Pulling the Trigger

Pulling the Trigger

Intro: Usually, I avoid controversy. Not always.

blackgunMy father was a hunter.  Grouse, mostly.  Once he shot a deer and I cried to see it. He kept his rifles in a closet ready for hunting season: A .22, a shotgun, a 30-30, and a 30 ought something. He kept the bullets hidden safely somewhere else.

Once my younger brother, twelve or so, decided to show off the guns to a buddy.  He pulled a trigger and shot a hole through the television, the drapes, and into the wall.  Somehow or other, one bullet had been left in the rifle. My parents were stricken by the thought of what might have happened that day.

This is not written as a lecture about the evils of hunting.  It’s a much simpler thought.  Guns are dangerous. We never expect things to go wrong.  Sometimes they do.

That same summer, in the army camp where we lived, another twelve-year-old boy and his sister, fourteen, were alone at home. They were arguing in their front yard loud enough for all the neighbors to hear. Several were watching through their living room windows, annoyed by the commotion created by the squabbling kids.

Again and again she taunted him with all the reckless passion and contempt a teenager can heap upon a younger brother:

“You’re a gutless chicken! Chicken! Chicken!”

And again and again, the boy fiercely denied it.

Finally, shaking with frustration, he ran into his house and came back with his parents’ revolver.  In the front yard, before anyone overhearing the argument could react, he shouted “I’ll show you who’s a chicken!”

In the next instant, he pointed the revolver towards his own head and pulled the trigger.  And quicker than thought, the promise of a young boy’s life was forever gone.

In Arizona a Congresswoman is fighting for her life.  Others are in serious condition.  Several are dead, including a federal judge and a nine year old child. It seems this is all because a young man who apparently is mentally unstable was able to buy a gun.

What are we thinking?!


Copyright by Margaret French

7 thoughts on “Pulling the Trigger

  1. Personally I think our gun laws are much too liberal. For a start, we should not be allowed to bring guns to a town hall meeting or a presidential debate, and we should attempt to keep guns out of the hands of madmen and criminals. Powerful groups like the NRA disagree. Feeling helpless, we let them stifle the conversation.

  2. Our founders could never imagine the advances in gun technologies. They gave us the right to bear arms and I think it should be limited to muskets and blunderbuss’.

  3. The first step is to reinstate the ban on assault weapons, which would have kept the shooter from being able to buy the high-capacity magazine that he used. Without it, he might have had many fewer victims.

  4. what if everyone brings a gun for protection and they all pull them out to defend themselves? how do the police know who the “real” shooter is?

  5. Both blogs such interesting commentary. There are no easy answers. An old bumper sticker I saw said ” Outlaw Guns and only Outlaws will have guns” how true with all the illegal things who has the most? outlaws, how do they get them? Black market, we cant just make them go away.

    We can limit those high power magazines, yes. Had he not found access to a gun his intent would be the same as mad men of other eras at what ever cost. Would he have driven a truck into the crowd, a knife, a bus? Playing the what if game gains no answers only more questions.

    Helping the mentally ill is the most powerful weapon in this instance, remove the stigma of mental illness and be sure all have adequate access to the medical establishment for care.

    Profound sympathy for all suffering in the wake of recent tragic events!

  6. I can only say thank you for this real story you share with us all.

    Guns are dangerous.

    Cars are dangerous too but your need to study and pass a test in order to get behind the wheel. It takes very little to purchase a gun and pull a trigger.

    Thanks again Margaret,


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