It’s not unusual to find me and my wife in a Barnes & Noble. Usually, I head straight to the computer magazines because I love to “get my geek on.” This time was different. On my way to my usual haunt, I stumbled upon a coffee table book from the National Firearms Museum in Fairfax, Virginia.

Noting my “kid in a candy store” stare at the book, my wife suggested I buy it. As soon as I got it home, I started regaling her with the history and art embodied by many of the items, including a complete reproduction of T.R. Roosevelt’s “summer White House” office.

Within a week, we were there.  First, there were wheel locks, match locks, flint locks, cap and ball, and cartridge pistols and rifles… many overlaid in gold and/or silver.

I saw a trove of Gatling Guns and other relics of every war the United States has been involved in. Rich with history, the place was awash with stories of conflict, heroism, treachery, and honor.  There were firearms from privates to generals to presidents. But there is another exhibit that grabbed my attention.

It was encased in its own wooden box in the center of the Law Enforcement exhibit.  A ravaged, stainless steel, .38 special Smith & Wesson revolver. It belonged to Officer Walter Weaver, NYPD. Officer Weaver was assigned to ESU truck 3 on September 11, 2001.  He was among 71 officers, 343 firefighters, and more than 2,800 civilians who died at the twin towers of the World Trade Center. The revolver was recovered from the rubble many months later. 223rd Street in the Bronx and P.S. (Public School) 398 in Brooklyn were renamed in his honor.

The metal, once shiny, is rough and scratched. The grips are gone. The battered handgun gives mute testimony to the violent act of religious fanaticism and intolerance perpetrated on that clear September morning. If ever a firearm was a sacred relic, this is one.

Off to the right in the same display is a FBI ten-most-wanted poster bearing the image and name of Osama bin Laden. Across the poster in bold, red letters are the words “DECEASED.”

Bruce Bremer, MBA is LET’s technology contributor. Bruce retired from the Submarine Service after 21 years of in-depth experience with complex electronic technology. Lately, he is developing a corporate learning management system (Moodle LMS), curricula, and technical documentation for lighter-than-air tethered surveillance craft (aerostats). He has an extensive background in fleet modernization and military analysis. He teaches electronics and alternative energy at a Virginia college. Besides his MBA, Bruce earned a Bachelor of Science degree in computer networking. He has been volunteering in public safety for many years.

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