- Posted July 25, 2012 by
This iReport is part of an assignment:
Gun ownership in America
Why I armed. Why I disarmed.
Me and my buddies took up arms to fight the bad guys. Not the same bad guys everybody is arming to fight today. And we are the living proof of the influence of movies, videos and war games on kids. Grown up on cowboys and indians movies. Excited by the pumping of the lever-action Remington 30-30 carbine on the big screen – and the blasting of a wild indian foe off his horse.
Me and my buddies had to put that pumping action into our hands, and at 17 we were able to buy them, pump them and shoot them.
We lived in the city, and even at that age and even with the killings going on in wild west side of Chicago where we lived, we had the presence of mind not to fire them in the city. A premonition of what would come after a wild shooting spree on our buddy's father's farm in Indiana.
We were in a wild west movie, we shot at everything that moved. Birds, squirrels, logs we floated down the river. We missed most everything we aimed at. No satisfaction. Nothing near like shooting someone off the back of a galloping horse.
We had to accomplish something with that heavy firepower we had. So we turned to the insulators that held wires on telephone and electric poles. Moving railroad boxcars that traveled through the farm at a distance. Blasting the chimney off the farmhouse we slept over in. Shooting through the walls of the house from the inside out. And finally, a replacement for a live indian foe, a live raccoon in a tree. We all blasted it until it let go the tree branch and fell to the ground.
What we just did probably wouldn't have gotten to us if we didn't pick it up. But we now had to make a joke of what we did. We put it under the covers with my buddy's older brother who was still sleeping.
It was amazing we all lived through that weekend – and didn't kill anybody else. I think I swore off shooting on the car ride home. Needlessly killing that raccoon haunted me for a long time. I didn't fire a weapon until several years later during basic training in the army. I still understood the need for shooting and killing in the armed forces, overseas in far off war zones. Keeping the dreaded enemies away from the homeland.
Growing up as a kid in what was considered one of the most dangerous neighborhoods in the city, killings by criminals and the police happened but not that often. And most fights between neighborhood gangs were fist fights. You could live to tell about it.
Today there are shootings and killings every day in that neighborhood and other parts of the city. Is it war movies, computer war games and the ease of buying guns? Whatever it is, it's a vicious circle. Indiscriminate gang shootings and killings and terrorist attacks move the general populace to arm themselves in defense.
The weapons manufacturers, the arms dealers, the merchants of death have turned our country into a war zone. They have provided easy arms access to fulfill the growing need to defend ourselves in our homes, our neighborhoods, our towns and cities.
Even my brothers are armed to the teeth...they say for sporting purposes.
I can't live in a world with that on my mind every day or see my children and my grandchildren living like that. Isn't that exactly why we send our boys and girls overseas to die protecting us? So there's a safe haven for Americans at home. So we don't have to fight a shooting war at home.
I still want to rest comfortable in the belief that our police, the FBI, CIA and military are protecting us so we can go on with our lives in the country with the freedom from wars on our shores.
Call me naive, but the hope is less guns in America can bring that back to us.