Wednesday, April 18, 2007

One Thing I do Know for Sure

When I was a little girl my dad hunted for food. We ate squirrel and rabbit. I even picked up my toy rifle and started to follow him into the woods when I was two. He took me back to the house.

When I was five or six my dad no longer needed to hunt for food, but he did go on deer hunts. I remember one day he drove up with a dead bloody deer tied to the hood of his car. I looked out the window and saw this sight and began to cry uncontrollably. I hated what I saw, and I cannot explain to you why. It was just such an awful sight and I’ll never ever forget it.

I used to pretend that I was the cowgirl shooting the pretend Indians and sometimes I was the Indian shooting the pretend cowboys. I had a pair of toy six-shooters that I strapped on my waist and then the pretending would commence.

Today I am deeply anti-gun. I detest hunting. And, I cannot imagine myself pointing a gun at someone or another living thing and pulling the trigger.

I am telling you this because I can’t make myself believe that video games and movies cause children to grow up and become heartless killers. Sure, there were no video games when I was little, but there were movies and in those movies people shot other people.

I don’t know what has changed in our world that would cause children to shoot other children but I know it couldn’t happen without guns. My dad always had guns in the house and it never crossed my mind to “touch” them. I never thought about it because I had been told not to go anywhere near them. Maybe seeing that bloody dead deer strapped on my dad’s car that day showed me what real guns could do to real living things. One thing I do know for sure is that it was ugly then, and it’s still ugly and frightening to me now.


Blogger sumo said...

That sight would have traumatized me too. I have an intense dislike of hunting.

April 18, 2007 2:21 AM  
Blogger Lew Scannon said...

I am neither anti-hunting nor am I anti-gun ownership, even though I do neither. I strongly believe in the Constitution and the second amendment. Making guns illegal will not eliminate criminals desire to have them, much as criminalizing drugs hasn't stopped people from using those.
The problem with this country is it's sensationalistic media, which uses fear to keep you tuned to the television, then plays on that fear to sell you everything from deodorant to SUVs.

April 18, 2007 2:50 AM  
Blogger Coffee Messiah said...

I can remember the same things: Plus, throw in the Three Stooges and we'll all be out poking people in the eyes and bonking them on the head, etc.

Although I played the same games and still have a picture which I'll have to find with the hat & guns, but something inside me told me it wasn't real, and if it were the consequences would be far different and even more disturbing.

Guess some of us simply understood better.

I agree with the previous LS, since the media spends more time (24 hrs for 2 days straight or something) that for those with some kind of mental imbalance, it may justify the "15 minutes of fame" they would not get otherwise? ; (

April 18, 2007 3:40 AM  
Blogger Jersey Guy said...

It is simple, Patricia, it is about the culture of violence in the U.S. Bob Cesca at Huffpo said it very well today:

"President Bush himself has told us that shooting without negotiation is the only answer."


April 18, 2007 4:09 AM  
Blogger CEW said...
Our childhoods held plenty of violence--imaginary, play and real. Cowboys and indians, Tom and Jerry, Road Runner, spankings, Viet Nam, Detroit riots, Martin Luther King, Bobby, JFK. Still a belief in positive change persisted, endured. What has changed? Greater personal isolation via diversified media. That's what I think. Back when we were kids, there were only so many news networks. Movies seemed to come out one or two at a time. etc. You couldn't inhabit your own thoroughly personal media construct and never leave it. You were part of a greater community. You had imagination but were never a community of one.

April 18, 2007 4:20 AM  
Anonymous Knox Rover said...

People have always been cruel. Throughout history, if you have something, someone wants to take it from you. In medieval Europe, people flocked to the towns to watch hangings. Vendors sold drinks and produce during these "events," just like they do today at baseball games. In every society in every corner of the globe, atrocities have always happened. The difference now is we don't have to leave our living rooms to watch it.

April 18, 2007 4:54 AM  
Blogger niCk (Mem Beth) said...

I agree with Lew. It is a real problem, all the media attention this thing is getting. I just checked CNN, at it is still all the headlines and still a "developing story". The market driven news preys upon our the "rubberneckers" who need to see the tragedy unfold, and want more real-time news reporting, when this type of sensationalistic news reports ultimately is bad.

