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The NRA Doesn't Want Me
Courtesy of the (now sleeping) Goat Wall Street Journal

When you live in a rural area, learning about firearms seems a good idea.  From time to time a situation arises (rarely involving other people) where a gun could be useful.  Just the fact that there are so many of them around makes some familiarity desirable.

Bob was a firearms safety instructor so he felt competent to teach me.  We started with a rifle.  He showed me how to load it, sight it and shoot.  We terrorized several pop cans and utterly destroyed some innocent foliage nearby.  The combination of the recoil and the noise made this my number three weapon of choice behind the BB pistol and the Ruger pistol, which was the next firearm Bob taught me to shoot.

We have a small pond next to the house.  It’s large enough for a small canoe, raising some good size trout and a few ducks. 

Keeping domestic animals alive in a rural area is a constant battle.  This particular year we had a small flock of ducks which had successfully hatched a few young.  But the ducklings were disappearing one or two at a time, every few nights.

I can and have slept through rock concerts but the smallest animal sound awakens me instantly. 

Ducks will frolic at night but this time there was a note of panic to the quacking and splashing.  Bob’s breathing never broke rhythm as I grabbed the pistol and flashlight and went out on the deck.

There in the water was what looked like a bowling ball making a wake on the surface of the pond, moving towards the ducks. 

I loaded the pistol and cocked it thinking I would give a warning shot and scare the critter away.  Then I realized that our dogs and cats, enjoying the nocturnal excitement, were racing about in the brush surrounding the pond.

Not knowing which direction was safe to shoot, I prudently decided not to, only “…load, cock, squeeze. . . load, cock, squeeze. . .” no instructions to load, cock, un-cock came to mind.  I had forgotten how to un-cock the gun.

With feelings of panic, dread and embarrassment quickly building in my mind I reviewed what I did recall.  “Point-it-away-from-my-feet-don’t-point-it-at-the-picture-window-don’t-wake-Bob-don’t-shoot-the-dog-there-must-be-an-off-switch-here-someplace. . .”  BLAM.  The sound reverberated against the mountain then died to an exquisite silence.

I imagined Bob levitating above the bed then heard the thump, thump, thump as he descended the stairs. 

The animals and I were standing wide-eyed and silent on the deck when he came out.  “There was something after the ducks and I didn’t want to disturb you,” I explained.

“So which way was the gun pointing when it went off?” he asked.

We both looked at the pistol which was pointing at the canoe. 

The canoe no longer floats but that is another story, and I didn’t do it.

We lost the rest of our ducks to the critter, whatever it was, who learned an important lesson that night; there’s nothing to worry about at this duck restaurant.

Bob too must have learned an important lesson.  I haven’t seen the pistol since that night.

posted 10/3/2011