Sunday, April 5, 2009

Kids and guns: the other side of the story

Tragedies like the shooting rampage that killed 14 at an immigrant counseling center in Binghamton, N.Y. always lead to questions about gun control. I don't think that's a bad conversation, and I personally am not offended by some of my friends who believe all weapons inherently evil, even if I don't agree. But I wish those folks could meet kids like those shown in this picture (click on picture to enlarge). They're our kids, all from Bakersfield, good kids from good families with good values. And all happened to be reared in families where hunting and the shooting sports were the norm. This is the other side of the Binghamton story that seems rarely told. I had a chance to see all these kids this weekend out at the Kern County Gun Club where 150 shooters from across the nation converged for a skeet shooting competition. Two of those pictured above (Brian Foley and Elizabeth Key, seated above)are Ridgeview High seniors headed to Lindenwood University in St. Charles, Mo., on shooting scholarships. The girls seated on the tailgate are the shooting Shuford sisters, all high achieving kids in their own right. Brooke (seated right) is a BHS senior deciding between theUniversity of San Diego and Cal Poly (she's interested in micro biology), Emily (seated left) will be a senior at BHS and Rachel will be a freshman Driller. For every Binghamton tragedy there are thousands of examples like these high achieving kids who have learned to use and respect firearms.


Glimmer said...

I wish my father was still here to take my son hunting, show him how to use and respect firearms, as you say. Even when we listened to neighbors, who pressured us to ban toy guns, the boy used sticks and spoons as weapons and drew and cut out "alien vacuum blasters." These used a vacuum device to slurp up aliens. We realized we were creating an obsession with this non-heartfelt ban and let him have toy guns after that.

But for relatives of a gun victim, the thoughts are not so benign. The recent shooter couldn't have done so much damage with, say, a knife. Then I think about other places where mayhem has been committed without guns -- Northern Ireland for instance. Glass, gasoline, other common items are easily found to hand-fashion incendiary devices. I am seeing these things from a distance. But both situations seem to have one thing in common -- rage born of profound despair.

Carole C.

Richard Beene said...

Thanks for a most thoughtful post. This stuff is never as simple or clear as either side portrays it, be it the NRA or the gun ban folks. Thanks for adding something substantive to the discussion.