Can we shoot the ornaments off the tree?"
"No shooting in the house honey!
You know how your dad gets"
They all love guns.
I remember when my brother Skip got his first gun. I know! My crazy family really had guns! Skip went hunting with a neighbor guy, and sometimes I could even go along. I was actually trained to shoot. I know!
It all sounds so crazy today, doesn't it? The Nelson family armed? But times were different back then. I know, I know, my mother threatened to kill me holding a butcher knife to my throat, and my sister had to pull her off - but I was whining about something... I think I was hungry. "Okay then mom, I'll wait until exactly 5 PM to eat." And then life that day returned to normal. Things were different by high school of course, as a convicted felon, I'm thinking my dad no longer could own a gun, so I'll never know if he would have used it on me instead of chasing me out of the house with a meat clever one evening before super. We Nelson's were so darn dramatic, weren't we? I just have to laugh now. The good old days!
Seriously, they were - in a way. Back in the late fifties, early sixties, we never would have thought about shooting passerbys on the street, much less one another, or even shooting noisy planes down from the backyard. It just wasn't done. We had respect for our weapons, we used them legally and appropriately, for hunting, target practice, as well as protection - although , come to think of it, my dad did threaten us once... But that was unusual, an exception... and it was a squirt gun anyway - though it looked like a real gun.
Anyway, real guns were for protection. As dad always said, "If you gotta shoot the son of a bitch and he's still on the doorstep, drag him in the house so you won't be charged - that way it's self defense." Guns were treated with respect. My mom wouldn't touch them, and my dad never threatened us with real ones. He might beat up mom or one of us, even bad enough to be hospitalized, but no guns were used in the process. They were just for hunting, target practice, and protection. It was an Ozzie and Harriet, Leave It To Beaver idyllic life.
Things are much different today. People have great 'blow 'em up good' 'exterminate the bastards now' video games the whole family can enjoy. It's a new mindset these days. Killing is taught at an early age. Guns are the source of power and control - and of course, protection.
Mrs. Lanza was a gun collector and was convinced she needed them for protection - she and the boy might one day have to defend themselves after the inevitable collapse of the United States. How ironic, the guns she collected and practiced self defense with were the same weapons her kid used to shoot her face off.
Not that many days ago, a grandfather in Minnesota shot his granddaughter believing her to be an intruder. He was simply protecting his castle.
Shortly before that incident, two little boys found their dad's gun - he kept it in the headboard of his bed for protection. The older boy shot and killed the younger boy. They were both under the age of five.
Guns are legal, and that's just fine with me.
I just don't want one. I don't trust myself.
Here's an interesting factoid: The original rule of St. Francis forbade tertiaries from carrying weapons. Of course, Francis talked a wolf out of eating the populace of Gubbio too. So I highly doubt he would be a gun advocate.
That said, I still can't get over the irony of Mrs. Lanza having all of those guns for protection, only to become a victim of matricide. I suppose it's not all that unusual these days - it's happened before and will happen again. New laws won't change anything.
A king is not saved by his army,
nor a warrior preserved by his strength.
A vain hope for safety is the horse (gun)
- despite it's power it cannot save. - Psalm 32
Cigarettes don't kill - people do.