"Most of us remember our first love, but what about our first gun? I shot my first gun when I was just shy of 12. My parents were smart. Even out in the country, drugs were starting to pop up, and an occasional rural kids would get into grown up trouble early. Those of you with teenagers know what I am talking about. It's hard being a young adult, the light weight of the few years you have seen are heavy enough to prevent you from taking off and flying free of a world that to you seemed too rigid and too ordered. But not weighty enough to keep your feet truly grounded in a life of solid choice and experienced judgment.Ebenso "Becoming a Hunter" und "Life sharply lived". Wer eher die etwas leiseren Töne mag und sich nicht von früh bis spät ausschließlich mit Waffen beschäftigen möchte, dem sei Home on the Range empfohlen. :-)
So, to give us something to learn and grow with, my parents gave us a gun. And taught us to use it. I remember that first gun. It was a single action "garden gun", one that found its way under many a Christmas tree in my generation. I held it, wood smooth under my hand, the sun at the quarry where we would shoot it shining off of the barrel. When I touched it, I felt an excitement of joy and promise whose reason I could not put into words at that age, being too young to articulate that. I felt responsible. Yes. Responsible. For something that cost most than many months allowance would ever replace. Responsible for the trust my parents put in me in handing over the legacy of guns in our house. Responsible for myself, my brothers. To use it properly.
Unlike the importunate, fumbling attempt at first love, the first time I handled a gun it just felt familiar. I actually knew what to do with it when I got it in my hand. Guns weren't a shameful secret in the house. We watched, we learned, we read and we were taught, before we even picked one up. Guns weren't toys, they were serious, and that was as much a part of our knowledge as don't put your hand on the stove burner and don't walk through that field with the bull in it on the way home from school. I was only given my own gun when I was old enough to grasp that, not a day before.
I remember the very first time I pulled the trigger, under a parents supervision, the hesitant deliberation of the hand, the tightening of the muscles in my stance, knees slightly bent, leaning in, that seemed to convey twice the weight of what my childlike body held. And I squeezed and hit the top rim of the can, knocking it off its perch. It took ten minutes for the smile to leave my face.
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