Let’s Talk About Guns

A friend came over this evening.  We talked about guns.  We talked about the NFL and guns.  We talked about the father who accidentally shot his 7 yr old son while getting in his truck.  We talked about Bob Costas talking about guns and all the flak he’s taking for talking.  No talking!

When I was little, a kid in my class killed his baby brother.  Shot that baby in the chest.  They were just playing.  The kid tried to come back to school, but he peed his pants on the bus and the next thing we knew we never saw that kid again.

Politicians can’t talk about guns.  Political suicide.  Interesting term.

When we were in Prague this fall, this sculpture was, well, fucking unnerving.


Last night, the Oregon mall shooting.  A young man who feared for his life in that mall said, “It was like being in a video game.”  When did we start saying things like “it was like a video game,” or “it was like a movie”?

When I was little we had BB guns.  (I had to think, just now, about how to spell BB guns:  BB, BeBe, BeeBee)  My brother shot his gun off in the kitchen and the BB’s went through the washing machine.  Those BB’s grazed Dad’s pants leg.  We laughed and laughed and laughed.  Hahahahaha!

My brother was 4 years old when he did that.


When my son was a teenager, he wanted a paintball gun.  I said No Way, but I soon gave in to peer pressure —- come on, all the kids have them!!! —- and I said there were 3 rules.  If the dogs get hit, the gun’s gone.  If the house gets hit, the gun’s gone.  I never want to see that gun, so keep it in a bag.  What a big shot rule-maker I was.

My son came home with the worst bruises.  I worried myself sick and said nothing.  You like me, you really really like me!

My brother was in the Marines and now he’s in the National Guard.  His profile picture on Facebook shows him in his gear and helmet, holding an AK47, surrounded on the ground by a group of AK47s.  The title of the photo is:  ME & MY BITCHES


When my dad was about 30, he found out his dad wasn’t his real dad.  He’d grown up thinking his stepfather —- who married his mother when he was a baby — was his dad.  But really?  His real dad shot himself while cleaning his gun.  Or so they say.

When I was little, I refused to learn to load my BB gun.  Wouldn’t even touch the thing.  Everybody made fun of me, including my mother and my aunts and my uncles.  Awwww, Big Sissy!!!  At the time I was riding the bus with that kid who killed his brother, shot that baby in the chest while they were just having fun, the kid who peed his pants.  I kept this to myself.


Tell me a story about guns.


37 thoughts on “Let’s Talk About Guns

  1. Averil Dean

    My mother lived in Japan when she was a little girl. Her father was in the Army and they had a Japanese house boy who lived with them. One day, my mother’s little brother accidentally shot the house boy—through the shoulder, thank god, and the boy survived. But the shock of it has never left my mom. She would never let us have any sort of gun at all when we were kids. Not even a squirt gun, and I don’t blame her.

    I made Drew get rid of his pistol before I would move my kids into his house. This is and will always be non-negotiable with me.

    I always think it’s so silly to argue that it’s the person not the weapon who’s to blame. As if the cowards who shoot guns from a safe distance would automatically find the courage to pick up some other weapon and get down and dirty with their murders. Guns are dangerous because they’re easy. Even a child can use them.

    1. Teri

      I once went on a date with man who, after dinner, took me back to his house and showed me his “ammo room.” It had been the baby’s room for the previous owners and there was still baby wallpaper. It was the strangest thing.

  2. Bonnie middlebrook

    Here is my gun story: when the twin towers came down, i was living in New Hampshire. While California was waking up, I stood, horrified, watching, and fearing, what was next…

    Never owned a gun, never wanted to own one. (Still don’t). But, I remember saying to my husband, I’m scared. I think we should get a gun. If the terrorists try to get me, they will probably win, but, I’m want to take a few out, before i go.

    For the next few months, our Saturday evenings started at the shooting range. I learned how to load, aim and shoot. I didn’t need to learn respect for the gun, I was quite afraid of them.

    My husband ended up buying a gun. I don’t know why, but it made me feel safer.

    1. Teri

      I totally get this. Still can’t look at a gun. To this day. Gut reaction and all that. My heart literally pounds in my chest at the very sight.

  3. CJ Rice (@leapof)

    Mattel made the Dick Tracy Snub-Nose .38 Pistol & Holster Set when I was in second grade and I wanted one. I devoured Nancy Drew mysteries, and watched the news in southern California that year which seemed to always be announcing the kidnaping of another little girl. I wanted so badly to figure out how to protect myself and it seemed just the thing. Real leather, heavy metal barrel that spun and shut with a nice thick click. I wore it to school after Christmas break under my blouse, the bulk of it hidden by my pink angora sweater.

