A Confederate Yankee

By Bill Mayersbill mayers

(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.

By martha

32 thoughts on “The NRA Doesn’t Speak for Me”
  1. And how will that stop a criminal from getting a weapon? Oh, you will steal their unicorn horn! I wish it only affected you. Not me.

  2. The NRA and the GOA both speak for me. As an individual my lone voice gets ignored in the world of politics but as a member of an organization whose values mirror mine our collective voice will not be silenced.

  3. I’m a gun owner and the NRA does speak for me,

    Mr. Mayers while you may be a gun owner you have absolutely no idea what the Second Amendment is all about.

  4. Children should be immersed in firearms safety early. Five years ild is about the right age for most children. The NRA’s Eddie Eagle program has an unblemished track record. There has not been one single documented case of a child who enrolled in the program ever harming themselves, or anyone else for that matter. Bill, your story about the little boy, who turned out to be you is a prime example of firearms safety training. If you had gone through the Eddie Eagle program, you wouldn’t be telling this story. As for the NRA not speaking for you, well that’s dandy. Just know you’re in the minority of gun owners. The NRA’s membership has skyrocketed. Not because the NRA believes differently than its members. But because the NRA is speaking for its members.

  5. What is a “Senior US Army Corpsman”? In my time in the Army, I never ran into an Army Corpsman…however, I did see a bunch belonging to the Navy! And “Senior” is a strange pay grade I never saw in any rank chart.

    Also, since my parents were more proactive in teaching me gun safety, I knew not to shoot people, especially BABIES in the HEAD. Just because an older boy handed you the BB gun didn’t mean you had to shoot people with it. I’m glad the NRA doesn’t speak for you; crazy old codger.

    As far as Chicago being a dangerous city, is because the majority of the guns possessed by citizens are possessed ILLEGALLY. Private citizens can’t buy guns within the city limits, require permits to own guns, must REGISTER them with police, no semi-auto “assault” rifles,etc etc etc. The list goes on.

    1. That was a good catch. Lets see if he can spin his way out of that one. I have run across fake vets too, they are usually easy to spot. One guy claimed to be a private in the USAF.

  6. I’m glad the NRA does not speak for you. You are a danger to yourself and others. You sound irresponsible and careless around firearms. The lack of discipline and parental guidance in your youth no doubt contributed.

    So run along and cash Bloomberg’s check. No one is buying your BS.

  7. Hey, genius,the NRA is not advocating letting a 7 year old teach a 4 year old about guns. They are saying that at 5 years of age, a responsible adult should teach a 5 year old about guns, gun safety & what damage guns are capable of doing. Kids are curios & if you tell them something is off limits, then they want to do it all the more. My kids were raised around firearms & taught, at the age of 5 how to shoot using a Stevens Gallery .22. They knew not to touch a gun without my or my wife’s permission. They also were old enough to realize that the consequences of doing so would be an ass whoopin’. They are both adults now that love shooting & guns.

  8. It’s too bad the NRA didn’t get to train Mr. Mayers parents before they allowed such a dangerous situation to transpire. I don’t know any mother that would allow a four year old with a BB gun near their baby. This might explain his negative perspective. The NRA saves lives. And thank you for your service to our country Mr. mayer, sincerely.

  9. You have got to be kidding me. The kids cannot buy them themselves and only use them under close supervision. If you ask me you are making a mountain out of a mole hill.

