Friday, October 24, 2008
When I answered the phone, the voice of an old friend greeted me. During my years as a Deputy Wildlife Conservation Officer Andy and I had patrolled together many times. We covered untold miles both with our patrol vehicles and with our conversations as we passed the uneventful hours of night patrol.
Now Andy was asking if I was interested in dusting off the old duty weapon and showing up at the local range for some friendly competition. I informed him that I didn’t recollect having fired it since retiring two years ago but he assured me that the shooting wouldn’t be all that difficult.
Five old bowling pins were set on a table in front of each shooter. All courses of fire began with the weapon loaded, holstered and secured. The objective was to be the first to clean the table of pins.
As I later recalled the evening events and the good fun had by all, I began to think about the issue of gun control.
Growing up in rural Pennsylvania, firearms were an everyday part of life. The .22 always stood in the corner; ready to dispatch any varmint that happened to wander into the farm and on butchering days it was used to kill the hogs. There were a couple of 12ga. shotguns that dad and granddad used to kill a few squirrels and rabbits each fall, adding some variety to the family meals and then there were the deer rifles. Guns were tools, tools that were used for a useful purpose. Gun ownership in our rural county to this day is very high. I have no doubt that guns outnumber the people by a considerable number and yet crime is very low in our community.