Top cop on open carry


Waco – Sheriff Parnell McNamara thought hard about open constitutional carry of firearms; he answered a remark about people shooting cops and cops shooting people.

“I had to be certified by the U.S. Marshal’s Service in 1987. I was hired in 1970, and later I had to be certified; that was in 1987.”

He recalled the opening day of class, how the Justice Department instructor started things off with a bang, how they flashed a macbre picture of the U.S. Marshal for the jurisdiction of South Dakota  – dead – laid on the medical examiner’s slab, his body riddled with bullets, his soul departed, long gone and far away, to a better place.

Was he one of the federal officers who got it at Pine Ridge, the Rosebud Reservation – Wounded Knee?

“No. He was shot to death by an illegal tax protester,” he said. “He was in the act of talking to the man, giving him a chance to give up, when the old boy shot him to death.”

That wasn’t all there was to the story.

On the slab next to the dead Marshal, lay the body of another individual, also shot, this one once, between the eyes.


A dragon

As he began to explain whose body it was, his voice was carried away by the sound of the crowd of excited kids who were rushing from exhibit to exhibit, their adrenaline pumping, high strung from the fearsome presence of giant replicas of dinosaurs that have appeared in movies. The moment passed, the mind’s eye wandered on.

His visage was turned away, roaming the crowd, his stance bladed, left shoulder leading, right hand by his side, ready to defend with deadly force, at the drop of a hat.

You don’t see it, but if you know what you’re looking for, you know it’s there.

More important, you know he will use it. There’s nothing to say about it. That’s just the way it is.  It’s a skill, no less than roping, cutting steers out of a herd, bringing a cow pony to a rapid halt, neck reining. The hat is crimped in a special way. You can order one with the Parnell McNamara…He was for many years a prize-winning team roper. Times change, people don’t.

This man answers question with accurate stories that come straight out of his personal experience, stories with a beginning, middle, and an end. That’s the way this is, an archetype, with the quality of a parable.

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