We ignore thousands of good things happening everyday and focus on the bad, those who demand attention now know a very easy way to get it.

It should be in the news, and we should be able to access information, but to devote 24 hours a day to reporting this one story is way too much.

On your point. I had guns growing up and was taught to use them, but I will not own a gun, they scare me, they are tools used for control of others, but I don't want our gov't and police to be the only ones with guns. I don't trust them that much.

April 18, 2007 5:32 AM  
Blogger JM said...

I'm not sure how we can ignore the "dotted line" between guns and violence. I'm sure the right wing will be pointing at the Second Amendment and that this maniac bought his gun legally, but how can we justify our cultural obsession with guns and violence? You're right, games and movies aren't the problem just a symptom. What bothers me even more is that we probably won't use this event as a wake-up call to change things, since gun control is such a political hot potato.

April 18, 2007 5:42 AM  
Blogger SB Gypsy said...

I lived in LA during the time that the Hillside Strangler was active. I owned guns for protection. When my son graduated from "layer" to "crawler" I cleaned out the whole house, and got rid of the guns. Unlike his older sister, who would not touch my gun if I left it in the middle of the living room floor, my son had the nose for anything that would make a big noise, and I knew I could not keep him out of it.

News Flash - Boys, from the time they're born, are really, really different from girls.(And when I was a college student, they convinced me that it was all "nurture". A few minutes with a newborn boy disabused me of that notion!)

April 18, 2007 6:28 AM  
Anonymous concerned said...

We can't own guns as easily here in England. If you belong to a gun club your gun is locked up and kept there. We do have an 'undergraound' gun culture that is growing, but the fact remains that guns are less available and less easy to get hold of, and we have far fewer gun killings.

The usual response is "guns don't kill people, people do."

Correct. And they'll use whatever is to hand. But guns make it quicker and easier, and more of a possibility. To pull a trigger takes seconds, there is no time for second thoughts...

As for hunting... I think killing for sport or profit is morally wrong, and even killing for food when you don't need to is wrong. Animals have a right to a peaceful life as well.

April 18, 2007 6:33 AM  
Anonymous Knox Rover said...

I had a neighbor years ago when I lived in Tennessee who tried to argue against gun control by saying "you can kill someone with a necktie." "True," I said, "but you can't kill a whole classroom full of people with a necktie, and I've never heard of a drive-by necktying (as opposed to a drive-by shooting)."

April 18, 2007 6:57 AM  
Blogger fallenmonk said...

I am a complete pacifist and abhor hunting and all that it involves. I do however have guns for self defense. I do believe that owning and buying guns should be much more difficult. In the cast of the Va Tech boy, if he had been required to produce evidence of mental stability and references of good character before he purchased the gun he would have not been able to buy it legally. He could have still purchased one illegally.
We will never eliminate them from our society but we can try to make it more difficult to get one.

April 18, 2007 7:31 AM  
Blogger angry ballerina said...

I'm a firm beliver in the saying "Guns don't kill people, people kill people" or more like "Guns don't kill people, people with nothing to lose kill people." Either way, it's just killing.

April 18, 2007 7:41 AM  
Blogger Karen McL said...

This reminds me (in a way) of the cultural divide and differences both from the era of your childhood and the gender-expectations.

You played with guns and Cowboys & Indians because that was a staple of the era ( we did too!) but it wasn't expected of you -culturally - to grow up to be the Hunter (or the Shooter). You were a *girl* and thus the message not to mess with "Daddy's Guns". Quite different in both the culture of today and the messaging to males and Gun Sub-Culture that still exists - just it like it did then.

So be thankful we are Girls and Can appreciate the horrors of those implements (even when used for legit hunting purposes) and not be called *sissies* and *wusses* for avoiding them.

April 18, 2007 7:42 AM  
Blogger Pam said...

I was getting my hair cut one day years ago (in houston texas) when someone came in and was showing some pictures of his son to everyone. The hairdresser asked if I wanted to see one, so I said yes. There was a picture of a six-year old boy holding a rifle standing over a bloody deer carcass. I was told proudly it was his "first kill." I gasped in horror and revulsion and exclaimed "how AWFUL!!".

