Deer season ended last week for the Ingrams. My youngest son James and I spend the last daylight hours of Jan. 17, 2013, looking for Mr. Buck on the 88-acres of beautiful Mississippi hardwood that we have hunted for the past two years.
It had snowed that morning, but had warmed up tremendously by the time we hit the woods.
We didn’t see a thing.
We didn’t fire a shot.
We both had a great time.
As I cleaned up my rifle after Thursday’s hunt, I wondered if the day would come when I could no longer share this experience with my boys or their children.
My deer rifle was a birthday gift from my wife from the days before we got married. She carefully quizzed me about what I wanted and even bought the scope, leather strap and gun case it is currently in. It came as a complete surprise. She still knows how to get out of me what she wants and life with her is still full for surprises.
To buy that gun, Sara walked into Gary’s Pawn and Gun, pulled out her driver’s license to prove her age and plunked down the money. She said she remembers signing a few simple forms, and that was it.
That was more than 25 years ago. It was before Columbine, before 9-11 and before Newtown. A lot of things have changed since then.
I’ve got a family of boys now. I have attended firearm safety classes with each of them. I am the one who taught them how to shoot.
I am also the one who has told them countless times that guns can cause you more problems than they can ever solve. There can be no mistakes. They are responsible for their actions with a firearm.
We also call them weapons at my house. We do that because I want to keep it at the top of their mind that what they hold in their hand can and does inflict terrible damage on what it hits.
Hunting and handling weapons is a Southern birthright – No, it is an American birthright. It has been handed down from father to son and even father to daughter since the Pilgrims got off the boat at Plymouth, since the Redcoats were turned back at Concord, since the beaches were stormed at Normandy.
This country was shaped and is to a large part defined by gunpowder. It bothers me that some want to shape and define our future without it.
I heard President Barack Obama say much still needs to be done to enhance gun control in his Inauguration Speech Monday.
I would like to point out that every change he, Vice President Joe Biden and Democrats are touting would have done nothing to stop the school shooting in Newtown.
Rather than create new laws that infringe on my rights to keep and bear arms, I wish our federal politicians would spend money to strike at the root of gun violence.
Jobs programs might give a young man a paycheck and keep him from picking up a pistol and knocking off a liquor store.
Adequately funding education might give hope to those who feel their only option lies at the end of a gun barrel.
Providing better mental health facilities and treatment to those demented youth who picked up a gun at Columbine and Newtown might have kept them from happening.
Giving churches and those with the Christian ethic of loving one another more freedom to practice their beliefs wouldn’t hurt either.
Weapons also project power. They protect my home and my property. I also think they protect my rights as an American citizen.
I would like to point we will never do away with violence in this world. Taking weapons out of the hands of law-abiding American citizens will leave the good people in our society defenseless.