Thursday, March 8, 2018
Guns: We're all guilty
The Florida school shootings cause me to say.......
I'm excited with the promise of cultural awakening that has been led by women and the youth of America. Perhaps the "Spirit of '18" will catch fire and sustain a National Recovery that will return our nation to the never realized principles upon which our nation was founded. I'm looking forward to saying more about the contribution of women and youth as well as two other necessities for such progress to be made.
However I first need to say a few things about guns!
The continuing misuse of guns in the American society causes me to internalize my own contribution to the problem. Of course I've always seen myself as a nonviolent, peaceful person, but I had to recall two actions of mine, and my peace-lovin' families behavior that perhaps unconsciously have contributed to the problem. I fear they show the depth to which we have all descended in nurturing a culture of guns and conquest.
1. In the depression years of the 1920's and 30's many of us manufactured our own toys - and mine were guns! All it took was a piece of discarded wood from my father's workshop and a spring type clothes pin from my mother's clothes line. Abundant ammunition was provided by the worn out inner – tube from the Model T– Ford's tires. By using mother's very sharp scissors we were able to create pseudo rubber bands. And thus our "gangs" began their wars. Using our ingenuity we were even able to manufacture rapid-fire rifles.
"Warfare" became a family tradition. These combat soirees were passed on to the next generation even though a broader supply of commercially manufactured toys were available. And how exciting it was for me to finally have a grandson to continue the tradition. Yet a smarter, more sensitive generation informed grandfather that such glorification of guns and killing was harmful – that all precautions must be taken to avoid creating a combative environment. NO RUBBER GUNS are tolerated in this enlightened society
Yet something has gone awry! My peaceful, insightful progeny have not only accepted combat, they have even encouraged toys far beyond my imagination for destructiveness. Killing, mayhem and annihilation of enemies is regularly "played" out on computer games and cell phones and seen on screens in homes and movie houses. These film break box office attendance records and are praised by the critics. Attempts to limit their viewership are seen as attacks on individual liberty.
2. As indicated earlier, I think I'm a peaceful guy not given to outbursts of anger. How is it possible then that when presented with an opportunity as a child to use a firearm on a peaceful day in sunny San Antonio, I shot a playmate!
This is how I committed the crime with a gun! (And real names will be used because all but me are dead and it more vividly brings my behavior home to me!) My older brother and I, Erwin, spent a day with our church friend, Alfred. Alfred's family, living in the country, seemed to have things we did not: like a Packard automobile and a BB gun. How pleased I was to be carrying the gun in the woods next to their home, but I was told that the pressure in the gun was so weak that it wouldn't even hurt a bird. Our hunt was unsuccessful, but I soon grew tired of the constant teasing of Erwin by Alfred. (Erwin was often the target of jokes in our church group , and the Wright family was right Christian.) I told Alfred to stop, but he continued and so I leveled my weapon and let him have it – right in his thigh. Teasing – perhaps bullying today – was not discussed with me by Alfred's parents but they surely let me know what a recalcitrant I was.. Fortunately they didn't tell my parents, and I never fired a weapon again until target practice in the Marines in WWII.
My personal good fortune continued and I was never involved in combat. I personally have no desire to own a gun, and I have no desire to deny gun ownership to hunters and collectors. Yet I have never felt more strongly that the time has come to bring a valid protection to all citizens by the outlawing of certain weapons intended for national defense only and implementing other stringent limitations on ownership of guns.