Thanksgiving is a terrible time to spend at our Neshoba County, Mississippi farm. The culprit that denies an escape from our hectic life is the beginning of deer season.
The 78 acres that is an integral part of my heart and soul have not been farmed since my precious grandfather’s 1962 death. And the house is not peopled unless my siblings and I are in residence. Therefore the land is a virtual wildlife refuge.
If one arises at dawn and ventures into a lawn chair in the back yard, a very still and quiet individual can sip coffee and be one with families of wild turkey and deer. Following coffee, the next order of business is to don farmer’s knee boots and walk the hay fields, wet with morning dew, while one city slicker golden retriever runs wildly in a manner not possible in the world in which she normally exists.
Deer season ruins that retreat from the world. Perfectly normal individuals lose touch with reality. Nothing matters except the thrill of the kill.
Since it is common knowledge that our farm is not a permanent residence, the intrusion of gunshots is continually heard from trespassers who threaten the creatures we so lovingly protect.
Not being one who ever feels threatened or afraid, I take to the fields in my 4-wheel drive vehicle. My normal route is to traverse the perimeter, continually blowing my vehicle horn in a loud and obtrusive fashion. Every single deer on the property then makes a rapid retreat to the sanctuary of the overgrown woods.
My next task is to don an orange vest and walk deep into the forest, traveling all the paths that my brother has cut with his four wheeler. A bell ringing in my hand, I periodically yell, “I have a cell phone and a gun and I know how to use it!”
Now the truth of the matter is that I do have a cell phone. It doesn’t have reliable service in that rural area. So obtaining quick protection might not be a thing that would happen. And the gun threat is quite a stretch. If I did actually have one, I wouldn’t have a clue how to use it. But it serves the purpose of both scaring off the hunters and the deer. My husband fears for my life during this part of my quest, saying that one day some one will certainly shoot me. I dare them to do just that.
The Second Amendment promises citizens the “Right to Keep & Bear Arms”. As adverse as “Shooting Bambi” is to this animal lover, I respect the rights of those who choose to do so. But please….. Do it on your own land, not mine.
And I also respect the choice of Americans who feel the need to own a hand gun in protection of their home and family. It is a right that the Founding Fathers felt important to protect.
But is there really a need for the ordinary citizen to own assault rifles? And are semi-automatic weapons a useful tool to kill Bambi? Whatever would a law abiding citizen want to do with a weapon designed to kill in mass? Should there not be checks and balances to assure that the right to bear arms is not abused?
There are parents who will celebrate Christmas with great sadness because of the senseless shootings at Virginia Tech. There will be empty places under their tree, where the gifts for those dear family members should rightfully be. And there will be hollow empty places in the hearts of grieving families because of the loss they so tragically experienced. Should assault weapons have been sold to the individual who stole their childrens’ lives?
The right to bear arms comes with responsibility for good judgement and sensibility regarding the persons in whose hands those weapons are placed. That obligation should apply not only to the ordinary citizen, but also to the government agency that violates the rights and privacy of the innocent by accident. Tragic mistakes can never be recalled. Each life that is lost is a robbery of its path into the future, needlessly blocked.
Shooting a poor defenseless Moose in Alaska may be a thrill to some. But how can taking the life of one of God’s creatures, unless it is necessary for food and substinance, be considered a sport?
The right to bear arms……… How far should it be extended?