Shell-shocked – literally

My youngest son has been obsessed with guns for a few years now and, like any good mother, I have tried to ignore it. Hoping against hope that he will not grow up and take out a small town with a sub-machine gun. If anything, his obsession has grown. It started at an agricultural fair, where he followed the man from the antique gun display asking loads of questions about guns. He seemed to know things about guns that I hadn’t heard of. The man on the display, like me, thought he was a bit nuts. Then there was Duxford, where he was allowed to hold one (which made him even more obsessed). Things reached a head a few weeks ago when I went to visit my parents. My dad went with us on a walk up the woods and on our way back through the village we passed the GUN shop! The Gun Shop has been there for years and, for me, has always been a taboo. My brother ventured in their once to buy a catapult. I was in awe of him for weeks.
‘Can we go in?’asked Alex.
‘Of course not. You’re too young.’
‘No he isn’t’ countered my Dad ‘Come on, I know the owner.’
I don’t know what I was expecting. A man with one arm and an eye patch. So I followed them in. My dad and the owner chatted, whilst I scowled at Alex as he raved about the guns on display.
‘You’re far too young to have a gun.’ I said.
‘How old is he?’
‘Ten’
‘No he’s not.’
‘Yes but they are not nice things’
‘Guns are fine, it’s the people behind them that are the problem. He’ll probably learn at school. If not he can always join a gun club.’
‘He’s ten’ Apparently, this is not a problem.
Eventually I dragged Alex from the store, but not before he had procured a card with the gun shop’s website address on it. I caught him on it several times.
The next few weeks Alex asked about joining a gun club, so, with much trepidation I looked to see if there was one near us. Unfortunately there was.
So we ventured down, just to look. We arrived in a field and met up with three of the jolliest people I have ever met. I immediately trusted them. They spoke to Alex about guns and arranged for us to go down at 9am on Sunday.
‘This is it’ I thought ‘He’ll never be up.’
At 6.30am I went for my run and when I returned Alex was up and dressed ready to go.
‘It’s really cold out there.’
‘That’s why I’ve put on loads of layers’ he said.
Fair dos he was up for it.
We arrived at the field, where around 20 men in camouflage were shooting away. All of them were joking and laughing and really helpful. Their enthusiasm was really contagious. Alex was instructed for an hour. I thought that he would be bored, but he wasn’t. More to the point, I thought I would be bored, but I can now see the attraction. How a miniscule adjustment can make all the difference. How being surrounded by enthusiastic people just makes it all the more interesting. At the end of the session Alex was very quiet.
‘Are you okay. Have you had enough?’
‘No way, I’m just planning how I’ll change things next week’
So it’s back to the field next week, you never know, I might even have a go (watch out!)

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~ by envisioningutopia on September 23, 2012.

2 Responses to “Shell-shocked – literally”

  1. I thought our visit to the Imperial War Museum was the high water mark of this interest, I seem to remember them both being pretty quiet after that. Oh well, at least Alex takes tuition very well.

    Agree/ disagree with your dad. The dangerous part of any gun is the nut that holds the trigger. Unfortunately guns turn everyone nuts. “The sword itself incites to violence’ – latin i think.

    Maybe it’s more like the ‘bubble wrap’ game for bigger kids. Happy popping!

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