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OPINION: Annie Get Your Gun
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My father bought me my first gun when I was about 12 years old, a .22 caliber bolt action single shot rifle when once loaded had to be armed by pulling the cocking piece on the end of the bolt which spring loaded the firing pin rod.  After that, if you pulled the trigger, the firing pin rod launched the firing pin into the bullet’s primer, the primer ignited the gunpowder, the gunpowder’s explosive force drove the bullet out of its casing, down the barrel, and out into the elements to be guided to its intended target by wind, humidity, temperature, and the aiming ability of the shooter.

To shoot again, the bolt handle is utilized to eject the spent case by the bolt’s extractor which grips the rim of the spent case and removes the case with a gentle airborne release.  Another .22 caliber short, long, or long rifle bullet is loaded into the breech, and if you desire to fire again, as with shampooing your hair, repeat the above instructions, but there is no need to rinse.

I practiced relentlessly.  I must have killed hundreds of Coke cans, spent light bulbs, milk bottles, rotten apples and pears, a few good tomatoes from my mother’s kitchen, and a few dozen beverage glasses my mom had packed away in the attic (she never realized they were gone).  Dad conspired occasionally, and I never ratted on him.

Dad’s main thing with weapons was safety.  First and foremost, safety, always safety.  My father grew up hunting and fishing in Pennsylvania; he knew and respected what a gun could do, especially after serving 3 years during WWII in the China-Burma-India Theater of operations with the Army Air Corps.  Safety, always safety.  His reason was as basic as it was simple: guns kill.

Dad wanted me to know how to use guns yet constantly reminded me of their lethal force.  For my sixteen birthday my father bought me a 1917 .306 Springfield army issue bolt action rifle, 5 round clip fed or 6 round magazine.  My brother-in-law replaced the war-worn old stock with a custom made Monte Carlo stock.  A .22 compared to the .306 is like comparing a Piper Cub to a P-51 Mustang.  They ain’t in the same league.  The .306 firepower was awesome as was its destructive power.  My Sears and Roebuck gun rack proudly displayed the .22, the .306, and my dad’s over-and-under 20 gauge shotgun.  As a teenager, I was well-armed.

My high school buddies, all as well trained as yours truly in gun safety, begged and even tried to bribe me for a chance to fire the .306.  With all safety concerns met, I made a few bucks by allowing them to target practice with the Springfield.  You should see what a .306 round does to a RC Cola can!

I do not recall one high school buddy that did not own a gun or was not allowed to use his father’s rifles or shotguns, with permission, naturally.  Nor do I recall hearing, even in teasing, turning our weapons on people, our classmates, or on anything innocent.  Yeah, we had a couple wacky-dos in our high school class, but not wacky enough to perpetrate mass murder.

Our experience with guns served us well in the military, especially those of us who ended up in Vietnam.  And the M-16 when compared to my .306 is like comparing a P-51 Mustang to the Space Shuttle.  Most of us changed in Vietnam, one way or another.  I for one never hunted again after the war.  Some did, some still do, I just chose not to.  My opinion on guns changed, too….but only briefly.

To see and understand the killing power of weapons like the AK-47, the M-16, or other military hardware, one can reasonably argue that John Q. Citizen has no need for such high-grade weaponry.  Anyone using a fully automatic weapon to hunt deer is a slaughterer, not a sportsman, and who the heck is training these folks to safely handle fully automatic killing machines?  So, I had a change of heart on gun control and our Second Amendment Right to keep and bear arms because our forefathers had no way to envision automatic weapons, airplanes, funny looking things that could take us to the moon, and people with talking devices glued to their ears.  AK-47s and M-16s and AR-15s for John Q. Citizen?  Didn’t make any sense to me, but as I stated, only briefly.

My college degree claims I’m a Political Scientist.  The fact is, I’ve never considered myself to be a scientist and I’m only political when it comes to my country, not a political party.  Politically, I’m independent; I vote for the best qualified or the lesser of two evils, which often is not much of a choice.  But if not education, I do have enough common sense to warn me that something unsavory is happening to the United States of America.

Our Constitution and Bill of Rights have been characterized as “obsolete old documents,” activists are given credibility over peaceful Americans, and Christianity is under constant attack.  Everything good about us is being us against us.  Race is a tool to instigate, not appreciate, and ISIS is an organization with whom we need to address their grievances and find them jobs, according to a spokesperson at the State Department. 

Lies are promoted as truth; truth promoted as lies. In their wisdom, and yes, even in their anxiety concerning the long-term survival of our new republic, our founding fathers realized the biggest threat for democracy would come from the very government they fashioned.  Thus, “the right to keep and bear arms” to protect ourselves from a future tyranny, be it a political party or individual.

Ban automatic weapons?  Confiscate our guns?  I still don’t think AK-47s and AR-15s need be in the hands of untrained and irresponsible people, but at this stage in our history I don’t really care if you horde an Abrams tank in your garage.