Saturday, March 30, 2013

How old is too young -- to tote a gun?

March 30, 2013
Colorado USA

Here it comes, people. We have regulations designating the age when one can attend school, legally drive, drink alcohol or smoke. We have regulations designating the age when one may view a movie, purchase music, video games, and books or magazines deemed (by some other regulation) only suitable for mature audiences. We have regulations designating the age when one is considered old enough to work and pay taxes, engage in sex, vote or marry or serve in the military. In short, we have regulation upon regulation governing what age specifically signifies adult status. And of course, we have regulations that designate the age when one may purchase a firearm and/or ammunition.

But! We do not yet have widespread regulations that designate how old one must be to handle a firearm (although it is a given that many states govern how old one must be to handle a firearm without adult supervision). I predict regulations that dictate when one may school a child in the protective arts specifically by means of a firearm is coming to a state house near you very, very soon.

I reference the kindergarten kid that was suspended from school for putting her kinder-peers in the cross hairs of a Hello Kitty bubble gun. I reference the seven year old who was suspended for chomping a pop tart into the shape of a gun. I reference the third grader whose Mom topped cupcakes with little green army men (yes of course they were armed - duh) that were removed by school officials who claimed the decorations were insensitive (to anti-gun parents). All three headlines poked me in the eye and made me holler WHAT the !!##$**^#%*!! We are talking about toys and pastry and little kids! I wonder why the puffed-up, self-important, whacked-out, zero-tolerance bullies don't pick on somebody their own size? I wonder what would happen if somebody (over three foot tall) made a significant show (maybe post it on Facebook) of biting the head off the donkey and/or elephant in a handful of animal crackers? Would some busybody call PETA or DHS about the perceived threat to animals and/or both political parties? Would SWAT arrive at my door? Good grief!

Josh Moore - age 11Finally, I reference the eleven year old boy (his name is Josh) whose proud Dad posted a pic of his son on Facebook holding his birthday gift, a 22 rifle. This family suffered the invasion of home and privacy by New Jersey law enforcement and CPS acting (make that over-reacting) on a report of child abuse from some (I am guessing anonymous) busybody. As it turns out, the young man has been handling a gun since about the age of five. Oh the outrage! Having read some of the comments (he's too young, his parents should be ashamed or jailed) posted by gun control nazis - oops! I mean advocates - I have to wonder again as I do quite often just how old does a child have to be to understand they will not always be so? Who really gets to decide whether any activity is age appropriate for our children? Because, it appears a host of busy-bodies are signing up for the job. I wonder where does one draw the line between what we (as parents) think is good or safe or proper for our children and where other parents (even non-parents) and the state tells us what is good or safe or proper for our children?

Growing up was not mandated by others when I came of age. It was expected. Some of us got there quicker than others. Never were we given to understand that growing up was an option.

For most boys, handling a gun (usually a rifle) and eventually owning a gun is a right of passage to manhood and usually follows the right to stay out after dark and ride out of sight on a bicycle and precedes getting the keys to the car. My husband says he was about the age of nine when he was first allowed to shoot a gun. He was probably 15 or sixteen when he inherited a 12 gauge shotgun after the death of his step-dad - a treasure he still owns. My Dad was probably of a similar age when he carried a gun to hunt for the family's supper and as protection from coyotes and rattlesnakes and other pesky critters on the farm. He tells a story of my gentle grandmother handing him two shells after school and pointing him in the direction of a gaggle of geese she spied in the field or otherwise indicating they needed two squirrels for supper. Two shells. Two squirrels. Dad was gifted a 410 shotgun on his 14th birthday I believe - a treasure he still owns. My brother received a 410 shotgun as a gift in his early teens (after learning to handle a BB gun). I am not being sexist here, just relating my own experience. Guns for girls is something I whole-heartedly appreciate! In those days (50s and 60s), gender equality was a non-issue, at least in little town America. I was not taught to handle a gun as a child or a teen (I am certain I have my gentle Mom to thank for that - try as she always did to make me into a proper young lady.) nor was my daughter taught to handle a gun (also out of unspoken courtesy to my gentle Mom and Grandmothers). It is odd only in that I witnessed both a great grandmother and a paternal grandmother handle themselves well with a shotgun. Until recently, I never thought to own a firearm of my own, those available to me by right of marriage seemed sufficient. I have rectified that thinking.