  4. Lyra

    No stories. This is such a powerful piece, T. It should be published somewhere. The last line gave me a lump in my throat. Thank you.

  5. jpon

    Let’s put it this way… When I spent some time in Canada last June, the national news spent several days covering the story of a robber who shot and killed two armored car guards. Two? Are those Canucks kidding? That wouldn’t even make page 12 in the states.

    Or, let’s put it this way… You can’t smoke in a church or most bars, but you can carry a concealed gun.

    Personally, I would rather take my chances against second-hand smoke than a loaded .45.

    Have we, as a nation, gone completely insane?

    1. Teri

      We have gone insane, Joe. We are so insane that people with any power can’t talk about lest they lose that power. It’s interesting —- we can scream at each other about abortion and rape, but somebody says the words “gun control” and everybody runs for cover.

      Thank you for sharing this.

  6. Jennine G.

    Teri, this just hit me…I feel for that boy, who is now a man, that shot his little brother. I can’t even imagine how horrifying…how do you live through that! Oh my God, there are no words. Very powerful…I almost wish I hadn’t read it. Same with the seven-year-old and his father….you always, always hear warnings about guns being dangerous even if you think/know they aren’t loaded. WHY would you take the chance? WHY would you not take every single precaution?

    When I was a Freshman in college, one of my best friends was a Senior in high school. She was hanging out at her neighbor’s house and the boy down the street brought over a gun to show off. My best friend was shot. The bullet entered at the bottom right side of her face and cut diagonally through her head, coming out above her left eye.

    Can you believe she lived? It amazes me. She’s married now and can drive and everything. She lost her left eye and for a while her sense of smell and taste. She says it was surreal, that she was standing there watching all of the kids recoil in horror and she had no idea what was wrong. Even when she got to the hospital, the nurses were asking her questions and she still wasn’t sure what had happened…shock I guess? The body/mind protecting itself?

    My problem with the saying about it’s people, not guns that are responsible, is that guns need people in order to work, so the two are inexorably connected. Accidents happen…I’m more afraid of a freak accident than someone purposely holding me at gunpoint. The freak accidents in the news are the ones I have the most difficult time dealing with.

    1. Teri

      Thanks for sharing this, Jennine. That poor woman. And I’m with you on the freak accidents —- I am 100% sure if there were a gun in this house, it would be used, somehow, on me.

      One of the arguments after the recent movie theatre shooting was this: If the other movie-goers had been armed, they could have stopped him. Hmmmm. Let’s think about that. A dark (dark!) movie theatre and everybody shooting at everybody else because nobody knows, or can see, who “the shooter” is. Yes, that sounds so much safer.

  7. Bobbi

    I’m very unfamiliar with guns, what with being Canadian and all that. When I lived in France I did hold a gun that was taken from a dead Nazi soldier many years ago. It was very surreal. That’s as close as I ever want to get.

  8. Pamela

    I’ve never felt comfortable with guns. My spouse has a handgun, a shotgun, and a tazer. Whenever we hear suspicious noises or worry about intruders, she says with pride, “I wonder if they would like to meet Mr. 12-Gauge?”

    The shotgun leans against the wall in her walk-in closet, right next to the laundry basket. Every time I collect that basket of towels and clothes, I feel a stab of fear.

    A couple of years ago, my nephews (11 & 14) were spending the night with us. We offered them our Master Bedroom, because it has a king-sized bed. They were thrilled to have the big bed, the giant bathroom, and the tv. Around 5am, I woke up with a start and thought, “The shotgun!” My nephews are smart and curious and it occurred to me that the shotgun (though unloaded) was only steps away from where they slept. Everyone is alive and well, but I still can’t believe I let that happen. Negotiations about whether to have guns in our home are ongoing.

    1. Teri

      This is such a realistic story. What do you do when one person wants a gun and feels safer with a gun, but the other person does not? I can see how it would be a forever ongoing discussion. Thanks for sharing this, Pamela.

    2. Averil Dean

      God, Pamela, the shotgun. My ex-husband is a cop, and right after we divorced I went to pick up my kids (4-5 years old at the time). He had his loaded shotgun just leaning against the wall in the bedroom, with the kids wandering past. I came completely unglued. It scared the shit out of me.

      On the other hand, my dad once chased an intruder out of our house with his shotgun. He would have said the gun was worth having, but for me the constant anxiety is too overwhelming.

