A Confederate Yankee
(Lakeport) Let’s be clear about this: I am a veteran and a gun owner, and the National Rifle Association does NOT speak for me. On the one hand, NRA does good by sponsoring firearms safety courses, and then they foul it up beyond all recognition by heaping high praise on a manufacturer of miniature rifles designed for 5-year-olds.
You gotta be kidding me! Five years old is barely coordinated enough to keep from spilling a glass of milk all over the kitchen floor, and they want to hand deadly weapons to these babies?
Some years ago, in a compact little neighborhood, there were a couple dozen young children playing. One, approximately 7, had snuck his big brother’s BB gun out into the play yard. He cocked the thing and handed it to another boy, all of 4 years old, and suggested that the younger boy shoot some of the other children.
So he did.
As the kids scattered, he popped one in the left temple. Grabbing the BB gun, the older boy cocked it again and handed it back. The younger boy took a shot at one of the little girls. Then the older cocked the thing yet again, and ran back into his parent’s apartment.
Bewildered, the younger boy wandered to the far end of the apartment building where a mother and her toddler were sitting on a porch. The young boy put the muzzle of the BB gun against the bare left leg of the toddler and pulled the trigger. The little one howled, the mother grabbed the BB gun, and shortly thereafter the 4-year-old’s mother took him by the arm and … well, it was almost an hour before the lad could sit down.
That 4-year-old was me. I distinctly recall having no earthly idea how a pellet from that BB gun could sting, no idea that it could cause permanent injury if fired into another’s face. I would have had no more an inkling regarding the consequences had it been one of those “cricket” .22-caliber rifles being peddled to 5-year-olds today.
It was a full two years later when I became the unwilling target of another boy with a BB gun. Dang, how that hurt! But, again, the point is, I was physically capable of shooting someone with a BB gun at an age where I simply didn’t have the maturity to realize what it was all about.
Five-year-olds today are no more mature than I was, and the NRA thinks that’s the ideal time to begin teaching children about guns.
You gotta be kidding me.
These crackpots “…are proof that some men are inferior, endowed by their Creator with dim wits, impermeable to reason, with cold pallid slime in their veins!” said Thaddeus Stevens, friend of Abe Lincoln, who had a way with words, and these quoted here seem remarkably appropriate.
Enough? Well, at the recent NRA convention where the bigwigs wallowed in self-congratulation over managing to beat back even the most minor improvement in gun control, another manufacturer was peddling a female human-appearing target called “Shoot the Ex,” which bled when shot full of holes.
Right. And had that thing sported a representation of the face of First Lady Michelle Obama, some twisted fools would applaud.
A personal reply to a letter I sent the NRA a number of years ago when I WAS a member stated, “It’s not about keeping guns for hunting and competition, Mr. Mayers. It’s about keeping the government afraid of its people.”
Let’s see … if you or I said something that stupid, we’d find the sheriff, the troopers and the FBI on our doorstep, handcuffs at the ready, about to haul our backsides off to Gitmo for making terrorist threats.
Can anybody tell me why Wayne LaPierre gets away with it?
Again: I’m a gun-owner. The NRA has, at times, done right, especially by sponsoring shooting safety courses and making sure their certified instructors are properly trained themselves. But the answer to a bad guy with a gun is more guns? If more guns were the answer to gun violence, and Chicago has one of the largest per capita rates of gun ownership in the nation, why isn’t Chicago one of the safest cities in the nation, hmm?
We will never eliminate guns. We don’t need to. What we need is a mechanism for ensuring that those who own guns do a much better job of securing the things when not in actual use. Why was one of those miniature rifles left loaded where a 5-year-old could grab it when mama wasn’t looking and shoot his baby sister to death?
And why was a loaded handgun left out where another young child could grab it and shoot his own grandmother to death?
And what sort of demented skunk could go “s*** happens” and dismiss such things as an acceptable price for our worship of the gun?
Gun control means doing much more to ensure these things are vanishingly rare. It means that when a supposedly responsible adult leaves a firearm unsecured and an accidental shooting involving a child happens, that adult pays a very stiff penalty – like five to 15 years in Auburn or Ossining (Sing Sing).
Gun control means guns are allowed only to those adult enough to make sure the things are stored safely when not in actual use. It means extensive background checks before a gun is purchased.
It means we get real.
These things, according to the Constitution of these United States, are our right. But not everybody’s right.
I’m a gun owner, and the NRA does not speak for me.
William D. “Bill” Mayers RT, RN, of Sullivan is a retired senior U.S. Army Corpsman. A certified healthcare professional since 1964, he holds two professional licenses, including that of Registered Professional Nurse licensed in New York, Alaska, Virginia and Louisiana. He has four children, two stepchildren, two grandchildren and is an avid analyst of current events.