Ophie has a nest. Threatened, her instinct is to defend the nest. Ophie’s property lines around her nest are fungible. She sometimes draws her property lines around friends as well as kin. I made the mistake of starting a flame war on Facebook with a friend of hers thus discovering that he was inside the boundary of her nest.
This is a rewrite of the original post. I lost the original 2022-07-08 post in the work to get this blog working. For context, this essay first posted a few days after the shooting in Highland Park, Il. My apologies if you liked the first version of this. Also, if you have the text of the original I’d like it sent to me.
This is what we were fighting about. Guns. Guns and mass shootings. Ophie wants more laws controlling access to guns. I’d like more trained, armed citizens and professionals. She and I won’t agree on this and if that were all this would be a short post. But Charlie, wanting to be my hero, stuck his mouth into this.
Defend the Nest Against Flame Wars
- Alan Webb: Ophie This is a spiritual and cultural problem and the law won’t help.
- Ophie: Alan Webb you are wrong, laws that can be put in place for better gun control, and safety measures can absolutely help. Alcohol laws like no drinking and driving have saved tons of lives, seatbelt laws have saved tons of lives, and there are laws and a process you must go through in order to obtain a driver’s license to make sure you know how to safely operate a car and won’t kill a bunch of people with it. I can go on and on, change needs to happen now.
- Alan Webb: Ophie We have gun laws. Some of these killings are happening in places where there are very strict gun laws. Criminals still find a way.
Ophie: Alan Webb until those laws look more like this, and assault weapons are banned then existing laws are not strict enough. Every single time I have purchased a gun, I’ve walked in, filled out a form, came back a few days later, and picked it up. That was the end of that: no tests, evaluation, mental health checks, nothing.
I’m good with what has been said. My feelings aren’t damaged by someone taking a different point of view. Charlie . . . doesn’t know when to shut up. He also forgot that I’m a big boy and can defend myself.
So here goes Charlie,
Charlie: “Ophie, you dumb bitch. You don’t know what you are talking about. You realize that there are fewer mass shootings in places where concealed carry is easy to get. A good guy with a gun is the best thing for a bad guy with a gun.”
Oof. Any shot Charlie may have had at getting Ophie to be civil with him was destroyed with “you dumb bitch”, “Ophie: Charlie, are you sure about that?”
Charlie: Ophie. You can’t be dumber. Facts. But you are a girl so you wouldn’t know about facts. You know nothing about guns. I bet you think AR-15 means Automatic Rifle-15.”
A key lesson in any fight: know your opponent. Ophie pays cash for any property she buys. Also important to know—Ophie doesn’t fight. She gets even—always with charm and perfect fashion. Charlie, if you follow this space, is in forced servitude at Saito-san’s Paradise Valley casino because of gambling debt. He hasn’t paid his mortgage on his Goochland farm in a year, “Ophie: Charlie, how is the Goochland property?”
Or Own More Nests
Charlie: Ophie “It’s fine! Leave my farm alone!” Yes, these two have a history. That’s a story for another day, “Bitch you better not touch my farm! That’s MINE!”
Ophie: Charlie “Is it now? Then why is my friend in the Goochland County Clerk’s office telling me it’s up for foreclosure?”
Charlie: Ophie “That’s none of your business! Leave my farm alone! Stupid bitch!” Well . . . two things. Ophie is always in the market for real estate bargains. And in a future story, she has an opportunity to do some good for Neesha.
Ophie: Charlie “Don’t be rude.”
Charlie: Ophie “I don’t answer to girls. You don’t get to tell me what to do. Piss off, you fat cunt!” So . . . Ophie blocked and reported Charlie. His account is in Facebook Jail. But the story isn’t over.
A couple of weeks later Ophie, Inger, Neesha, and Neesha’s baby-daddy went with Inger’s Mom to look at the property. The land went fallow. The grass in the yard was waist-high. The house had a slew of notices on it from the bank and a mailbox overflowing with mail. Ophie already knew that the farm was scheduled for a foreclosure auction by the bank. Goochland County notices of foreclosure for unpaid property taxes shared space on the screen door with cutoff notices from Dominion Energy, Comcast, and Goochland County Public Works.