  10. First the Cricket is not in any way designed for a five year old to be left alone with it is not a toy any less than my 10 pound m12 single shot target rifle is or my m77 European target rifle that has no safety at all. The Cricket is designed to allow under adult supervision a younger person the ability to shoot and gain practical safe instruction time. I had a handful of 12 year olds in class who would have been big enough to handle my m12 or the massive m77 target rifle also a .22. The cricket is far more practical with all it’s built in safety features and compact size. It is not designed to be left alone and the parents/grandparents were stupid.
    FWIW 4H has some very good guidelines on what and when a young person should be allowed to handle what under adult supervision.
    Two weeks ago as school was ending a 8 year old found a loaded shotgun and shot and killed his 4 year old sister right across the county line from me. Guess what the mother is now in the regional crisis center for addiction to no less than four illegal narcotics. The father is the same but at least his addiction is to only two legal pain killers. How can you have real gun safety when the parents are addicts themselves and in violation of federal gun law.
    Sorry the days of the NRA being nothing more than a bunch of gun safety teaching Elmer Fudd hunter types died with the great MEMBERSHIP REVOLT. The MEMBERSHIP kicked out the compromisers that did nothing and we got stuck with the GCA of 68 and all its horrid features. It is awful hard to teach real gun safety or promote the national matches when they are trying to ban what you are using to do it. Strange that the people pushing “gun safety” as it is called now have repeatedly tried to get the one federal government program that supports real gun safety shut down for years and openly opposed it’s creation.
    Please continue being an uneducated Elmer Fudd while the rest of us try to come up with real solutions.

  11. I agree that some go over board on how young is too young. My issue is not with the gun maker or the NRA, but parents that fail to supervise their children.

    I do not think any measure of gun control will reduce gun deaths, but if history is any indicator, it will increase gun deaths. As far as keeping guns out of the hands of criminals, if laws worked they would not be criminals. So, far I have not seen or heard of any new law that would not do more harm than good. I think that removal of “No Gun Zones” would most likely be an improvement. I think we already have proof that this administration will abuse background checks, as in fast and furious and the inspection order for border states.

    So, the NRA is for the most part right on target as far as I see things.

  12. I’m proud to be a benefactor member of the NRA, which most definitely DOES speak for me. I’m sorry you’re so ignorant.

  13. My children started being interested in guns very early. So I decided to teach them early. It did not matter if I had guns avaiable, they might encounter one in any place. I did this because my mother tried to keep guns away from us a s teen agers…didn’t work. We had them out, shot cleaned and back locked up and she never knew. We did have firearms trainig before all this, however. Mom was just a bit obsessive about over protection.

    The other reason I took this turn was because my ex es brother found a .22 revolver when he was 12, took it out to show a friend and promptly shot him in the eye and killed him. No training, no knowledge and parents not in touch with reality.

    So my kids began at two. When they could pull a trigger they were potentially threats to themselves. They wanted to know, I did not hide them, I allowed them to examine the guns under supervision and I checked and cleared the gun, handed it to them. I made them check and clear the gun and when I received it back I instructed them to check and clear the gun before handing it back and I again checked and cleared the gun. I never said no but did tell them when the time was not appropriate.

    THe only aborration in the trainig was when the boy was five. He got his mothers revolver out-she was not at home. I went ballastic on him. I told him the arrangement that we had made. He responded that there was no one to ask. I told him that then he was supposed to wait until there was someone to ask. He said, “But Dad, I checked and cleared it like you taught me to”. I stopped, told him that I appreciated what he did, praised him for doing the right thing but made it clear that he was to have an adult present to ask before he could examine a fire arm again. He said of and understood. I had not covered the exception so I did not breate him further.

    Point is, he was 5 yes five. So this baffoon and his story here is not in touch with reality either. Teach the kids early, use reactive targets and show them what bullets do, I did. Exploding mellons and cans of paint make wonderful tools.

    The so called “authorities” are pushing to disconnect our children from guns. They want to raise up a generation that thiks guns are bad and not to be touched, talked about or even thought of. If they were not this way they would teach gun asafety like the do sex safety, drivers ed and about drug. Hell they are trying to teach them about homosexual behavior… but not guns. The commies are in the schools….