Granted, the way we molly-coddle today's youth, keeping them as young as we can for no apparent reason I can fathom - I would hesitate putting a gun in the hands of most youngsters of my acquaintance. I think most of them (in their current state-approved, parental-induced, mostly-stupefied condition) are just barely responsible enough to drive, own a smart phone, or hold down a job. I did not say they are not capable - I say they are not responsible - enough - quite likely through no fault of their own. Most I say, not all. Still, it should go without saying that most but not ALL parents raise their offspring to be perpetual children. While some parents whisper the R-word (responsibility) or the A-word (accountability) like dirty words, other parents actually teach responsibility and accountability as the way to best get by in this world.

I say youngsters are not given the opportunity to prove themselves and they go through life thinking there is no need to prove themselves. Actually, I think we are cheating them out of the opportunity to earn trust - not to mention a liberal amount of self esteem. Ownership of a gun was not granted among the menfolk of my generation unless one proved themselves worthy of the privilege.

I worry nanny state mentality will be the death of self-sufficiency and independent-thinking. In a society where everyone-gets-a-trophy I worry that the last couple of generations have produced young people who cannot be trusted with their own welfare or self preservation or, for that matter, the welfare of others. Are we doing right by our youth to teach them that all guns and other inanimate objects are bad and that people who own them are all bad? Would we not rather teach them respect for firearms as well as a healthy wariness of those they may encounter in life who do not necessarily play by the same rules as polite society? Are we actually somehow conveying the message that they are safe in gun free zones? The idea of that is sadly ludicrous! And how quick we are to blame completely unrelated external forces for tragedy! I have to wonder at the obscure thinking of those who advise our youth to pee their panties, attack with ball-point pens or kick their flip-flops off and run to a safe house (if they can find one) in the face of a real threat. We teach our youth to embrace fear, accept defeat and advise the use of moronic self defense mechanisms. I am not much comforted by that.

It is interesting to note, that the average age soldier serving in wars of this nation's history were between 18-29 in years but you can bet in the early revolutionary wars that earned our country's freedom, the younger brothers and sisters they left behind could load and shoot a gun as well as their pro-liberty fighting siblings. Firearms and those who bore them (young and old alike) have played a significant and vital role in the founding of this country. This is just an interesting bit of New Jersey history circa 1776: One historian found that in nine New Jersey towns nearly 75 percent of boys who were fifteen and sixteen at the onset of hostilities served in the army or the militia. It is just an off-hand observation, but I suspect that a certain amount of skill in the use of a firearm was a prerequisite for-- not a result of-- militia service.

So how old is too young to be responsibly relevant in our world? Is that a parent's call or should it be mandated by the state? Right now we are talking about bubbles and pastry, toys and birthday presents - sooner or later the talk will turn to guns and bullets.

Here's another question - Likewise, how young is too old to be responsibly relevant in our world? Because I have read comments by anti-gun nimrods suggesting that some old folks are too old to own guns. Hmmm...

One final thought - How much fun is a bubble toy of any sort if you cannot pop the bubble off the nose of a friend?

Respectfully yours in unfailing allegiance to the USA,
Dissident Daughter
Because: Silence is the most insideous form of consent.

Kinder Kid suspended - packing Hello Kitty 02/08/20013
Seven year old suspended for pop tart gun 03/03/2013
Army Men Ordered to Stand Down - The Cupcake Wars 03/08/2013
New Jersey Law Enforcement Makes 11th Birthday Something to Remember 03/20/2013
A Common American Soldier

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