Why Couldn’t I Shoot the Damned Balloon? - The American Spectator | USA News and Politics
Why Couldn’t I Shoot the Damned Balloon?

The commie Chinese spy balloon provided Americans with a week of intrigue and amusement, not to mention frustration and bewilderment over how our China-friendly president might respond. By last Friday, the damned thing was floating somewhere over the Midwest, cruising along snapping photos of everything from Montana missile silos to undisclosed Hunter Biden party spots.

According to our unflinching president, he had issued an order last Wednesday to blast the balloon. This didn’t mean a giant flaming arrow fired at that moment. Apparently, Joe Biden waited for the balloon to get over the Atlantic, where exploding it into smithereens wouldn’t endanger people on the ground doing important everyday functions, like gender transitioning, getting tattoos, teaching critical race theory, fighting white supremacy, and halting Republicans from stopping minorities from voting.

And so, Biden and his brass waited until the balloon literally had had its full view of the entire U.S. of A. If the Chi-com goal had been to get as much surveillance video as possible, then Biden’s delay was perfect. Who cares if it was taken down after it went completely across the country? Mission accomplished.

In the meantime, Biden’s delay cruelly tempted many of us longtime hunters and riflemen. Last Friday, I did the radio show of Michael Medved, a brilliant man and good friend. I’ve done his show regularly for years. The previous time I did his show, I was literally in the woods hunting. I had promised my 15-year-old that we would go hunting that day, and so, I multi-tasked: rifle in one hand and phone in the other.

Knowing that, Michael on Friday asked if I was hunting again and hence hazarded any thoughts of looking upward for the big balloon from Beijing in order to, well, take a shot. Michael was joking, of course, but I did reply that if I had seen that moonish-looking monstrosity hovering over northwestern Pennsylvania, I would’ve done my patriotic duty.

Listen to that radio show here:

Some readers might recall the image of the guy on the Ferris wheel in the hilarious 1979 movie, 1941, starring John Belushi, Dan Aykroyd, and Tim Matheson. The old guy had his deer rifle and was watching out for Japs flying over.

Of course, that fellow had an advantage. Invading Japs in their Zeros were low enough (at least in Steven Spielberg’s film) to reach with a .32 Winchester Special (my favorite deer rifle). Unfortunately for myself and fellow hunters/patriots, the commie spy balloon was too high up.

Not that that would dissuade us.

Indeed, the Chi-com balloon entered dangerous territory as it headed toward the American South. Cruising over liberal enclaves like a Seattle or San Francisco or Manhattan (had it been going in that direction) was no threat to the big balloon. The liberals in those places aren’t allowed guns and wouldn’t know how to shoot one anyway. They’d only be endangering themselves. But fly over us guys here in the sticks and, well, look out, commie.

The boys down South were locked and loaded.

In York County, South Carolina, the county sheriff’s office took steps, advising against anyone trying to take out the balloon. “Don’t try to shoot it!!,” the sheriff’s office tweeted Saturday as the gaseous menace passed over at about 60,000 feet. “Your rifle rounds WILL NOT reach it. Be responsible. What goes up will come down, including your bullets.”

That line about “What goes up will come down” was probably a bad choice by the sheriff. That was no doubt precisely the thinking of some of the boys in York County. That wretched balloon went up, and now someone needed to take her down. Why not give it a shot?

It reminded me of another movie scene, namely, one from the classic Casablanca, when Rick (Humphrey Bogart) tells the arrogant Nazi commander that there are certain parts of New York that Rick would advise the Germans not to invade.

Likewise, there are certain parts of the South I’d advise the Chi-coms not to float a spy balloon over.

I can’t say whether some good ol’ boy took a shot, but as for here in the Hinterland, I don’t think I could’ve resisted. Nor my 15-year-old. He takes wild shots at crows and squirrels and all sorts of things. You don’t think he’d get a kick out of taking aim at an invading commie balloon spying on Uncle Sam? (He did ask me if our crossbow could shoot that high.)

Alas, all the fun instead went to some lucky Air Force guy, who hopped into his fighter jet with the peachy assignment of blasting it. I bet he was the envy of the squadron.

Now the balloon is toast — blackened debris floating in the water. I wish some of us had had a shot.

Paul Kengor
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Paul Kengor is Editor of The American Spectator. Dr. Kengor is also a professor of political science at Grove City College, a senior academic fellow at the Center for Vision & Values, and the author of over a dozen books, including A Pope and a President: John Paul II, Ronald Reagan, and the Extraordinary Untold Story of the 20th Century, The Politically Incorrect Guide to Communism, and Dupes: How America’s Adversaries Have Manipulated Progressives for a Century.
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