I read about the lore of the rural west and its strong tie to firearms, which is all true. Then I listen to today’s NRA mouthpieces and I have to laugh – or cry – at the absurdity of it all.
The ethos that the NRA is trying to conjure up relative to guns is so far from the rural Western ethos that it stinks. It stinks of power and profit and distrust, and amazing fantasies.
I grew up in the rural West, got my first rifle when I was 5. I learned to respect my gun and the damage it could do — sometimes the hard way — like doing without it for a month after failing to see the kitchen window was also in the line of fire.
And I learned how to shoot. We were an NRA family. The NRA was an organization that taught kids gun safety, hunting party responsibilities and many valuable gun ethics. Then it changed to a political lobby – when power, profit, distrust, and government-fearing fantasies became their reason to exist.
Learning to shoot meant I learned to hit my target with my single-shot weapon. If I had the misfortune of wounding my prey, a second shot was humanely fired to end misery. If I needed more than one shot (or two) I was rightfully embarrassed. We could always tell the novices, or as we called them, the “city slickers.” They needed a reload. But even they only took the advantage of a three- or five-round magazine. The idea of needing 10, or 30, or 100 shells in a magazine had nothing to do with sporting or self-protection. No self-respecting Westerner would imagine spraying a fusillade of bullets into the herd in pursuit of that most dangerous of beasts. It was a one-shot deal meant for the predator, maybe two if you were out of practice, which wasn’t likely. My Mom, for example, never needed a second shot.
So why do we restrict magazine size for hunting animals and allow unrestricted magazine depth for roaming our streets?
The second amendment was about protecting ourselves from the likes of King George’s gang. Now I need the Constitution to protect me from the NRA’s Wayne LaPierre gang. Guns gone wild!
I would think the last people to fear our government and its military would be the Wayne LaPierre gang – and I do mean gang. Do they really need 100 rounds to get their jollies off or to protect themselves from the government? They need to protect themselves from the U.S. Military? My 32 years working with the military led me to believe it is universally made up of true Patriots. Those in the military believe in this country and all it stands for: A place to live and thrive and be safe. God help me if a gang of 100-shot urbanites has to go up against the U.S. military to save this great country. Then again, I would think the last thing a six-year-old school child would have to fear is some gun-toting yahoo with the latest in repeater technology roaming the streets of America.
The ethos of the wild and rural west that worked was to leave your guns at the Sheriff’s office when you came to town. They could only get you in trouble in town. And when you left town, you took your trusty repeater rifle — six or eight rounds, and your revolver, six rounds — with you. That meant twelve of thirteen extras after you protected yourself or your family or your livestock, or shot something for dinner. By the time I came along all I needed were my trusty five-shot rifle and a double-barrel shotgun – for predators and for sport. When I was a kid that was what the NRA was about: Sport and love of country.
Leave your gun with the Sherriff – it can only get you in trouble in town. Support the troops and support law enforcement. Get the guns off the streets of America.
David Maddox is a Tabernash resident.