Terry Jackson, a 15-year Army veteran, decided he would start Operation Hero Guard after a man opened fire and killed four Marines and a Navy sailor in Chattanooga, Tennessee, on July 16, 2015. Daniel Gonçalves
Sturm, Ruger & Co. immortalized the feat when it offered a pistol just like Perry’s that said on one side of the barrel “Coyote Special” and on the other side “A True Texan.”
The Republic of Texas purchased 180 early Colt revolvers intended for the Texas Navy in 1839, but some came into the hands of the Texas Rangers, a paramilitary force originally formed to be a body of white men just as tough as the Indians and therefore able to kill the many Indians who objected to white settlements. Ranger Captain Samuel Walker used one of the early Colts, and his experience resulted in Walker and Samuel Colt redesigning the gun in 1846. The Walker model was introduced in 1847. At 4 pounds, 9 ounces, it was the original .44 Magnum handgun. The original black powder Walker Colt is a collector’s item today. To this day, Texans who can afford a .44 Magnum might boast that their choice of sidearm is “a holster full of whoop-ass.”
'Laboratories of Democracy'
The U.S. had long been a bicoastal power when I joined the military in 1964. The militia had become the National Guard, but there was a standing Army, Navy and Air Force. Military service in those branches forced—or enabled—young people from all over the country to interact. I was strolling through Luling, Texas, about a year into my hitch with a friend from Air Force boot camp. Luling’s population was swelled by the annual “Watermelon Thump,” an excuse to celebrate local produce and even enter a seed-spitting contest.
I had never visited a city larger than Dallas (if driving through constitutes a “visit”), and boot camp had brought me to San Antonio, a place with almost twice the population of my idea of big back then, which was Oklahoma City. My companion had been born and raised in a big northeastern city that he left for the first time to go to boot camp. We were looking for a way to beat the summer heat when he stopped walking so suddenly that I bumped into him, and he said, “My God, look at that! Should we find a cop?”
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“Look at what?”
“That gun. Right out in public!”