by Andy Weddington
Monday, 06 November 2017
Some parents say it is toy guns that makes boys warlike. But give a boy a rubber duck and he will seize its neck like the butt of a pistol and shout 'Bang!' George Will
This morning I went for a haircut.
Walked into the barbershop and noted of the six chairs four idle.
Two barbers busy.
In the small seating area was a boy of about four playing with LEGOs.
I said hello and he did likewise albeit shyly.
He had fashioned four our five of the rectangles into something not discernible to me. And was playing with it.
He played and sang softly.
Then he, holding his LEGO invention with right hand, pointed at me and fired - while making a gun noise.
"You shot me?! Why?"
He giggled then put down his "gun" for coloring book pages and markers.
One page was filled with the outline of a pumpkin.
He approached and asked if I'd help him make a jack-o-lantern.
So handing me a couple of markers, orange and black, we drew in a hasty traditional face - orange features outlined in black.
He smiled and took the artwork to show his father still sitting in a barber chair.
Next in the other active chair, I saw the pair leave. The boy had his jack-o-lantern and, for being a good boy, a (barbershop) lollipop.
He left his gun behind.
While getting my hair cut I talked to the barber about snow and making soup with beer instead of chicken stock.
But I was thinking about the boy who shot me.
He's too young to have likely seen anything, much less understood it, of the shooting in a Texas church yesterday morning.
Where does this sort of creative play come from?
He didn't need a rubber duck.
Driving home my thoughts were of hope he matures into one of the good guys with guns.
Thank God for them - good guys with guns.
Otherwise bad guys with guns would kill a lot more good people.
Home, I had a bowl of soup.
Snow a certainty but no flakes today.
Never played with them.
But as a kid I remember fashioning crude guns out of sticks and all sorts of things - shooting other kids while we played in the woods.
And we didn't just shout 'Bang!' but made machine gun sounds and yelled, "I got you! You're dead!"
There was always denial with counter of, "No, I got you!"
No one was ever just wounded.
At day's end everyone lived.
The war to be continued tomorrow.
It was fun.
My Dad, an Air Force veteran, taught me, and my brothers and sister, respect for guns.
I practiced those important lessons and that respect leading Marines.
Too Dad taught me how to mark and carve a real jack-o-lantern.
That required a sharp knife. Which I also respect.
Mom taught me how to make soup. Though she used chicken stock and water not beer.
What a way to start the week.
I was shot today.
By a kid.
Who had no idea what he was doing nor all his innocent non-chalant act of play would cause me to remember and contemplate.
Had I been a little quicker on my feet I'd have suggested you join the NRA.
Good thing for you it was me: A retired Marine - with fond memories being a kid playing with "guns" and a big kid entrusted with guns - blessed with a fair share of common sense.
For had you even pointed your "gun," much less shot, at a liberal quack most likely you'd already be in therapy, your Dad in jail, and the barbershop ordered closed for fostering gun violence.
My Monday, to great surprise, started with a sort of ambush and a 'Bang!'
And tonight, like Sunday night, I'll say a prayer for the innocents murdered in Texas whilst thanking (all) the good men with guns.
"Thank you, Dad and Mom." That, I cannot say too many times.