Gun laws and gun violence are in the news a lot today. When my big brother, Wally, was about 12 or 13, he tired of blowing up the neighbor’s mailboxes with bundled and powerful fireworks, which were then legal and available. So he built a gun on our father’s work bench. We called them zip guns back then. It was a prototype made from odd parts and pipes around the garage, designed to fit some bullets Wally had found somewhere. It had a major flaw.
The cocking spring was too rigid, and one time my brother pulled it back with his hand…
The cocking spring was too rigid, and one time my brother pulled it back with his hand over the barrel and the hammer slipped and he shot himself through the hand. Well, that was interesting. Somehow he missed the tendons and bones and I watched him cringe and scream when the doctor ran a swab through his palm and out the back of his hand. He never fooled around with guns after that. And except for our stints in the Marine Corps, we never owned or handled guns.
I used to have a recurring dream where I got shot through the heart.
I used to have a recurring dream where I got shot through the heart. There were these two thugs and one would pull out a gun and shoot me right through the heart. And I felt it before I woke up. It kept happening over and over until one time I was walking up the steps to some place and one guy was leaning on the door jamb cleaning his fingernails with his stiletto, and the other one had the gun out. I saw my opportunity. I could leap off the porch and dive over the fence to the driveway, tuck and roll and get up and run, and I did. Only trouble was that it was a dream, and as things sometimes happen in dreams, everything slowed down to ultra slow-motion. I was in mid flight headed over the fence and I said to myself, “Oh, what’s the use? I know this is a dream and I never get away. They always catch me and shoot me through the heart. So I reversed motion and landed back on the porch. I looked at the thug and laughed, and said, “Go ahead. Shoot me.” He shot me through the heart. It hurt. I woke up and never had the dream again.
You may think the world has gone completely crazy, but I want to tell you there are higher principles…
Since then I’ve been fearless of guns. So I’ve never had to arm myself for protection. I’ve taken anger and aggression away from angry men and melted them with a hand on the shoulder. I once stopped a motel robbery with a smile and a gentle demeanor, just by standing between the would-be robber and the motel owner and saying, gently, “you don’t really want to do this? Do you?” The man cried and I comforted him.
You may think the world has gone completely crazy, but I want to tell you there are higher principles that are timeless and sure that many of us have forgotten. Why not go for a search and see if you can unearth some of them? My favorite place to search is the Bible. What’s yours?
Proverbs 15: 1-4 (NIV) A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. The tongue of the wise adorns knowledge, but the mouth of the fool gushes folly. The eyes of the Lord are everywhere, keeping watch on the wicked and the good. The soothing tongue is a tree of life, but a perverse tongue crushes the spirit.
– Larry Berger, HashtagWV #132. June 2021. Find more of Larry’s stories and poems at sinksgrovepress.wordpress.com.