  9. LauraMaylene

    Three kids were killed in a school shooting in the Cleveland area last winter. The shooter did well in school and had plans to go to college and become a psychologist. He spoke to cops just after the shooting and basically said he had no idea what happened or why he did it. A cop asked him if he thought anyone died and this teenager said, “I don’t know. I hope not.”

    1. Teri

      Which reminds me of the Jovan Belcher shooting 2 weeks ago. He shot his girlfriend 9 times and the his mother claims he kept saying, “she’ll be alright, right?” The snap to grab the gun because you’re pissed, pull the trigger NINE times and still think, “she’ll be alright, right?”

      I can’t believe I’m about to type this, but ….. imagine if there was no gun to grab and he just slapped her a few times and broke her arm. The fact that this scenario is the better option is horrific.

  10. MSB

    Hanukkah Henrietta just bought her son a nerf gun. It has a laser and he’s already hurt two of his sisters and a friend with it. I either need to purchase welding goggles with full face protection or take the damn toy away from him.

    That sculpture is amazing. Very, very powerful. I wonder how many people pose in front of it like the guy on the right is doing.

    1. Teri

      I didn’t even like the violent video games, MSB, but I lost that battle as well. If you’re lucky he’ll just get tired of it (and soon!) and the nerf gun can find the trash without him even really missing it ….

  11. lisahgolden

    I read this right after reading the story coming out of Connecticut. Eighteen children dead. Eight adults. I can’t even process that at the moment. I’m numb.

    I once fired a gun into the air to try to keep one dog from killing another. I’ve done some target shooting. I was fascinated by the number of different guns kept in the confiscated gun room during a tour a police station.

    But I would never allow a gun into my home. I would never imagine that I am safer with one than without one.

    Averil is right. Guns are so very dangerous because they can remove the killer from the killed. They close the distance a knife or a baseball bat wouldn’t. They take proximity out of the equation and by do so, make it so easy to react in a way that will likely be irreversible.

    1. Jennine G.

      I must’ve just read and posted right after you Lisa. I’m sick…I’m sitting at my desk waiting til I can leave before I think too much because I’ll cry. But I can’t help it, this hits too close to home (as in I work in a school and have a small child)…instead I’m devising plans on what I would do if my school went into lockdown. Lock my door and herd my class to the big closet I am lucky to have in my room.

      1. lisahgolden

        It’s awful, Jennine. My husband is a teacher and I try not to think about something like this happening at his school. I can’t imagine him or any of my children in such a situation without feeling sick.

        Yes. Have a plan. It’s one thing you can do.

  12. Jennine G.

    Oh my God…have you read about the Connecticut elementary school shooting? Happened this morning…I won’t go into any detail if anyone would like to avoid the news. Makes me want to quit my teaching job and homeschool my kids for th rest of their lives!

      1. Teri Post author

        I would like someone to explain to me why anyone, any civilian, needs assault weapons.

        Additionally, the mother is being described as a “gun enthusiast.” What does this mean? If I described myself as a tennis enthusiast, or a cat enthusiast, most people would think I was crazy, no?

      2. Jennine G.

        Good question. I honestly don’t have an idea on this. I don’t feel that our government is overall trustworthy enough to allow them to ban guns from citizens (although assault weapons seem highly unnecessary)…even though I want nothing to do with them myself. That was one of Hitler’s first moves and the people went along with it. And it seems to me that no matter what, the bad guys will always be able to get ahold of what they want. And yet I strongly feel something has to be done.

  13. Catherine

    Oh dear Teri. After what happened yesterday this discussion hurts even more. What an awful way to end the year, such loss, such evil. I have always hated guns.

    But I do hope you have a serene festive season best, cat

    1. Teri Post author

      You would not believe the personal emails I got after this blog post, basically telling me I’m ignorant and to shut the fuck up. Well, I’m not shutting up. Ever.

  14. girl in the hat

    My delinquent brother stole all my father’s guns and sold them for drug money. So my dad went out and bought more guns. Later, after an argument, my other delinquent brother stole those guns and threatened to kill his brother (the one who stole the guns the first time).

    My father still misses his guns.

    I really have nothing else to say about this. It’s all so sick.

  15. Teri Carter

    It’s taking everything I have today not to stand in the fucking street and scream.

    “A Kentucky mother stepped outside of her home just for a few minutes, but it was long enough for her 5-year-old son to accidentally shoot his 2-year-old sister with the .22-caliber rifle he got for his birthday, state officials said.”


    I wonder if our Senators and Congressmen have any fucking idea of the gun culture in this country. I wonder how many of them would buy their 5 year old a gun. Hey, I grew up in southern Missouri so I know kids get guns. It’s a celebration!! But does it need to be? Really??

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