I’m sure that my mother, bless her heart, probably tried (in vain) to dissuade me from loving weapons.
I spent an inordinate amount of time listening to Free to Be, You and Me and while I don’t recall there being any particularly anti-weapon propaganda, there was lots of do-gooder, sharing, we’re all equal stuff in there. I think that perhaps my mother hoped it would shape me – and it did, hugely. I adored that album, BTW – I think that perhaps my first un-requited, entirely one-way love was Atalanta… I particularly adored the sound her determined and non-existent little feet made scrunching across virtual gravel in some sound-stage. And my wife and I still sing “some kinds of help, are the kinds of help, we all could do without” at least a few times a week.
But amongst the many records which I listened to (constantly), there was also the Three Musketeers, Peter and The Wolf, Treasure Island, Robin Hood, and the one about the crossbow and the apple… Weapons galore.
Was my rather liberally minded mother mounting an early “hearts and minds” campaign to dissuade me from a path of tool-assisted violence? I don’t know. I believe it was Von Clauswitz who said that all wars are political, however in our house, they were economic. We were poor, and one of the rules that governed my life was that I could only possess toy guns which I purchased with my own, meager funds. So, not so many toy guns. As for real guns, those were utterly forbidden. Major gun control on the real stuff.
Being a somewhat intrepid and occasionally inspired youth, with only 3 fuzzy channels of TV to watch and a general “PBS only” mandate handed down from the powers that be, I was afforded a great deal of time of my own. My first real recollection of my joy of weapons and Too Much Free Time produced the great Tinker Toy crossbow. Mark’s I through IV marked a period of rapid innovation and catastrophe. As I added dozens and dozens of rubber bands to radically increase the range, stopping power and accuracy of my crossbow, it would literally fire itself to pieces. Too much kinetic energy, not enough “stuff”.
My ultimate crossbow solution involved the use of hammer to pound the whole thing together, and on the first successful test fire I put a red + plastic orange piston connecter + plastic red point through one side of a lamp shade, a lightbulb, the other side of the same lampshade, and then into a large double-paned picture window. The window then had a nickel-sized crater and a 3 foot crack for the next decade, and my tinker toys “went away” forever, presumably to the Island of WMD on the South Pole (little known fact that Santa’s crazed half brother hoards WMD’s on the South Pole – this is where Saddam sent his before we arrived).
The first open battle around “gun control” ended with me with no Tinker Toys. Major net loss in my Violence Producing Potential. Me = 0, gun grabbers (my parents) = 1.
To Be Continued…