Write...or Die Trying

I used to work in a factory. Now I work in an office. Either way, my writing was dying. So now I must: Write...or Die Trying.


Thoughts About a Gun

Grandpa had a Model 1903 M-1 Springfield 30-06 (that's thirty ott six, for those not into guns) that I inherited. I haven't ever shot it, even though I get it out of the closet occasionally and think about doing so. To tell you the truth I'm a little afraid of that gun.

I haven't gone deer hunting for a good many years; not for any reason in particular, I just haven't made the time. We have quite a few deer on the property and the overall population in Missouri is dangerously high. I decided I'll go hunting this year, but I haven't decided whether to use the Winchester .270, which is an excellent gun--and one I have shot, or this 30-06.

The M-1 Springfield is a very important gun. Although some would argue that WWI was a pointless war, I disagree. Such a discussion is well beyond the scope of this essay, but suffice it to say that we wouldn't have had WWII without WWI--and I'm not being sarcastic, either. America and Britain showed the world such strength in their alliance that it has prevailed upon our common enemies till this day. If the victors of WWI hadn't treated Germany so harshly (just like Northern carpetbaggers ravaged a destroyed American South), however, Hitler and his fascists would have held no sway with common Germans.

One thing WWI gave us, besides a festering wound we would have to amputate later, was the Springfield M-1 rifle. It's exceptionally heavy. Just carrying the thing around makes me wonder how tiring it must have been to have had to become one with it in a hot, revolting trench somewhere in France, wading through a knee-deep slurry of clay, mud, and dead bodies. The rifle's weight and full-length walnut stock make it a superbly accurate weapon. This particular gun has Vernier sights, which increase the accurate range of the weapon to 1,000 yards. That's 3/4 of a mile. My grandfather won a marksmanship award with this gun in the 1,000 yard range. I have trouble hitting things accurately at 100 yards. I'm anxious to see if I'm any better with open sights with such a stable gun. For those not familiar with shooting guns, a heavier weapon often means a more accurate weapon because the weight prevents a lot of minute "wandering" caused by the shooters breathing or weak control of your entire body.

My kids saw me looking at this gun just a few minutes ago. My oldest remarked: "that looks like a very lethal weapon." He's absolutely correct. I never got the straight story from my grandpa, but I believe this gun has taken the life of Japanese soldiers.

My kids are used to guns and they know what they're for. I've always found it interesting that people who don't know much about guns mistakenly assume that the mere presence of guns in the house is an encouragement to kill. My kids don't feel that way at all. They have a proper respect for guns and having this Springfield around has given us opportunities to talk about why such devices are necessary. They get to feel the weight of the rifle and think about how hard it was to be soldier carrying one. They get to touch the dark, worn stock and think about all the sweat of other soldiers that has polished the wood. When they get older, they'll think, like I do, about the mud and blood that, although not obvious, must be part of the stock's patina.

My grandfather never told me much about his service in the Philippines. He was a military policeman, and I don't think he was proud of the fact that he had had to kill people. But he did it. He did it for his country. They asked him because we had been attacked for being a country of courage, morality, and principles, even if some of our individual countrymen weren't. Collectively, we believed in something that had to be defended. I am saddened that so many want to create an environment for our country like they did in the '60s and '70s. I guess they just didn't get enough of that hedonistic and nihilistic lifestyle.


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