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Time to recall old attitudes about guns

Old IronsightsOld Ironsights Member Posts: 93 ✭✭
Time to recall old attitudes about guns
By Dan Sernoffsky
Lebanon Daily News

Ralphie's fondest wish that Christmas was to find a Red Ryder BB gun under the tree. And, after having been told by practically everyone, including Santa Claus, that "you'll shoot your eye out, kid!" he finally finds it standing in a corner on Christmas morning. That's the basic plot line of the Jean Shepherd story that has become something of a seasonal classic, "A Christmas Story."

The problem is that the movie is set in the 1950s, when Red Ryder and Hopalong Cassidy, the Lone Ranger and the Cisco Kid, Roy Rogers and Gene Autry were the heroes of little boys across the country, their blazing six-guns stopping outlaws. Getting a Red Ryder BB gun was nirvana, but it wasn't bad settling for a pair of cap guns and holsters.

It's still possible to buy a BB gun, but the days of the six-gun cap pistol are long gone. So are the old Western heroes and what was once a pretty clearly defined sense of right and wrong. Sure, the old West never really was what Hollywood made it out

to be, but the old movie and television Westerns were more like morality plays in cultural setting. That morality has been replaced by a moral relativism that might be called the emasculation of America.
Guns, it seems, have become synonymous with evil incarnate, and as gun-control advocates continue to hyperventilate about that evil, they continue to open the door wider for real evil, the denial of reality that invariably leads to tragedy.

Where schools once sponsored competitive rifle teams there are now "zero-tolerance" policies that have gone beyond ludicrous. The parents of a student in Lancaster County are suing their son's school because school officials felt the the T-shirt the boy was wearing, a gift from his uncle in the Army, had a gun on it. In Arizona, a 13-year-old was suspended from school for drawing a picture that resembled a gun, which, school officials said, was "absolutely considered a threat." Another student was threatened with a three-day suspension after a teacher noticed the pen the student was using bore the logo of Glock firearms. That suspension was overturned when the boy's father, a law-enforcement official who had given him the pen, suggested that school officials might re-think their decision. A student at Hamline University, after raising a question about the school's ban on concealed weapons, was suspended and ordered to undergo a mental health evaluation.

The real tragedy behind the "zero-tolerance" policies is that they are typically bureaucratic decisions made to absolve any rationality while sanctimoniously pretending those policies will effectively prevent the kind of terrorist attacks perpetrated by people like Cho Seung-Hui at Virginia Tech or Steven Kazmierczak at Northern Illinois or Matthew Murray in Colorado.

The irony is that Virginia Tech was congratulating itself on passing a campus-wide gun ban not all that long before Cho Seung-Hui went on his rampage that left 32 dead. Kazmierczak knew he was unlikely to face armed opposition when he killed six. Murray, in attacking a church, unquestionably felt the same. He, however, ran into Jeanne Assam, who was armed, and before Murray could begin shooting inside the church, Assam shot him twice.

All too often overlooked is the fact that those unbalanced individuals who decide the go on a shooting spree are no different than the Islamic terrorists who carry out their attacks on civilians across the world. They seek the softest targets. They are cowards, just as are those who feel "zero tolerance" and gun bans are a suitable substitute for abrogating responsibility.

Also overlooked is the simple, salient fact that those unbalanced individuals who decided to go on a shooting spree are invariably stopped by someone, whether an officer of the law or a civilian, who shoots back, unless they kill themselves in the face of such a threat.

It may well be, however, that the pendulum is starting to swing away from moral relativism and back to real morality. In Arizona, the state legislature is considering a bill that would allow those licensed to carry concealed weapons to carry those weapons while on campus. Last week, a federal appeals court overturned the Washington, D.C., ban on guns.

Once, back in the day when Ralphie wanted a Red Ryder BB gun, the concern about guns was in making sure they were handled safely. They were recognized for what they were, tools. Like any other tool, they could be dangerous, but properly used, they served a multitude of purposes, from sporting events like target shooting to hunting to ensuring personal safety. Those purposes haven't changed. Maybe it's time attitudes did.

Sernoffsky can be reached at:

[email protected]


  • slumlord44slumlord44 Member Posts: 3,702 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    Great piece! Love to watch Have Gun Will Travel. Some attitudes are changing. Concealed carry is a reality in all but two states. Unfortunately I live in one, Illinois.
  • triple223taptriple223tap Member Posts: 385 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    Didn't Wyatt Earp ban guns in Dodge City? Where were the 2nd Amendment whiners then? There's some history ferya.
  • crash2usafcrash2usaf Member Posts: 4,094
    edited November -1
    Well Im sure that Mr. Earp would find some suit wearing tree huggin toferkey (tofu+turkey) eating hippy that would help him bring a multimillion dollar lawsuit to the supreme court in order to declare our love for one another
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