Saturday, March 11, 2006

Why I Hate Guns

Last night I gave myself a wonderful treat. I called my friend Karan (we met when we were both ten years old and in the fifth grade). We talked for a few hours catching up. She now lives in Texas and Hurricane Rita did a lot of damage to her house. They just got done with many external repairs and are now ready to tackle some indoor ones.
Karan and I shared a tragedy at our young ages. Our older brothers were best friends. When we moved to New Jersey we only had two families with kids our ages that we could walk to see. Karan and Michael were one family. My brother hunted a lot with Michael and his older brother, Johnny. One afternoon, November 16th, it was lightly raining and foggy. They asked my brother to go with them but my mother wouldn't let him. Thank God. Johnny had been experiencing some problems with the safety on his rifle. Apparently, he was walking ahead of Michael and tripped, the shotgun went off blowing a hole through Michael's neck. They were deep in the woods but John managed to carry him to the local main road. At this time our town was very rural and it took nearly five minutes for a truck to come. When they saw the two of them (John was holding Michael's limp body) the trucker drove on. Finally someone stopped and called the police and an ambulance. By the time Michael got to the hospital ( a brand new far from state of the art hospital back them) he was gone. Aside from losing her closest sibling, my friend Karan had a hard time forgiving her older brother, as did family and other friends. Poor John was not yet twenty years old and had a pregnant wife at the time. That marriage ended quickly. It was always felt that Michael was the family favorite. Karan's Mom had a breakdown. She was such a sweet woman. She still loves with her. She just turned eighty. I still go sometimes to Michael's grave. There's a hedge that has to be trimmed back. At that time the local priest refused to give Michael a Catholic funeral. This was because the previous June Michael had not been confirmed. I still feel anger when I think of that. The entire parish felt it was wrong and eventually the priest was moved to another parish. On cold rainy foggy November days I think of Michael. I often wonder if it was his time. What if they hadn't gone that day? So many lives might be so different. Especially John's. He has been through a series of marriages and I believe he stills struggles with so much. Karan can still get very emotional when we talk about Michael. I'm her only friend who knew him that she is in touch with. She has three children of her own. Her one son named her grandson after him. I can still see Michael in my mind. So good looking with his long brown hair covering his one eye. Standing over a red bike with a white banana seat. That's the way he lives forever in my mind. Fourteen years old with a shy smile that could melt your heart.
A tragedy that touched so many lives, and changed them forever.
This is why I am strongly against guns. My father and brothers always hunted. Guns were something that were always in my house growing up. I shot a shotgun once. It knocked me on the ground. Last time I cared to touch one. At age ten I had the above experience with Michael. Since then I have not cared to be around a gun and I never allowed one in my house.
About ten years ago my grandfather died. "Pops" grew up in Alabama and guns were a way of life to him. He taught my Dad to hunt and they hunted often, despite an incident where one of his friend's sons accidentally killed his father. When Pops died he had a few pistols and my Dad gave one to my middle brother. My middle brother kept the gun LOCKED in a box. One day his friend Charlie came to see him. Charlie had known him since they were in second grade. He asked my brother if he could see the gun. My brother took the key out of his dresser and took the gun out. Charlie asked to hold it. My brother let him and then his wife called him to come for dinner. My brother knew the gun was empty, shut the box and went to eat. The following morning my brother woke up to his door bell ringing. The police were there wanting to know if he owned a certain make of gun. "Yes. It's registered. Why are you asking?" The police told him to produce the gun. He went into his closet and there was an empty box. He came out showing them the box and they asked him when he had last seen his friend Charlie. At that time he realized what must have happened. Charlie had been planning a suicide. My brother never knew it but Charlie had been under the care of mental health professionals on and off for years. It seems that he was denied a gun permit. He came and took the gun and killed himself with it. My brother, a sweet and kind person, was devastated by it. It took years for him to get over it. Charlie did leave a letter to his estranged wife and parents, telling them not to blame my brother that he had stolen the gun without permission. The gun was held by the police for a very long time. When they called my brother to come pick it up he didn't want to touch it. He called my father and told him that if any one in the family wanted it they could have it. My father did pick it up and put it somewhere... I have no idea where. I do know this: guns kill people. The ones who survive the tragedy are never the same. I don't believe citizens need to own guns.
The NRA has so many paid lobbyists because there members (which include some of my family members) are fanatics. Most people who hunt spend more money on supplies than the meat they get for free would cost them to purchase. They just enjoy the "sport" of hunting. I love animals. I wear leather and I do eat meat. I just cannot imagine looking at an animal, God's beautiful creatures and killing them for sport.
Anyway last night got me thinking.....again......about how I hate guns and the devastation they cause.


Judith HeartSong said...

very good post. I have target practiced with all kinds of guns, rifles, and crossbows....... I grew up in rural Pennsylvania.... but am totally against guns for people who are not safely hunting and feeding their families.

jennifer said...

Hate guns. Refuse to allow them anywhere near my home. Hate them.

But I do love playing with your blog....