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Wild West Gunslinging

April 16, 2013 , ,

Today (April 16) in 1881 In Dodge City, Kansas, Bat Masterson fights his last gun battle. He is fined $8:00.

Guns and power are the entire subject of the cowboy and Indian movie genre. In my youth the entertainment was all about John Wayne and his ilk being in WWII with explosives, guns, and drama, or being in the Wild Wild West with the same scenario. My dad grew up in rural Kansas and Oklahoma, where guns were used for hunting, but he did not hunt because he had poor eyesight.  He developed a love for fishing, which did not require keen sight. I personally learned to shoot a rifle when I was about 4 and my parents left me for a stay in Arkansas at my grandparents’ farm.  I remember being very fond of it and liking it when my grandpa called me Annie Oakley.  I thought target pracice was romantic and cool.

There were no guns in my house, so after my early youth I rarely saw anyone use guns anywhere.  The first night I slept in Caracas when I was 13 I saw a murder from my hotel room on about the 10th floor of the Tamanaco.  I freaked out entirely because there was lots of blood on the white shirt of the victim.  The following day we learned that two hotel guards had shot each other, and that was the whole thing.  Armed guards patrolled the petroleum company compound where I lived in rural Venezuela, which kind of resembled a military base.  I thought nothing of it.  Although I lived in Texas during high school, I still knew nobody who owned or shot guns.

The gun violence debate in the country is alien to my thinking.  I am not comforted by the presence of guns.  I don’t care to own or shoot one.  The citizens who feel so strongly one way or the other about guns are starting to go haywire.  The debate itself is getting scary.

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