Welcome to Perspectives, a blog of thoughts, commentary and observations ranging from autistic adolescents to intimate portraits of urban communities.

 

A Brace of Six Shooters

Sixty years or so ago I asked my father for a BB gun, like the ones some of my friends used to shoot at tin cans and small birds. He said he would never get me a BB gun because “a gun is not a toy.” When I retorted that I had a brace of six guns (whose ammunition was a roll of caps) with shiny plastic handles and fake leather holsters, he was not amused. An avid hunter and fisherman, my father said that when I was old enough he would buy me a real gun. And because, he said, “a gun is always loaded,” he told me never to point my cap pistols directly at someone. It’s easy to moralize in the aftermath of tragedies, particularly one as sad and seemingly senseless as five-year-old Kristian Sparks accidentally killing his two-year-sister Caroline last week. Hunting is a way of life in in rural Kentucky, and Kristian’s gun was for hunting, not cowboys-and Indians. Still, there is something very wrong when Keystone Sporting Arms, a manufacturer of weapons for children, produces its Crickett (“my first rifle”) in pink and blue and markets it on its “kids corner” web page. Just as there is when a Pennsylvania sheriff raffles off an assault rifle at a fundraiser. And when the objective in video games and arcade shooting galleries is to kill people, however virtually, with guns, however unreal. Sure, it’s all a game . . . at least most of the time.

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