This is my experience with guns. This is why some of us are the way we are.
Having grown up en masse in the suburbs of St. Louis, we had no needs or interest in guns. The baby boom was making the shooting territory run for its life. Houses were spreading like a very active disease.
As maybe a person in junior high, I heard a story about a burglar shooting Mr. X over on Canter Lane; at least it was one of those horsey names we had in “Paddock Hills”. Years later, repeating the story to someone, I was corrected. It was Mrs. X who shot Mr. X over on Canter Lane. Sooner or later, the kids get to know the truth.
Fast forward 30 years. There is a famous (and true) old story about our (now dead) long time state senator from around here. Everybody knows it. Mrs. SS (state senator) shot Mr. SS one Sunday morning and the both of them managed to go to church anyway. What pressure.
The next two stories are more personal. We were a number of women who came together as friends as we all had experienced cancer. One friend had written a grant to present a little creativity class at a local hospital to help cancer patients deal with the experience. I was taking chemo there at the time. My art work was all about having cancer, so I did not need the training to use creativity to exorcise the poison, but the teacher was my friend and through her we all met. Only one of this group has died, to this day. She was a fabulous woman, a family court judge (correct me if I am wrong) and she fought cancer for eight years.
Carol died. On the day of the funeral, feeling desperate, I went outside to plant bushes. It was a healthy thing to do. If the day were not bad enough, while digging a bush-hole, a singing noise without a perceptible body raced by my ear. Having never had an experience like this, I knew what it was. Maybe it was from watching Bonanza all those years. It was a bullet that just missed my head.
I had no idea what to do, so I called the police. Told him my story, and he crept up the dirt road to the next house to investigate. We live on this road in plots of ten acres. In this state, you can shoot anywhere as long as there is no house within so many feet. Cannot remember how many. The guy next door had been practicing with his gun, but said it was always in the other direction, over the pond. The cop told him to call me when about to do shooting in the future. He said OK but never did.
This visit was not even important enough for him to tell his wife when she came home. He never told her. Years later, their teenager admitted to my husband that it was he who shot the gun in the wrong direction.
Same family, about a year ago: the teenager and his new puppy were playing on the floor of the family room, with a friend in a chair there, looking at a gun. The teenager got up, and within a second the puppy was dead. The gun was loaded and went off.
I cannot tell you how happy we are that the family moved last month.