Friday, February 16, 2018
Me and guns and Joni Ernst
I once shot a goose from the back of a motor scooter. Seriously, I did. I wasn't trying to show off, never guessed I'd hit it. We were riding along the Lake Michigan shoreline, putt-puttin' on the wet sand, late October probably, when a lone goose came by. My double-barrel, 16-gauge was loaded, so I aimed--sort of--let loose, and down came the goose.
I'm not making this up.
We hunted crows with a phonograph. This old friend of mine had a record with nothing on it but a gaggle of crows gaggling. All that racket from the turntable would haul in crows from hither and yon, we thought, and we'd shoot 'em. That was the plan. Didn't happen, but we had fun.
I hunted pheasants and deer and once upon a time got woefully lost in a Kettle Moraine forest hunting ruffed grouse I never once laid eyes on.
A day or two after JFK was killed in Dallas, a friend and I walked in a woods just outside of town, lugging our shotguns, supposedly hunting rabbits. Didn't come home with a bunny, but the two of us, not yet 16, had a memorable conversation about state of the union, as did the whole country.
In my Wisconsin childhood, I spent more time with guns than I did eating cheese. I learned to love the lakeshore woods by following an neighbor who walked as carefully through those pines and hardwoods as some Kickapoo might have a hundred years before. He taught me to love trilliums and buttercups and jack-in-the-pulpits. I watched him shoot a possum that stumbled into his trap, the first time I'd ever seen an animal die.
I've got my own treasured past with guns. I understand the attachment. I do.
On Wednesday night, a commentator on Fox News told the host that when he was a boy, he had a .22; but he never, ever entertained thoughts of shooting anyone. He was as dismayed as the rest of us, as perplexed about a problem that worsens with every passing month--18 school shootings already this year, eight inside the walls. In Florida, thousands are mourning 17 students and teachers who are dead.
I know what that guy was talking about. I shot a goose from the back of a Cushman motor scooter, but it never entered my mind to turn that 16-gauge on anyone else. Never.
But then, I never carried an AR-15 either. Couldn't have. Wouldn't have thought of it.
If the President can blame Democrats for the deaths of people killed by undocumented immigrants, shouldn't he also tag Second Amendment Republicans for the deaths of seventeen people this week in Parkland, Florida?
And shouldn't Joni Ernst, the hog farmer from Iowa, return the three million dollars+ her campaign blissfully received from the NRA? Shouldn't John McCain give back the seven million? Shouldn't the President himself fork over the $21,000,000 he got from a group who idiotically argue that Nicolas Cruz, a broken, parent-less, misfit 19-year-old, should have the perfect right to own a combat weapon as much like my 16-gauge as that Cushman scooter was to a Sherman tank?
What is wrong with us?
Posted by J. C. Schaap at 6:11 AM