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Old September 22, 2012, 02:32 PM   #1
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Moment of Sadness Today

So, I'm out in my backyard working on one of my Garands. Yes, of course, it is unloaded, double safety checked, on safe, perfectly safe, etc.

We have no fence in our backyard and two of the neighborhood boys are peeking at what I'm doing, they were apparently standing there for a while and I did not see them. One is around ten, the other eight.

Finally I did and I said, "Hey guys! How you doing."

They said, "Is that a real gun?"

I say, "It sure is."

Of course, boys being boys, they come over and are absolutely fascinated by it. All kinds of questions. I tell them all about WWII and about the Garand and so forth.

Then, the question I was dreading came, "Can we hold it?"

Now, back when I was growing up, in the sixties, if I had found my neighbor working on a rifle in his backyard, of course I would have asked the same thing and he would have let me hold it, probably even showed me how to hold it correctly and fire it, etc. etc.

But, of course, this being the age of the nanny state and overprotective/helicopter parents I sadly had to say, "Guys, I'd love to let you hold it, but you need to ask your mom and dad first. I'm not sure if they would want you to hold a real gun."

One little boy just looked at the ground and said, sadly, "I don't think my mom would."

Now, in their defense:

(1) Safety first -- yes, good idea not to encourage kids to hold guns of neighbors no matter how sure everyone is, it is not loaded.

(2) I'm not their mom or dad and I can't make decisions for their parents.

(3) I know I, and they, did the right thing.

But....left me feeling rather sad and hollow, at the thought that these guys may never get that close to a real piece of history like this again and may well never have a chance to learn proper gun safety and handling.

Just kind of a bummer!!!
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Old September 22, 2012, 02:46 PM   #2
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That is sad, but like you said it is also an indication of just how much attitudes have changed.

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Old September 22, 2012, 03:07 PM   #3
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I agree it is a very different world today than growing up in the sixties. I also know that in 1966 at 10 years old, if I had come home and told my mother the neighbor had let me hold his rifle without her knowledge and permission there would have been unhappy consequences for me, and him. She may not have had a problem if she knew and trusted that person, but I'm guessing had she or my father not been there they would not have approved. Truth is if one of my grandkids came home with the same story today I would not approve.

With all that said, I also feel bad for the kids out there who may never get a chance to know the joy of doing things that we take for granted. Learning to safely and properly handle firearms was a right of passage for many of us. My grandkids have never seen or handled any of my guns because my daughter and her husband do not approve of them. When they get a little older and able to make their own choices I will teach them to use them. Until then I will continue to respect their right to raise their kids as they see best. It makes me sad and feeling a little hollow also...
"Any fool can criticize, condemn and complain and most fools do." Benjamin Franklin
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Old September 22, 2012, 04:14 PM   #4
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Anyone else wished that we could live permanently in 1956? Sure, that was way before I was born, but I miss those days My father has similar stories about being young in the late '50's and early 60's and how everyone in small town Idaho where he grew up hunted and fished. How things have changed.
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Old September 22, 2012, 05:20 PM   #5
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When I was a kid we'd visit a neighbor down the road who collected guns and had a good number of them. He'd always find some ammo and let us fire them a few times. Too bad something like that would be unthinkable today due to political correctness and fear of legal action. My, how times have changed, and not for the better IMO.
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Old September 22, 2012, 05:20 PM   #6
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I grew up with guns in the house, and was trusted with them at a pretty young age after I proved I understood the responsibility that went with them.

But I seriously doubt that my parents would have approved of me handling a stranger's gun without one of them being present, at least until I was in my teens.
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Old September 22, 2012, 05:26 PM   #7
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Without question, the right thing was done here by all concerned. But you're exactly's just sad.
Seen on a bumper sticker: "Exercise. Eat right. Take vitamins. Die anyway."
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Old September 22, 2012, 05:54 PM   #8
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Should mention, I'm no stranger to the kids or their parents, we have a great neighborhood. It is just sad that it would be a "BIG DEAL" if I had let them handle it.

Then again, doubt I'd be thrilled if my kid came home and said, "Hey, Dad, Mr. Webster let me play with his WWII rifle."

My head understands.
My heart is having trouble catching up.