  14. Mr. Mayer you are right. The NRA does not speak for you we speak TO you. Now listen! When youngsters are trained properly the discipline they learn is a foundation applied to the disciplines of life they will need as adults. My father was a United States Treasury Agent and served in the U.S. Coast Guard in WW Two. He took us to the range to watch him compete in pistol matches. When my brother and I asked if we could learn to shoot too (I was seven) the first thing dad did was show us what a .22 hollow point did to a grapefruit. “If that was you you would be dead”. He told us that he wanted us to see the difference between a paper target and something alive. That was a lesson I’ll never forget. After that we were trained by him and NRA trained County range masters at the County range. They wore green uniforms and were as serious about what they did as a Marine Corps DI. We are all products of our data base of experience. We were treated as adults with no exceptions period. I have never been arrested as a juvenile or adult. I am a good citizen and still an avid shooter at sixty five years of age. That takes discipline learned at an early age. The youth of today as then need to learn to discipline themsevles for the life ahead of them and who better to train them than their parents and the NRA. I will venture to say The NRA has saved more lives than we will ever know through our training and safety programs. Mr. Mayer, don’t be angry be informed. If you are as angry as you sound it might be time to hang up your guns. And that goes for anyone else who is that angry. Cooler heads prevail. Again, thank you for your service to our country.
    Remember a guns safety is between your ears. And good gun control requires a steady aim!

  15. Gun control just passed its 518th birthday. Since 1495 there have been more than 65,000 restrictive gun laws. Of those, not even one has been followed by a reduction in crime or violence.

    The laws that have reduced crime and violence have been the permissive laws. The laws that cut England’s homicide rates from 40 per 100,000 to 0.4; and the laws that cut America’s homicide rate to less than 1 per 100,000 at the end of the “Wild West.” When a resident of Topeka was safer than today’s resident of Albany.

    Since 1993, permissive gun laws have cut America’s violent crime rate by 75%. During that time, 40 States have either joined Vermont as a “Constitutional Carry State, or enacted “Must Issue” concealed weapons laws. Over the same period, Americans have bought 160 million new guns, and fatal gun accidents have dropped from 1591 to 606.

    Who says so? The United States government. The ATF “Arms In Commerce” report for gun purchases. The DOJ’s “National Crime Victimization Survey.” The FBI’s Uniform Crime Reports. And a host of other official publications. So the bottom line is this. Those who lobby for restrictive gun laws are lobbying for more violent crime and murder.


  16. You’re a grown man, dude. You know damn well that if you keep the existence of these things a secret to a kid, they will find out anyway under someone else’s control, and you’ll have spent all that time evading the knowledge of what to teach them instead of preparing them for the world.

    Teaching someone what a gun is and how to operate it safely is not synonymous with indoctrinating them to murder – it’s just the opposite.

  17. 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.

    ^^This is because there was no one around to tell you what you were doing was wrong and that it wasn’t safe. The very thing the NRA is trying to do with young sportsman programs. Not to bright are you?

  18. Let me be absolutely clear; I too am a veteran and a gun owner. The difference between you and I? I was taught safe use of firearms from a young age by my father, something you sir obviously lacked.

    Had your “buddy” handed you a Louisville Slugger and told you to go hit the other kids, would you have done that as well? What was the mother of the toddler doing when you “put the muzzle of the BB gun against the bare left leg of the toddler and pulled the trigger?” Did she just watch? No offense, but I around here we have a term for this kind of hyperbole, and it involved cow dung.

    The NRA does more good than harm. You wonder why Wayne LaPeirre isn’t in jail for telling you that private firearm ownership is about ensuring the government fear the People….yet Thomas Jefferson said THE EXACT SAME THING:

    “When the people fear the government there is tyranny, when the government fears the people there is liberty.” ~T. Jefferson

    So unless you see the Founders as “terrorists,” then I would suggest you read the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and look back to the Oath you took when you enlisted….then start honoring that Oath.

  19. This former corpsman was an E-5, a senior rank in the enlisted medical corps, and part of the 86th Combat Support Hospital, 101st Airborne.

    And to all those who howl that I’m ignorant of the Second Amendment and of weapons safety – bah! Humbug.

    1. E-5 a senior rank?
      Its lower middle management at best.

      What was your MOS? Did it actually involve carrying a rifle? I ask, because you mention your service as an “appeal to authority.”

      And your apparent willingness to believe that everyone else is as bad as you or that other kid on gun safety is why we are saying that you are ignorant of gun safety. My daughter at THREE knew better than to point ANY gun at someone, period.

