With all of the horrible news lately about shootings and carnage, I, like every other American Mom, have been thinking about gun control. I am not a political analyst or confrontational columnist, and so I haven’t written about my opinions about “conceal and carry,” the NRA, or anything else in the arena of mass shootings and mayhem. 

However, my husband and I were sitting by the fire a few mornings ago, as he sat with his laptop checking emails, and I read the New York Times. 

I put the paper down and sighed, then rubbed my eyes. “There has been another shooting! When will this ever stop? I just don’t understand why the government isn’t doing something about gun control!” 

He looked up, paused, and then said, “Did I ever tell you about the gun club I belonged to when I was in grade school?” 

“WHAT?” This is my mild mannered, self-effacing spouse. The bald one. With glasses. Who resembles Woody Allen more than John Wayne. 

“Oh, yeah. It was for boys. On Sunday afternoons, we went to the shooting range and learned how to shoot rifles and stuff. Our mothers had a car pool, and one mother dropped us off, and another mother picked us up. It was fun.”

 “Wait. YOUR mother (a famously non-violent personage) helped deliver you to a shooting range?” I was going into shock. 

“Well, she didn’t exactly approve of it, but since all the boys in the neighborhood went, she let me go. But whenever I got in trouble, she grounded me from gun club. Come to think of it, I missed a lot of meetings.” 

“What on earth was the purpose of the club? What did you shoot at? Pop cans?” 

“Oh no. Big cardboard targets shaped like people. You were supposed to try to hit real close to the heart. You got points for that.” 

This was beginning to seem like a bad dream. “You got points? What for?” 

He smiled at the memory. “Well, the more points you got, you moved up a level.” 

My heart was pounding. “You moved UP a level? What was after the “shooting the target in the heart” level—robbing somebody at gun point? How many points did you get for that? Was the next level murder?” 

He smiled, but I could see that he was regretting bringing this up. “Don’t be silly. Actually, I think you got some sort of badge. And the boys at the top levels got trophies or something. But I got grounded so much, I never went up to level two.” 

So thanks to my dear, departed Mother-in-law, my husband remained a law abiding citizen, who shot the “target shaped like a person” mostly in the groin. 

Apparently, those other boys—the ones who worked their way up to the top level? They are either cops or serving life sentences.


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