I was ten years old when my brother left home to go to Eastern Mennonite School at Harrisonburg, Virginia. I remember it well since it was then that my parents decided to trust me with the family’s single-shot 22 caliber rifle. So I was instructed in its use. Even if I had a play gun it was never to be pointed at a person, so it followed that I was never to point the real rifle toward anyone. For safety’s sake I was to carry it with the muzzle pointed downward toward the earth. I was never to point the gun toward the house.With these careful instructions my mother put the gun in my hands and trusted me with three 22 caliber “short” rifle shells, never more than three. Their
range was limited. If I shot to the west the bullet would go into a hill and woods; if south, the bullet would go across the run into a big hill; if east, the bullet would fall into an open field; and if north it would fall into another open field or into more hills. There were no neighbor houses to be seen from our house. It is was a safe place for a ten year old with a gun.
How to aim and what to shoot was part of the training. I was to aim at what was considered vermin: intrusive birds like English Sparrows or Starling; rats and mice in the barn; snakes in the grass or along the run; or ground hogs raiding the garden.
I thought about my early years with a gun because of the conversation in the nation about gun control. President Obama has asked citizens to support his efforts to persuade the congress to pass gun control legislation. As a citizen I will support the president by contacting freshman Democratic senator Joe Donnely and urge him to support the president’s effort to ban military style assualt weapon. He told a reporter that he will study the president’s proposal as a supporter of the 2nd. amendment and as a Dad. Donnely’s office number is 202-224-4814. I invite you to call his offfice, too.
The Old Fool remembers that he is a citizen of another kingdom. As a citizen of that kingdom he prays and works in hope for the time to come when all weapons will be melted and molded into something useful.