The hairdresser glared at me as if I was an alien and we didn't speak to each other again while she finished my haircut and I fought back tears. I never went back to that place.

How can people shoot Bambi?

April 18, 2007 8:07 AM  
Blogger robin andrea said...

Guns just make it much too easy. If we had to kill with our own two hands, a knife, or a bludgeon fewer people would kill. The gun removes intimacy from the act and replaces it with a lethal immediacy.

I don't think we'll ever get guns out of our culture, but we could at least make them more difficult to get.

April 18, 2007 8:31 AM  
Anonymous Jim DeRosa said...

Most Americans' indecency comes from the top down...the bully pulpit is more powerful than television. We see how our leaders act and follow.

April 18, 2007 8:46 AM  
Blogger Pursey Tuttweiler said...

A radio disc jockey today pointed out how CNN was ranting against video games causing violence and then went on to show violent bloody pictures of yesterday's massacre.

I do not know what causes the extreme mental health problems Mr. Cho had, but it sure as hell isn't a video game.

I am glad you don't hunt.

April 18, 2007 9:41 AM  
Blogger rainlillie said...

My mother is from the south and hunting was away of life for them. When I grew up she wouldn't allow guns in our home. She wouldn't even allow my brother to play with toy guns.
You see, guns have been the cause of great pain in my family. I've lost an uncle, two cousins, a brother in-law and a few friends all to gun violence.
Now That I'm a mom, I don't allow my kids to watch violent movies or play violent video games. It's not that I think those things will cause them to be violent, but I think if you watch it after awhile you'll get desensitized to it. I call shows like Cops and Dog the Bounty Hunter "HM" shows ( human misery shows) I think the VT killings should make us look not only at gun laws, but also the mental health industry. Even someone suffering from depression can still buy a gun as long as they haven't been convicted of a felony.

April 18, 2007 10:47 AM  
Blogger Frederick said...

Hunting, and hunters are, sadly, a dying breed in this country, and I'm afraid it's because of judgments like these. Hunters and Conservationists were the original environmentalists, and are still leading the way in many respects. Wildlife management just doesn't happen by itself.

Death happens, it's a part of life. The gun is a tool. It is a messenger. If someone has a problem with the message, they need to do something about the root cause, not employee band-aid half measures like bans and prohibitions.

What happened at Virgina Tech is a tragedy, no doubt. Be it has nothing to do with that deer on the hood of your father's car.

April 18, 2007 2:06 PM  
Blogger Robert said...

Just my opinion! Culture nowadays is so indifferent to violence and has so much available via tv and internet and phones, people in this country have just accepted the way things are. The outspoken are few.

April 18, 2007 5:26 PM  
Blogger The Future Was Yesterday said...

I don’t know what has changed in our world that would cause children to shoot other children but I know it couldn’t happen without guns.
This is an argument that is as old as the Internet, so I'll just say this:
No criminal I ever heard of, follows the guns laws. If you can come up with a foolproof plan to take away ALL of their guns, I will gladly give you mine.

April 18, 2007 11:30 PM  
Blogger Blueberry said...

Preaching to the choir here, PoP. I hate guns and hunting. I wish that guns had never been invented.

April 19, 2007 4:24 AM  
Anonymous RJ Adams said...

Guns don't seem like a bad idea when you're forced to live off squirrels or rabbit. Suddenly, when its all about the pleasure of killing, it turns ugly. How many in America still need to kill squirrel or rabbit to survive? How many still enjoy the pleasure of killing for the sake of it? I'm sick of hearing the squeamish cry, "Oh, I want gun control, but it could never happen in America!" Things happen when we make them happen. Only one thing will stop massacres such as occurred at Virginia Tech. They can debate till they're blue in the face, but only one thing will stop it happening again.

April 21, 2007 7:27 PM  
Blogger Daniel said...

I just posted on ant-guns myself, Patricia. I think they're a man thing, part of our hunting genes. Problem is that humans seems to enjoy hunting and hurting each other!


April 21, 2007 7:29 PM  

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