Oh, well.
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Old September 22, 2012, 06:09 PM   #9
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Check out your local gun club and get involved in the firearms safety program. I just helped out a nearby community with their class two days ago and it's such a rewarding feeling to work with young eager to learn children.
And just by the way you handled this situation could do great good in your neiborhood.
I predict in the very near future those parents will be in contact with you to learn about guns because of the good judgment you used.
For the message of the Cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, But to us who are being saved, It Is The Power Of God. 1Corinthians 1-18
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Old September 22, 2012, 11:50 PM   #10
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I understand your disappointment, but good on you for the right call. It is always encouraging to come to these forums and find a plethora of intelligent, reasonable, ethical, and safety minded individuals. I would venture to guess the popular stereotype of "gun enthusiasts" does not include those adjectives...but we know better here.
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Old September 23, 2012, 07:41 AM   #11
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I've had a similar situation happen to me a few month ago this summer and it just breaks your spirit.... poor kid, but however some parents don't even let their kids say "gun" let alone touch and look at one. I instill gun safety with my 4 year son to make sure he doesn't miss out though. Its the helicopter parents, not the kids.
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Old September 23, 2012, 07:49 AM   #12
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Dad told stories of when he was young, walking to school with his shotgun so he could hunt on the way home. Shotgun would be inspected by teacher to make sure is wasn't loaded and stored in the cloak room until the end of the day.
Was no big deal.

Sadly, as things are today....Kudo's to you for the very wise way you handled the situation.

Maybe at some point and time you can bring this up to the kids parents and get permission to show them.
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Old September 23, 2012, 08:21 AM   #13
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I think you made the right decision. the last thing you want is for the kids' parents to come over and yell at you for allowing them to hold your gun. safety and common sense were your friends in this situation.
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Old September 23, 2012, 08:50 AM   #14
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Yup, I know.

Funny how I realized I was doing the right thing, but when they left I said to myself, "Darn it!"
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Old September 23, 2012, 10:42 AM   #15
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Amsdorf - you did the right thing. You would catch no end of h*ll had a parent learned of it and didn't consent. If they are in the Boy Scouts, perhaps they can learn firearms safety and marksmanship through that organization.
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Old September 23, 2012, 11:18 AM   #16
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Well done, you did the right thing.

The funny thing is... that I suspect that it would have been the right thing to have done in most of the USA back in the early 60's when I was a kid too. Parents vary in their views on firearms, and always have. Example: My mother grew up on a dairy farm in the deepest part of Pennsylvania, where guns were just farm tools, yet she was (and is) as anti-gun as any Brady Bunch member. If a neighbor had let me handle a rifle without her permission even back in 1963, there would have been hell to pay.

Oh well...


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Old September 23, 2012, 11:32 AM   #17
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I agree it is a very different world today than growing up in the sixties
Fast forward another 50 or 60 years. How many fewer people proportionately speaking, will be familiar with firearms?

As the population grows, and as viable shooting areas decrease, it bodes ill for the future of shooting and the shooting sports.
"I say, boy, I say, you're doing a lot of choppin', but no chips are flyin'."
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Old September 23, 2012, 12:08 PM   #18
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take the next step

If you know the parents maybe you could approach them and offer some free shooting lessons -excuse me, gun safety first lessons and then offer to take them shooting. We have to do all we can to educate the young on responsible gun ownership. Join the boy scouts as a volunteer It' a lot of fun too!
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Old September 23, 2012, 12:55 PM   #19
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It's a New World. (but not very brave)
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Old September 23, 2012, 01:40 PM   #20
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Exactly the right thing to do now that we live in a PC society.
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Old September 23, 2012, 02:57 PM   #21
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Yeah, what cnimrod said. If you see the parents say, "hey, I was cleaning my Garand and your boys were interested in holding it. Would that be okay next time?
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Old September 23, 2012, 03:11 PM   #22
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There's the problem, we run and hide and are afraid to let a kid hold a gun. Legal action? When my kids were young every one of their friends got to handle guns at my house. Some got to go shooting and hunting with us.
It might be time to grow a set and not go hide in the bedroom.
'You wanna hold this gun, we'll call you Father right now.'
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Old September 23, 2012, 04:01 PM   #23
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You could have invited them to go shooting with you some time, with their parents permission. You did the right thing at the moment but all is not lost. I'm sure you prolly have a 22 rifle also so next time you see the boys, give em the invite and perhaps you can get them out to have some fun. Maybe the dad will go too.
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Old September 23, 2012, 04:17 PM   #24
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You folks really must live in a different world from mine. Oh, I live in a suburb of Washington, DC, and nobody goes out their backdoor and hunts (which is why there are so many deer around). My son really doesn't care anything about guns but he served in Iraq as a tank crewman. And now my brand new son-in-law is on orders to go to Afganistan. Oddly enough, one of those in the family who's never been in the service is actually in Afganistan this very minute.

So when the time comes, the army will teach anyone everything worth knowing about guns and shooting. Just be patient. They don't teach fishing, though.
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Old September 23, 2012, 04:22 PM   #25
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It's not just a matter of firearms. The British actor Tom Baker-the 4th Dr. Who-said that after he took that role he was the only person who could buy a child ice cream and not get arrested. Unfortunately some people have ruined things for the rest of us.
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