A few days ago there was another mass shooting in Texas. Just weeks after the mass shooting in Nevada, which was a few weeks after the mass shooting in … I don’t know. I don’t remember. Pick a state. Odds are, one happened there.

Given the state of the state, this seemed pretty relevant. I can look through the posts on Serendipity over the months and years … and instead of becoming dated — because we fixed this or that — or at least moved on to a different issue, we are months and years later dealing with exactly the same stuff. Our “leaders” — such as they are — are spouting the same slogans and platitudes. So … on the subject of guns …

From March 2016 …

I’ve been thinking about why this country is so gun crazy. The craziest of the crazies keep saying: “The only thing that can stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.” This is, of course, ridiculous. Now the right-wing is saying that in the case of the recent Texas shooting, apparently a good guy with a gun did chase the bad guy with a gun. The only thing they left out is he chased the guy AFTER HE KILLED 26 PEOPLE AND WOUNDED A LOT MORE!

Then it hit me. It’s our fault so many people believe this kind of thing. By “our fault,” I mean the fault of those of us who grew up in the 40’s, 50’s and 60’s. Our heroes were cowboys. We grew up watching Westerns in which everybody, men and women alike, had guns strapped to their waists. (Dale Evans was a hell of shot. So was Annie Oakley.)


Everybody had a gun. Good guys. Bad guys. Grandma. But, the world was a lot safer in those westerns than it is now — and not because everyone had a gun. Or two. Or three.

First. The bad guys rarely — if ever — actually hit anybody at whom they shot.

Second. The good guys merely shot the guns out of the bad guys hands. They weren’t trying to kill them.

Third. Grandma just shot people in the ass. Usually with a shotgun filled with rock salt.

Okay, sometimes the good guy would need to be little more extreme, so he’d shoot the bad guy in the shoulder (or “wing em” as we used to say). But it was always just a flesh wound.

BAD GUY:OW! You shot me in the shoulder!”

GOOD GUY: “Oh stop whining. It’s just a flesh wound.”

BAD BUY: “Well if you shot me between the eyes wouldn’t that technically be a “flesh wound” too?”

GOOD GUY: “Hmm. Never thought of it that way. You know, you’re rather astute for a bad guy.”

BAD GUY: “Thank you.”

Another thing. When the bad guy used up his bullets shooting at the good guy, he’d throw the gun at him! I never understood this. Seriously. You just fired a few dozen bullets, each traveling at about 1000 feet per second, at a guy a couple of hundred feet away. You missed every shot.

What exactly do you hope to accomplish by throwing the gun at him? Bonk him on the head?

GOOD GUY:OW! What the hell?! Did you just throw your gun at me!?”

BAD GUY: “Uh, yeah.”

GOOD GUY: “Well that really hurt! Look! I’ve already got a lump! What’s wrong with you?? Why would you do that?”

BAD GUY: “I ran out of bullets.”

GOOD GUY: “And whose fault is that?! If you’re going to a gun fight, come more prepared.”

BAD GUY: “Yeah, I guess you’re right.”

At this point, seeing that the bad guy doesn’t have a gun with to shoot anymore … and all the good guy was intending to do was shoot the gun out of his hand, both go home feeling oddly unfulfilled.

I don’t own a gun, but I took a gun safety course. I’ve done some target shooting. So I know guns are REUSABLE! That’s right! All you gotta do is find more bullets for Pete’s sake — and that gun’s back on the job.

FYI, don’t call them bullets. They’re cartridges. The bullet is the lead part you actually fire from the gun. (See? I told you. I took a course.)

One more thing we tend to forget about Westerns. If you went into a town that had a Sheriff, you had to leave your guns at the sheriff’s office. When you left town, you got your guns back. The Sheriff understood the only reason anyone came to town was to go to the saloon. Which, let’s face it, was a brothel with a liquor license. Letting a bunch of horny, drunken cowboys hang out in a confined space with booze, hookers, and guns is not a great idea.

Even if you were in a town where they let you keep your guns, there were rules.

  1. If two bad guys got in a fight, they at least gave everybody a few seconds to move their chairs out of the way, or jump behind the bar.
  2. If a good guy and a bad guy got into a disagreement, they would usually schedule the gunfight for the next day in the middle of town. That way, no one else got shot.
  3. They set it up for high noon.

