I've been meaning to post this story for quite awhile now. Some of my fellow gun-slingers may have heard this tale before. If you're one of them, please allow me the artistic liberty of embellishing the story for entertainment purposes...here goes...
A couple of years ago, while working as a road trooper in Logan County, Oklahoma (the Guthrie area), I stopped a guy in his 50's for failure to wear a safety belt. As I approached the suspect's vehicle on the passenger side, I noticed the man favoring the left side of his body. He leaned close to the steering wheel and turned only his head to speak with me, but hid his left arm
and hand on the left side of his body.
As I spoke to him about why I'd stopped him and asked him about his seat belt usage (or lack thereof), my eyes scanned for threats while my gun hand slid to the pistol grip of my Sig Sauer .357. A cautious thumb unsnapped the leather hammer restraint securing my weapon in the holster that lay against my right hip.
"Sir, I'd like to see your left hand," I said with authority. I pulled on my pistol and had it coming up out of the holster when he just stared at me, not budging.
"Sir," I repeated, this time with heat, "I want to see your left hand, now!"
I had "cleared leather" (pulled the weapon out of the holster) and was ready to use it, when he finally spoke up.
"Ma'am," he began with a slow southern drawl as if he had performed this routine many times before, "I'd like to see my left hand too, I haven't seen that hand since 1976," he said, laughing. He brought both arms up slowly and stuck them high in the air as he spoke. Obviously pleased with embarrassing me.
Appalling seconds passed as I stood there unsure of how to reply as I looked at the stump on the man's left arm. The hand was completely gone, it had been severed just below the wrist.
I didn't ask why, I didnt' ask what happened or even attempt to apologize, I just asked for his driver license and insurance and stomped back to my patrol car, cursing him and his missing hand as I went. When I returned to the one-handed man's car, I HANDED him the citation for his
seat belt violation and instructed him on how to take care of the $20 citation. Before clearing the traffic stop, I reminded him to, "buckle up." I stood waiting to see if he would comply.
Silently, I fumed as I watched him struggle for several minutes with the shoulder harness and then the seat belt buckle. I couldn't tell if he was really having a difficult time or if he was jacking with me some more. With a smile on my face and maybe just a teeny weeny bit of meanness I asked, "need a hand?"