We had a rifle. It was my first husband’s rifle. It took just one bullet at a time since it was really a competition rifle. It wasn’t intended to do anything but hit targets. Paper targets.
It was a very pretty gun, though and my son still has it. He keeps it clean and oiled, but I don’t think it has been loaded in more than 20 year. Maybe more.
We used to take that rifle with us up to Maine where we went camping. We didn’t build the site. It belonged to a friend of my husband’s parents. It was a big, open one room cabin with six beds stacked up on one wall with ladders to get to the upper ones.
There was an old Home Atlantic wood stove that was the absolutely easiest and most effective wood stove I’ve ever used. There was a gas range and gas lamps. No electricity when we were there, though it did arrive later and along with it, came pollution as people emptied their washing machines into the lake. All that grey water ended up killing many of the large mouthed bass and driving away the loons.
But this was before electricity, when everyone lived quietly without loud music and no washing machines. We did have a weather radio that ran on batteries.
One day, it was time to “go hunting.” This meant taking the rifle and a handful of bullets. Nailing a paper plate to a fir-tree, then killing the paper plate. And there we were, killing that plate deader than dead.
A long argument ensued. Should we shoot the pheasant? We could eat it, right? Except no one had any idea how to clean a pheasant. Or even pluck one. And what if we shot it, but it didn’t die? Would someone be willing to shoot it again?
No one was willing to shoot it in the first place, much less twice.
Another long consultation. After which, we all got together and virtually pushed the stupid pheasant into the woods. He didn’t want to go. For some reason — you’d have to ask the pheasant what he was thinking — he wanted to hang out with us. We were, apparently, more interesting than his usual crowd.
When finally we convinced him to go away and please, don’t come back, we packed up the gun, gave up on targets, picked a few more blueberries and had fresh corn and blueberry pancakes for dinner.
No pheasant that night — or any other night. Just not our thing.
And this is why arming teachers to shoot the guys with assault weapons is such an incredibly stupid idea. I bet none of the teachers could shoot the pheasant either.