Why high noon? Probably because it was the lunch hour. Everybody in town could come out to watch. It also made it easier for the combatants. It wasn’t always easy to get time off for a gunfight.

BAD GUY: “Hey boss? Can I get off early today? I have a gunfight at 2 o’clock.”

BAD GUY’S BOSS: “Okay, but I’ll have to dock your pay.”

BAD GUY: (Sighing) “Never mind. I’ll reschedule it for lunchtime.”

Besides, “Gunfight at Two-ish” doesn’t have the gravitas of “High Noon.” So yeah, everybody had guns in old Westerns, but they were more mature about using them. You could argue things were simpler back then. “Things were more black and white,” you say.

To this I reply: “So what? Westerns weren’t more black and white. They were completely black and white.” They didn’t go to color until the mid-sixties.

These days, everything contains infinitely more shades of gray. With a whole lot of color thrown in.


  1. I remember when we played cowboys I always wanted to be the one who died. It was so much fun seeing how much we could say before we died-“tell my moth……….” And too, there was no blood after someone got shot. And spurs!! Yea, I was a tomboy. As an adult a guy gave me a gun for protection and showed me how to shoot it. But I never want to shoot anyone. I pawned it.


    • Garry and I talked about guns. Then we didn’t get one. First of all, they are EXPENSIVE. I don’t know how all those criminals afford them, but a decent quality hand gun is a big chunk of change and we had other things we thought we should spend money on — like a nice vacation. And also, as a reporter, Garry had seen way too many shootings that happened simply because people got pissed off and there was a gun in the house. No gun? No one would have died. So we talked but we’ve never owned a weapon, unless you count the Red Ryder bee-bee gun I had.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m wondering if the press can’t do something constructive about the situation? What if we called these guys “Wing-nuts” or “nut-bars” . Some people are looking for notoriety of being “the greatest mass murderer” who took out the greatest number of people. Nobody wants to be remembered as a “nut-bar”. Take some of the polish off this despicable undertaking.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hey Tommy, I gotta admit that I usually stash your posts away to read at a later time. They are, and this one is no exception, hilarious. All the thoughts I’ve ever had regarding the art of gunslinging, you put into better words than any I’ve ever heard.., not to mention the mini action scripts. I think you missed your calling. You shoulda been a screenwriter or at least for sitcoms. Thanks for the laughs dude.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. For whatever reason, my husband has taken to watching retro TV, and I’m shocked by how violent those old shows are. If it’s not gunfights, it’s fist fights (with all those sound effects!). I don’t remember thinking they were violent when I watched the originals way back when.


  5. What’s that saying about history and repeating itself? America appears to be too stupid to grasp the simple rules we used to live by…like don’t be mean, be polite (but not the excuse for polite that exists now where one just looks wimpy because they’re trying to satisfy everyone), don’t shoot people for no discernible reason other than you “can”, use some common sense when handing out things that go ‘bang’ and that actually could kill the person you’re perhaps aiming at, don’t design video games and computer games that young children play, thereby getting calloused to the whole idea of shooting someone, and making the reality unreal until they try to do it for REAL and find out people can really die when they’re shot and not be regenerated in the next level. I don’t have any guns, it wouldn’t be safe for me to. I don’t want a gun for the same reason. And now with this great post, you’ve given me more reasons to fall more on the against guns side than the ‘for’. And those old sheriffs had it going on. You knew who was bad and who was good simply by their hat color (most of the time).

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Thanks for making me laugh. I was feeling a bit depressed about this subject because yesterday talking with friends about the Texas shooting a couple of them agreed that if more people in that church had guns there would have been fewer deaths( I so wanted to say that I thought with a dozen or more people shooting there would be fatalities from friendly fire but I could tell I’d be wasting my breath.) They then went on to say that US gun culture had gone so far that taking the guns away from people would make things worse. One of these people is a devout Christian which I am not but I think guns in church is just plain wrong. Needless to say I didn’t mention politics after that.

    Liked by 2 people

    • It’s depressing, I know. I don’t understand why we are so enthralled by guns. Someone on Facebook last night said we should have laws for guns — and send “thoughts and prayers” to the poor souls whose guns we take away. That sounded pretty much ideal to me! Screw the thoughts and prayers. Those people WERE praying while they were murdered. With guns. If I believed in that God, I’d say he was sending a message!

      Liked by 3 people

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