door, too. Some guys just never learn."

Update: Boys and girls, you know this is satire, right? The entire incident is fictional. You would have read about it in the newspaper. Spot's just making a point about people who love their guns a little too much.

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