Cowboy and Goliath

by Kevin on December 28, 2011

We were being tear gassed! A riot had broken out on the recreation yard of the prison I had gone to work for just two weeks prior. Like campfire smoke made out of Africanized bees, the tear gas was sucked into the building where I was working through the ventilation system.

I couldn’t keep my eyes open very well, and even to attempt this brought more pain. We shut off the inlet fans, but the damage had been done. If there is a snot faucet in my head, it had been sheared off and a hundred pounds of pressure was forcing it through two small holes in my face.

Three other officers and myself were locked safely away from the convicted felons. This was a good thing because they were being gassed too. They had not done anything wrong, but they were suffering the same fate as we were. And they weren’t none too happy about it either.

I stood beside a shatter proof window and jerked backward as a metal trash can was thrown into it. One of the biggest men I had ever seen had thrown the can like I would a can of ranch-style beans. He was mad and voiced his displeasure with words that I will not mention.

All of a sudden, over the radio came a voice who’s message sent a tingle of fear and trepidation down my spine. “Mr. Weatherby, y’all go into the dorm and roster count your inmates so we’ll know who wasn’t out on the rec  yard.”

With as much courage as I could muster I said, “10-4.”

I surveyed our insertion team and I wish I could say that we all looked like Seal Team 6, but we didn’t. We had a middle aged woman who was scared out of her mind, an old man who held onto the wall when he walked, a bright spot of hope in a young man who wasn’t tall, but looked like he could bench press a refrigerator, and then there was me; a spectacular example of 145 pounds of cowboy…holding a metal baton designed to bring severe pain when wielded correctly. And I could wield!!

We were about to step through the door, me being the first one through, when my linebackin’ co-worker said he should go first because he was the strongest. He stared at me with a mix of unbelief, humor, and a little bit of respect when I told him that I would go in first.

“Listen partner, I’ve faced down mad mama cows with cedar fence posts before and that mad feller in there ain’t near that big. Besides, if he does something, I’d rather you come in and save me instead of the other option.”

I yelled for the door to be opened. With all the courage I could muster, I stepped through the door into a semi-circle of mad inmates. I tried not to picture myself too much. I didn’t think that half swollen shut eyes and snot running down my face was very imposing.

The big can thrower laughed as I entered. He had a towel wrapped around his face to protect him a little from the tear gas still hanging in the air. He pointed at my stick and said, “You can’t hit us all with that stick little man.”

Every inmate laughed and pointed. Just so you know, that’s not that great of a feeling.

I’m sure my voice was a little shaky when I said, “There ain’t no doubt about that, but I’m not gonna try to hit everyone…just you.”

He laughed again. I didn’t.

He looked at me for what seemed like a long time, then he just went and sat down on his bunk. I knew he could see my fear, but he could also see that my hand didn’t waiver. I was serious, and he knew it.


Doing what God tells us to is scary sometimes. But unlike a man that can bench press a refrigerator, God cannot be beaten. When we go where he says go and do what he tells us to do, we can walk into any situation and have a steady hand. God’s got your back.

Do not be afraid, but let your hands be strong. –Zechariah 8:13

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  • Paul Weatherby

    Similar to “Foot Prints in the Sand”, the Lord was with you – “Foot Prints on the Cement”

    (Sorry I ordered the tear gas), although we had your back!!!!!!

    Did you want tear gas on “Evinrude” during your 1/4 mile challenge horse back amongst 150+ non-believers?

    Happy New Year to all and God DOES have our back 24-7


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