Under the Gun

I'd lived in West Hollywood for seven years before realizing that my peaceful, tranquil, incorporated little "creative community" is laid out in the shape of a gun. Not sort of like a gun, or faintly resembling a gun, the way a passing cloud might recall to mind the buxom form of Marilyn Monroe . . . or Newt Gingrich. The city is shaped exactly like a six-shooter. Go ahead, check your Thomas Guide.

"It wasn't anything that was planned or happened deliberately," assures Helen Goss, the city's public information manager. Known through the '20s as the rather lawless town of Sherman, West Hollywood incorporated in 1984, when the boundaries were "pretty much preestablished," she says. "It was just annexed in a very strange kind of way."

I'll say. Goss pooh-poohs rumors that when the city was laid out, someone thought it would be funny to form it in the shape of a gun, given the resident sheriff's station. I live just up the street from that station, somewhere between the hammer and the sight. I guess that proximity, coupled with the town's strong stance against handguns, offers some comfort. After all, as Goss concludes, "Isn't it ironic that a city that is so anti-gun would have its geogaraphical boundaries be the shape of a gun?"

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