Back in the Day

I remember one Christmas when I was in Elementary School, my mom and dad bought me a complete Man from U.N.C.L.E. spy kit. It came with a toy pistol, a sniper rifle, a combat knife and other stuff that in my mind was 'cool'. In fact, I had a lot of toy guns. My friends and I would play 'army' and shoot each other all day long. We tried to make the gun sounds as realistic as possible. There was this tom boy that brought her gun to play and she would only say 'pow'. We used to give her so much grief over that. Our combat was played out all over the block, in between neighbors' houses, in the back yards and sometimes we even got on top of the houses to have the perfect sniper spot. There was a willow tree in back of our house that had a limb growing so close to the roof that our 'monkey' ability made it possible to scamper up there in a hurry. Some of us had outstanding acting ability, trying to see who could compose the best death scenes once we were shot.

I still have links with these boys, that are now men approaching sixty (like me), and I find something strange. None of us have ever actually shot someone. We all watched Yosemite Sam on TV as he would walk into a saloon, pull his six shooters and start firing 'em off into the floor proclaiming, "I'm the rootinest tootinest shootinest outlaw in the west!" None of us have ever actually done that. We used to watch the Three Stooges beat hell out of each other with hammers, pots, fingers to the eyes, fists to the head, and blows to the stomach. None of us have ever actually done that. We all watched Elmer Fudd shoot countless rounds of ammo at that pesky wabbit or Daffy Duck. I think all of us have shot at a rabbit or duck at one time or another. Funny how we were able to tell the difference between human beings and animals.

To my knowledge, none of us have ever been arrested or put in jail. I know I haven't. The only time I ever shot at a human being was when two bozos tried to break into my house in broad daylight. My daughter was alive and confined to a wheelchair so I had no opportunity to run. Nobody got hurt because I didn't want to kill someone, just scare them. When my wife came home to see the ravaged front door, my daughter wheeled up to her and said, "Momma, the bad men came but daddy chased them away." One of my proudest moments.

One of the recurring thoughts I've had after that incident was, what if they KNEW I wasn't armed? What would have deterred them? There were two of them and only one of me. I know there is a saying that liberals get tired of hearing, but it bears repeating. If guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns. Don't believe it? Why not? The government tried to outlaw liquor during Prohibition. How did that work out? The government has been conducting a 'losing' war on drugs for years now. How has that worked out and how well is working out today? The cold, hard indisputable fact is that when there is a demand by the lawless to possess liquor, drugs or guns, it will be met. Regardless of all the good intentions that people have to protect the citizenry of this country. But, I digress from the intent of this post.

When I was sixteen, my parents gave me my first, real gun. It was a .22 caliber, bolt action with a seven shot clip. However, I was only given this weapon after having been trained on how to use and respect firearms, from the age of five, by my father, grandfather, older brother, uncles, cousins, etc. I used to live in the forest on weekends and during the summer months, never venturing into the woods without a firearm. My first pistol was a .38 snubnose revolver, which I had in hand when the burglars came. I was glad I had it.

So, I grew up playing with toy guns, being trained in the use of real weapons, given my first weapon at 16, and have been around them all my life. I also grew up watching violent cartoons, violent shows, violent movies, and then went out with my friends and pretended to inflict violence on them. Yet, never...not once...ever...has the thought occurred to me to actually and with evil intent go out from my house to kill as many human beings as I could before being stopped. Not only that, I have never thought about killing even one human being. The same holds true for all those boys I grew up with and us 'shooting' each other with glee.

I firmly believe the pyscho-analysts, psychiatrists, psychologists and other psycho-whatevers have it wrong. It isn't the games, the movies, the pretending, the toys, the vision impacting things that turn people to violence against other people. It can't be. There has to be something inherently wrong with someone who goes on a spree killing. It also can't be that the world or society has mistreated them to some greater degree than the rest of us. Can anyone really stand up and say that they have never been mistreated, maligned, abused in some shape or form? Can anyone really say that their entire life has been one of wine and roses and song with nary a problem or care? Of course not. My first girlfriend was caught by me in a three way. She still lives as do the three I found her with. My first wife was having an affair with her boss less than ten months after we were married. She and he still live. Plus, I didn't go off on some bizarre notion that all women were evil and therefore must die...even if I didn't know them and they hadn't done anything to me. Such thinking by people that do those things is twisted in the least and outright evil to the core at the most. For some reason, the killers I speak of have some kind of disconnect that sane, rational, and lawful people can't understand. Nobody can. I don't care how many PhD's, Masters' or Bachelor degrees you have. I don't care what kind of 'expert' you are. These types of people cannot be understood any more than their diabolical actions can be understood. I doubt they even understand it.

One thing, and one thing only, helps to explain it a little bit. Back when I was growing up, we didn't live in a 'victim' society like we have had for the last twenty-five years. When I was a kid, if I messed up, guess whose fault it was? It wasn't the teacher, the neighbor, or some imaginary mental condition. My parents looked straight at me. And, when I messed up bad enough, my butt hit that belt numerous times. However, I will say unequivocally that I was never mistreated. But I was directed to believe in a certain rule. Behavior results in consequences. Good for good; bad for bad. Far be it for these little darlings of the last twenty-five years to EVER be disciplined or corrected or to be told something they're doing is bad. Heaven forbid they ever get a butt whuppin', for that only begets more the 'experts' say. All those boys I mentioned earlier...every one of us had a mom and dad that would break out the leather when it was necessary. And look how badly we turned out. Never been to jail. Never killed anybody. And never thought about doing either. Something to think about.