Yeah, it’s time to fess up. Time to come clean. I took my gun to school. I was in the third or fourth grade. I think it was the fourth grade, but I’m not positive. My Uncle Alan, whose own story of World War II is quite interesting, had given me a Japanese army rifle that he “liberated” while part of the US Army occupation forces after the war ended. He showed me how to take it apart and clean it and reassemble it. I, of course, was quite anxious to demonstrate my new skills for anyone who would listen. And who better to listen than a captive audience of my fellow students on Show and Tell day at school.
Finally, after what seemed an eternity, Show and Tell day rolled around and I was ready. Off I marched in all my martial glory with my rifle balanced on one shoulder and my book bag and Roy Rogers lunch box in my hand on the opposite side. It was only slightly more than a half-mile from my house to the elementary school, but I don’t think I was halfway there when that nine pound rifle started to feel like an artillery piece on my elementary school shoulder.
I know what you’re thinking. Did they call in a swat team? Did they “lock down” the school and the neighborhood? They did nothing. I can remember the teacher telling me to put the rifle in the one of the corners of the room. I would think she might well have asked if it was loaded, but I have no recollection of that. What I do remember is how heavy it was carrying it to and from school, I remember leaning it in the corner and I remember showing my skills in taking it apart and putting it back together. If there had been any fuss about the episode, I’m sure I would remember that.
What do you think would happen today if a student walked into his elementary school carrying a military rifle? I think you can probably imagine the result. What’s the difference? In the 1950s it was just unthinkable that somebody would walk into a school and shoot kids. If someone even suggested the possibility of such an event they would be laughed out of town. Oh, there have been shootings in American schools through most of our history. Wikipedia documents 147 incidents (involving death and/or injury) in the 200 years between 1760 and 1960. Most, though, were incidents that could have occurred in any business setting. Suicides, disgruntled employees, drunkenness, domestic disputes, jilted lovers and accidents would be representative until the Texas Tower shootings in 1966. That shooting was after my experience and has been attributed to a brain tumor in the shooter. The significant point is that prior to 1966 there were no attempts to kill as many people as possible in a school.
However, there is a more important difference between those 147 shooting incidents and what has been going on in our schools today. They occurred before the push by liberals to get God out of both our schools and the constitutional foundations of our culture.
Today on the radio someone pleaded with parents to lock up their guns because they are a “magnet” to children. Several weeks ago one of the alphabet networks did a show involving leaving kids in a room with a real, but unloaded, gun. They had three groups. One group was told nothing about not touching the gun. Another was given a lecture before hand about not touching guns and the third was given a demonstration and a lecture using the real gun. The first group, of course, handled the gun. The parents of the second group were shocked that their kids also handled the gun. The third group (if I recall correctly) handled it, but to a lesser degree than the other groups. The show’s “gun expert” made the point that an interactive demonstration was the most effective way to keep kids from playing with guns. My advice to the show’s producers, the gun expert and to you would be to consider the principle of the “forbidden fruit.”
In contrast, in the house in which my mother grew up and in the one to which her mother subsequently moved, there was a loaded shotgun in the corner of the living room all the time. My mother and her four brothers and her sister knew that it was a real, loaded gun and not a toy. When my sister and I stayed with my grandmother we understood the same thing. Occasionally, one of my uncles would get another of their guns, a .22 rifle, out of the unlocked closet where they kept several loaded rifles and let me shoot some tin cans. My mother told me that the only time she could recall the shotgun ever being fired was one New Year’s Eve before her widowed mother remarried. They lived next to the railroad yard in Hagerstown, Maryland and when a train stopped to take on water and coal a large number of partiers exited the train and ran amuck through my grandmother’s yard being a general nuisance and committing some minor vandalism. She stepped outside and fired a single shot into the air and watched as the partiers scrambled back aboard the train, some with minor injuries as a result of running full speed in the dark. Today, of course, she would be arrested for firing a gun in the city limits.
My friends and I always had lots of toy guns. We were constantly playing “cowboys” or “army.” “Bang, bang: I got you, you’re dead.
“No you didn’t, I was behind the car.”
“Yes I did.”
“No you didn’t.”
Ad Nauseam. Yeah, we shot each other all the time. But in school and Sunday School I learned that killing for real was wrong. All the great show’s I watched – Roy Rogers, Hopalong Cassidy, The Lone Ranger, The Cisco Kid, et al always ended with the bad guys getting their comeuppance.
What does all this come down to? Well, we have my generation and earlier ones. We had knowledge of and often contact with guns. We also learned that there is a God who has specific rules that relate to the use of those guns and the sanctity of life. We had examples in the media that reinforced those principles. Not everybody followed God’s rules, but those rules did influence their lives.
And today? We have a generation who has been taught that God is an obscure concept of little importance. God is no more than an exclamation; “OH, GOD!” It is a generation that has been taught that it is legal to murder a baby one day before it is born, but it is illegal to murder it the day after it is born. I know I am repeating what I have said before, but it is important to recognize because it demonstrates that there is no sanctity to life. And how does the media contribute? In today’s movies there is often an orgy of senseless violence. The bad guy is often the hero and the good guy is really the bad guy. The evil prison warden provokes a prisoner to cut off his own hand. When a fellow prisoner escapes he is portrayed as the hero. A career thief witnesses a crime by Secret Service agents and exposes the crime so he is obviously the hero of the story. Have there been bad criminal justice officials? Sure. Is that the story of law enforcement? No. It has evolved today into a targeting of every action taken by a cop. We expect cops to be perfect, but aren’t even willing to pay for the best. If it weren’t for Bruce Willis and “Ah-nolt” we’d have no good cops at all in the movies these days
Today we have an unholy trinity of the left – Hollywood leftists, academic leftists and political leftists. They have worked together to remove any Judeo-Christian influence in our society and our government. Of course, when there’s a Columbine or a Sandy Hook they blame guns. The alternative would be to blame their own policies and actions. We, as a society, have sown the wind and now we are reaping the whirlwind.