Sunday, October 15, 2023

An Inconvenient Memory

Yesterday in traffic I noticed something odd hanging from the back bumper of a car in the adjacent turn lane as I approached an intersection. It was a grayish-green rectangular box with a convex curve and looked very much like a Claymore mine. When that lane got the green light I paid attention to the car as it passed and, sure enough, it was a Claymore mine. I could clearly read the "Front Toward Enemy" markings on the outer surface. I'm guessing that it was actually only the plastic exterior casing of the mine and did not include the 700 1/8 inch steel balls or the pound and a half of C-4 plastic explosive that makes a Claymore such a deadly anti-personnel weapon. On the other hand, in an America awash in deadly weapons, I wouldn't bet on it.

Most drivers probably would not recognize that item hanging from the back of a car as a weapon, although the fact that the wording says it is pointed at the  "enemy"--in this case the viewer--might suggest something not quite right.  I, on the other hand, am familiar with Claymore mines.  I carried one for months in Vietnam, setting it up outside my position when my company established its night defensive perimeter at the end of each day.  Most everyone else did so too.  At dusk we'd put out a trip flare and wire a little farther out beyond the Claymore.  The idea was that anyone attempting to infiltrate our perimeter would set off the trip flare and the guy on radio watch could detonate the mine and blow the fucker away.  

That only happened once and was probably an animal that was immediately scared off by the flare and long gone by the time the guy fired the Claymore.  We found no sign of any body or any thing.  The few other times I recall Claymores detonating were accidents that left us with casualties.  So, yeah, I have Claymore memories.  They came rushing back when I saw that plastic case on the bumper. 

People accessorize their vehicles to express something or other.  I wonder what hanging an anti-personnel mine (even if it is entirely inoperable) on one's back bumper is saying.  Seems a bit hostile to me.  Others may not get the message.  I got it loud and clear.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yup. That would keep people away from you.

12:22 AM  

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