Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Guns and Me: A Memoir

Gun fighter Nicky, age @ 5

When I was a child, I always had toy guns with which to play. I never owned or touched a real gun until I was in college.  As a kid I didn't even have a BB gun; my father, a WWII veteran, was opposed to guns.

That last statement isn't entirely true. When I was a bout 3 years old I found my then retired grandfather Nick's police revolver in a bureau drawer at our house. According to the story (I can't remember the event) I opened the bathroom door where my mother was sitting on the commode and, pointing the (loaded) pistol at her, asked, "Who bringed my dis gun?" My mother got the gun away from me and my father immediately got it out of the house.

With my mother and father at UK

At the University of Kentucky, I was an R.O.T.C. cadet. It was then that I purchased and fired my first firearms (both .22 cal.) on the cadet firing range. My idea was, if I was going to be an army officer and if I was going to end up in Viet Nam, I had best be an able marksman.

Savage .22 carbine

Erma Luger, .22 cal.

After graduation and commissioning as a Second Lieutenant in Armor Branch (tanks) of the United States Army, I qualified as Expert Marksman with the .45 cal. pistol while stationed at Fort Knox, Kentucky.

Expert Marksman Badge (pistol), United States Army

M1911 Colt .45 cal automatic 

I also learned to fire a much larger gun!

M60A1 tank, 52 tons. 105 mm main gun

As an army officer, I taught marksmanship courses for:

M14 rifle

M16A1 Rifle

.45 cal "grease gun" semi-automatic - "the tankers' friend"

After leaving military active duty, I kept the carbine and Luger  but never fired either again. I added one more pistol to the collect when, after the death of my Uncle Frank, as we were moving his bedroom dresser, an automatic pistol fell out of a drawer.

Colt .25 cal. automatic pistol

When I saw the little Colt, I remembered the story of how it came into my uncle's possession. Late one night during Prohibition the owner of the company for which my uncle worked (and later retired as vice-president) telephoned him and asked him to go to a police station. The owner's son had been arrested in a raid on a speak easy and my uncle was asked to bail him out. When my uncle arrived, he was able to speak with the young man before he had been processed. The kid reached into his coat pocket and slid something into my uncle's coat pocket. It was the Colt, for which the young man had no license to carry. My uncle put it in his dresser drawer and it stayed their for almost 60 years.

I kept all of those guns until, during my first pastorate, I decided that, since I would/could never shoot any one, I had no reason to keep them. So I disposed of all of them. 

Today I lobby for gun control. 

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  1. Excellent post, Rev Saint. Thank you for you memories.

  2. When I was in Wal-Mart two weeks ago I saw a product so horrifyingly bad that I took a picture of it and put it on my blog. In the hunting department- the HUNTING department- they were selling cases of beer in safety-orange cans. I guess if you're going to drink beer and shoot your guns, it's important to do it *safely*. We live in a culture where this is considered okay!

  3. I like this post, St Nick. Love the stories, photos of you, and even the photos of the guns. I am copying and sharing the picture of the gun with a finger stuck into it.

  4. Thanks for your service, for this post, and for the message!

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