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and anything else that comes to mind.
Growing up in the Panhandle of Texas, I grew up around
guns. I wore a double holster with toy six-guns with my
cowgirl skirt and vest. I watched Westerns in movies and on
TV. By the time I was in high school, I owned two real guns
of my own--a .22 rifle and a 20-gauge shotgun.
We'd go out to the junkyard at the edge of town and line up
cans or bottles for target practice. When local farmers were
losing too many cattle or horses to broken legs from stepping
into rabbit holes, we'd go out at night, bumping across the
fields in a pickup with a bright light, to shoot the offending
jackrabbits. I still remember the pain when the feeling returned
to my frostbitten toes the morning I shot a duck from a blind
on the lake. I plucked and dressed and cooked it with wild
rice stuffing for a family meal.
I even took a marksmanship class to fulfill a P.E. requirement
in my first year of college at West Texas State. We tested out
by hitting targets in standing, kneeling and prone positions.
When my husband Frank and I moved to Los Angeles, my
guns moved with us, among our other possessions. We
moved into married student housing at Pepperdine College.
Normandie Village was a small community of converted Army
barracks. That was when I first thought about it.
I kept my guns in the front-room closet, but one night, I
realized that, if anybody broke into our apartment, they would
be closer to the guns than I was. And, if anybody fired a shot
in that little apartment with its paper-thin walls, our neighbors
were likely to be the ones at risk.
I heard of children playing with their parents' guns and shooting
their friends or themselves, of burglars stealing guns from one
house to kill someone at the next, of drivebys by gang
members who couldn't shoot straight that seemed inevitably to
kill a five-year-old.
And every 4th of July, someone would die because some
foolish gun owner shot into the air to celebrate, not realizing
that gravity would bring the spent shell back to earth as fast as
it had gone up.
The next time my parents came out for a visit, I sent the guns
back to Texas with them. Even though I'd grown up with guns
and enjoyed target practice and hunting, the city just wasn't the
place for them. Too many people living too close together
made it too dangerous.
The other articles in this website are on the recent Massacre,
What Kills? and Guns and Christians.
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