As a child in the 50s, I know my father had a shotgun, and he must have had at least a .22 pistol or rifle. I distinctly remember taking the .22 ammunition downstairs into our dirt-basement, placing the .22 rounds on a rock, and pounding the shell with another rock – “BANG!” It was great fun!
Now, if you believe in God, you will say a Higher Power was looking over me because odds are I SHOULD have shot myself. I never would have made it up the rickety stairs, and I would have bled to death in the dirt.
If you don’t believe in heaven, then you must know I was just plain damn lucky.
A few years later, I was a teenager in a foster home, It was a farm, so naturally, we had firearms. I remember taking out a magpie at 35-50 yards with one round from a .22 rifle. Instead of being ecstatic about my keen marksmanship, I was distraught that I had killed a living creature.
All our trucks had 2 or 3 rifles on a rack hanging in the back window. I don’t remember “open-carry” regulations. If we wanted to walk around with a firearm, we did.
While still living on the farm, I was loaned a .32 “woman’s” lever-action rifle for the deer hunt. Two other teens were with me when we saw this monster buck across the river. All three of us emptied our rifles, and we could see branches break off and dust fly as our slugs hit the opposite river bank. The buck calmly looked at us, then ambled off into the brush. I never went hunting again.
That is NOT to say I never handled another firearm. About 1974, I bought this beautiful Remington pump-action .22 – a real beauty. When I held the trigger down, I could push lead through that baby as fast as I could pump the action, It was so much fun kicking a can across the road, one shot at a time. Man, that was far more fun than bagging a deer!
Like I said, that was about 1974. It is now 2013. So very much has changed. I don’t own a single firearm. I don’t know if I want to.
My friend from Japan is coming to visit me in the US, and is anxious to fire a rifle. Since his job is to cover joint-operations between the US and Japanese armed forces, he has been watching others fire rifles and such for many years. He can’t wait. I’ve been looking up the costs to rent a rifle or two and buy some ammunition from a famous firearms dealer locally.
I have to admit, I am looking forward to going to the firing range with him. We have no plans to go kill Bambi.
But you, know, the feeling just isn’t the same.
What do you think?
Note: I didn’t apply the term “gun” to all firearms. I learned in the Marines, “This is my rifle, this is my gun. This is for killing, this is for fun.”