what is it with five-year-olds and guns?
now when i was five years old, my father owned a gun. i remember seeing it, once in my father’s closet. i’m fairly sure it wasn’t loaded, and even with nobody telling me what it was, i remember knowing that it was dangerous and i wasn’t to touch it, a sensibility that i have carried through to this very day – i went with a friend a couple of years ago when he was moving to los angeles and “needed a gun for protection” (from what? he never said), and i actually convinced myself to try target shooting with him. i still have one .45 auto round on the shelf in front of me at this very moment, but i don’t have anything to shoot it from, and while it is very dangerous to have a single bullet around, i’ve also got a bottle of lamp oil, a bottle of lighter fluid, a bottle of methyl alcohol and a bottle of paint thinner on the desk as well, and i don’t worry too much about them, either. a few years later, my father inherited an antique, single-barrelled shotgun from somewhere or another, and i got to “play” with that on several occasions, but it was so old that they didn’t make cartridges for it any longer, and someone had removed, and lost, the firing pin a long time ago, so it was more like the “broken gun beneath the bed” of the old jethro tull song than anything else.
but what i can’t figure out is why people who own guns keep them just lying around their house, in a loaded state, in a place where children are likely to pick them up and shoot people? i actually wrote “and accidentally shoot people”, but then i realised that if i didn’t know what a gun was, or if i did know what it was, but had the sensibilities of the normal five-year-old, the fact that i would shoot someone (including myself) is almost a given. the fact that parents would just leave a loaded gun in a place where unsupervised children could hope to find it seems so utterly moronic to me that i wonder why they were allowed to have children in the first place! you (theoretically) have to have a license to own a gun, you should also have to have a licence to have children, and in order to get that license, you should have to prove that you have more sense than a peanut… 8/