  20. Excuse me Mr. “I am lying my hind end off right now to all of you.” Just to point out one of your many falsehoods; Chicago does NOT have the highest per capita LEGAL gun ownership rate or even close to it. In fact, it is currently ILLEGAL for anyone outside of the police force to have a handgun for ANY reason in the city of Chicago. What does that tell you about your call for more laws?

  21. “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.””

    I’ve read lots of things the ‘NRA’ has allegedly said over the years. Let’s see the evidence.

    Feel free to ‘not let the NRA speak for you’. That’s fine. In response, what do YOU do to keep safety education at the forefront in lieu of gun bans? Or are you just another ‘I’m a gun owner but…” who supports gun control as long as it doesn’t effect what you personally own?

  22. AK, NY, and VA have no record of your nursing license. LA lists it as inactive. Can you please post your current licenses?

  23. Oh, and BTW, this statement :”Chicago has one of the largest per capita rates of gun ownership in the nation”…

    Where did you pull this bit of information from?

  24. 86th Combat Support Hospital in the 101st is not a front line infantry battalion.

    E5 means you were a sergeant (the 2nd lowest rank of NCO) or even a Specialist 5– depending on when you were in

    We don’t have Corpsmen in the Army– we have medics– you would know that if you were one.

    And your anecdote invalidates your argument

    thank you for playing

  25. Mr. Mayers,

    Did you actually read anything about what the NRA’s Eddie Eagle program teaches children of that age about firearms & safety. That’s a rhetorical question, since the answer is obviously a resounding “NO”.

    Here’s what they teach, genius. Please respond and tell me why you oppose these steps being taught to 5 year-olds. And while you’re at it, I’d sure love to see a DD-214 that outlines your Army career as a “Senior Corpsman”.


    If you see a gun:

    1) STOP!
    2) Don’t touch.
    3) Leave the area.
    4) Tell an adult.

  26. Right on, Mr. Mayers. I grew up in part of the gun culture, and thought shooting was a fun activity, until several things changed my mind. One, seeing the alcoholics that dominated the gun club where my father was a member. Two, reading the actual history of the 2nd amendment on my way to a masters in history. It is not as the NRA liars say it is. Three, my father’s disgust with the NRA for opposing reasonable restrictions on assault weapons. He never owned a semi-auto of any type in his life, and quit his NRA life membership after the NRA went from being a shooting organization to a rancid political lobby. Fourth, having gun nuts shooting anything they saw while hunting on my property, including my horses, my dogs, and a few shots that went into my house. I also “enjoyed” cleaning up the piles of trash left behind by the so-called hunters. Lastly, the sheer number of people killed by firearms every year, especially children.
    When dad died last year, I inherited his guns, including some very expensive ones. No one in the family wanted anything to do with them, so by default, I inherited them. These included some colonial era firearms, a few English double rifles, and other guns. I could have sold them and donated the money to Bloomberg’s group, but Mr. Bloomberg is a little too conservative for my taste, so I had the police take them, and in my presence, incinerate every one of them.
    No child will ever die by a gun that I owned. I could have used the money from selling them, but this way, knowing the guns are nothing but ashes and scrap, I can sleep at night.
    I used to think that a compromise was possible on this issue, but that is no longer the case. IMHO, total confiscation and destruction of all privately owned firearms, related supplies, and literature; serious jail time(think 20 years for owning a copy of a 1960 Guns and Ammo magazine), and confiscation of all other property of the entire family if one member is found guilty of possessing anything firearms related.
    Maybe then, and only then, we can start becoming a peaceful, caring society.
    Until then, thank you for the insight.

  27. Save the last reply, I am stunned by the lack of respect shown to the author. All of you are passionate about your right to bear arms. However, you attack this gentleman when he exercised his right to free speech. He was simply stating his stance on the issue and instead of respectfully disagreeing, name calling ensues.

    How can we ever come to terms with this issue as a nation if we can’t share our views without attacking each other?

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