Tag Archives: guns

Ghosts of Christmases Future

As it is approaching Christmas, and with President-elect Donald Trump about to take office
(I still can’t quite comprehend that), I thought it would be timely to repost my words on the horrific Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting of 2012…

I was going to write about the unbridled joy of being a kid at Christmas, the simple pleasure of waking up on Christmas morning, running out in your pajamas — after being too excited to sleep the night before — to see that new pile of presents under the tree. Yes! Santa has been!

“Yes! Santa has been!” (The writer, 1970)

The events of Friday morning at the Sandy Hook elementary school in Connecticut changed everything. The level of violence is difficult to comprehend, the fear those children would have experienced unthinkable, the stories of sacrifice by the staff unimaginable, the grief of the families immeasurable. It simply needs to stop. The system requires a reboot, this “right to bear arms” rethought. Who needs to have a military assault rifle in their home? Anyone?

Obviously, it will not be easy. As President Barack Obama said in an emotionally charged speech in Newtown, “No single law, no set of laws can eliminate evil from the world or prevent every senseless act of violence in our society. But that can’t be an excuse for inaction. Surely we can do better than this.”

“Better than this” will involve standing up to the lobbyists, the usual suspects who roll out the usual hoary old justifications, pathetic excuses and “helpful” suggestions including “what we need is more guns, not less guns.” I can’t even get my head around that statement. Then there’s the tip-toeing through the minefield of political machinations. Then there’s the NRA. Someone has to take that first step.

No doubt there are countless toy guns sitting under Christmas trees around the planet right now — the paper to be torn off them by excited little hands, so they can play cops and robbers or soldiers. One can only hope that in years to come, it will be much more difficult for these children to get their hands on the real thing and wreak the havoc we saw on Friday.

The time has come for the rhetoric to be followed through. We owe it to Friday’s children — Charlotte, Daniel, Olivia, Josephine, Ana, Dylan, Madeleine, Catherine, Chase, Jesse, James, Grace, Emilie, Jack, Noah, Caroline, Jessica, Avielle, Benjamin and Allison. As well as the adult victims, these names should have appeared on Christmas gift tags — not as statistics of another horrific mass shooting. They have now become ghosts of Christmases future.

©Steve Williams 2012

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My First Rifle? Another WTF About Guns

So. Where do you start with the total WTF-ness of the tragic story of how a five year boy shot his sister with his own rifle. Yep, his own rifle — a gun aimed at (pun intended) kids.

Iver gun – and know how to use it. An ad from 1904.

You have to feel for the family, but what sort of parent buys their five year old a gun that shoots anything more deadly than a foam Nerf-style pellet or water? What sort of company makes these guns?

That one’s easy — Keystone Sporting Arms  — who manufacture a range of Crickett rifles and pistols for adults and rifles for kids. “My First Rifle” is conveniently available in a choice of blue or pink. Lovely. Can’t wait for the Hello Kitty or One Direction models.

I’m sure they are not the only company to offer a kids sorry, “youth” range of firearms, but have been thrust into the media glare with the recent shooting. Their website makes for interesting reading — the “Kids Corner” is worth a look. There are photos of kids holding up targets and the occasional dead animal who I assume was on the receiving end of “My First Rifle”. The photo of a baby in camo gear “holding” a rifle is somewhat disturbing. I hope that was submitted to support a Parent of The Year nomination. The beaming little girl holding up the box containing her new rifle complete with a Disney-esque cartoon cricket also caught my eye. I hope the cricket isn’t the next target.

It seems little has changed, guns have been pointed towards children for over a century — the photo on this page is an ad from 1904. Good to know the Iver Johnson revolvers “shoot straight and kill”, but reassuring that “accidental discharge is impossible”.

The whole gun debate  / right to keep and bear arms etc is far too complex to be covered in any detail here, though you have to wonder about the logic of manufacturing and marketing guns for kids as young as five. Sadly, the two year girl who was killed by her brother won’t be able to.

©Steve Williams 2013

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Birthday with a bang

So it was a fantastic week for parenting. Seriously. One notable example showed that children are not only our future, but are in very good hands. Ok, one of those hands might be holding a semi-automatic pistol, or a pump-action shotgun, but that’s of little consequence.

“Pass the parcel” 2012 style

The story of eight-year-old kids having parties at a shooting range copped more of a barrage than a nude guy chomping on a face in Miami. Where’s the problem? It should be encouraged. What else are you going to do for a kid’s party? Bouncy castle in the backyard? BORING! Stretch limousine to a session with a beautician? PLEASE, SO 2003. McDonald’s party? WHAT? You’re going to let your kids eat that stuff? Haven’t you read those alarming reports on childhood obesity? Paintball? Nah, that’s just pretend for pussies. No, kids these days want to shoot stuff with real high-powered weapons. Not so much “pin the tail on the donkey” but “blow the f*ck out of the donkey”. Maybe that’s next, hunting birthday parties — preferably not limited to garden-variety Equus africanus asinus, but endangered species like Black Rhinos, or tigers (any brand will do). That would also get the children out and get them some fresh air.

The gentleman at the shooting range sounds as responsible as the parents, his only condition for would-be Dirty Harrys and Harriets — “You have to be tall enough to get above the shooting table”. See? Where’s the drama with that? Caring Mr Smith-Wesson doesn’t want little Tiaaanna coming home with a gaping hole where her left nostril used to be.

A word of advice — just make sure little Trevor takes a really, really good present to the party. You don’t want to be around a disappointed, tearful eight-year-old wielding a Glock pistol…

©Steve Williams 2012

*This piece was published in the sadly now defunct The Punch by news.com.au

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