A sheriff was there to open the house and barns. Ophie was there with permission from the County. The house looked bad from the street. But once inside, except for Charlie’s detritus, was salvageable. Charlie bought it with the contents so amidst the trash from Charlie were still the quilts, china, furniture, and other evidence of the prior family’s life. Ophie noticed Neesha’s longing looks and loving hands on one of the quilts.
The barns were run-down but the equipment, though neglected, could be put to work. Inger knew that there was an entrance to the bugout shelter. This is something Charlie got right. The entrance was a storm cellar door on one side of the barn. Nothing to see there unless you knew. Here is what gave it up: the half-dozen cheap padlocks and badly welded brackets over the latch and hinges to the door. Bolt cutters made short work of the locks. Another clue were the security cameras covering the entrance to the shelter.
Couch Slug Den
Inside was more Charlie man cave. The furniture and fixtures were a mix of wish.com, Walmart, and thrift stores covered in empty take-out containers, Pepsi bottles, Doritos bags, a box of soy sauce and duck sauce packets, and discarded Chinese fortunes. The stench from mouse and rat pee was overpowering. Ophie made it a few steps into the first room and then a rat scurried across her sneakers, “OH SHIT! Hell No! Everybody OUT!” Ophie leaped up the four stairs of the storm shelter door, “don’t nobody go in there. The place is toxic.”
The sheriff’s deputy pushed past Ophie and peered in the door, “Damn! That’s nasty.” Inspection over. The deputy put a cable tie on the door and a “NO TRESPASSING” notice on the barn.
A few weeks later a Crime Scene cleaning crew worked to clear the bugout shelter. They made it through most of the farm until they found an unlocked vault door. Behind the vault door was a room full of TactiKool accessories and AirSoft rifles and pistols. None of that was worth another visit by the Sheriff and the ATF. What turned a routine cleanout into a crime scene was an AR-15 lower and parts to convert it to select fire. The select fire sear is illegal without an FFL and some pretty intense paperwork. Charlie has now graduated from annoyance to a person of interest.
Red Flag or Enthusiast
There is a difference between Charlie and an avid gun collector. Charlie is a reason to worry and maybe report him as a potential Red Flag threat. A scanned and photoshopped copy of a Utah Concealed Carry permit was in the vault. One of the many things that Charlie isn’t good at is photoshop. He replaced the owner’s info with his own but didn’t cleanly erase all of the information from the original owner. +1 reason Charlie graduated to a person of interest.
An enthusiast will have his or her weapons safely stored, well maintained, and verifiable paperwork as needed. He or she spends time at the range practicing. The one visit to the range by Charlie ended in embarrassment when his Polymer P80 was confiscated by Colonial Shooting Academy. While most of what Charlie had was either junk or fake AirSoft weapons, a few things like the AR-15 select fire sear shifted him from enthusiast to Red Flag risk. The visible weapons were dirty with snack crumbs and rat poop.
There is one other thing. Charlie doesn’t know when to shut up. After Ophie blocked him he stole a phone from one of Saito-san’s dancers and texted this, “You cunt! I’ll find my way out of here! When I do I am going to paint your name in blood on the doors of the Sheriff’s Office after I take out the deputy who helped you trespass on my property!”
Inger tells me that Charlie has some new bruises. She was working as a barback when the girl discovered that her phone was missing. Saito-san’s casino security team found Charlie in a walk-in with the dancer’s phone. Ophie is safe and Charlie has one more reason he should not leave the casino in Paradise Valley.
The Law Has Never Been Enough
I wish I could agree with Ophie that more laws will make things safer. Charlie is hard at work collecting the wrong kind of attention and consequences. He’s also bad at being bad. The frustrating thing is that as hard as we try to write a law that will stop asshats from mass murder it still happens. We need a change of heart for the culture. That, more than anything, will defend the nest far more than anything lawmakers can do.