Gunshots in Mom’s Neighborhood, Again

How did you react to the title of this post?

Some of you had an immediate negative reaction.  Maybe you just don’t like guns.  But more likely, you formed an image in your head of where my mom lives.  If she lived in the city, like I do, gunshots would obviously be a very bad thing.

It is true that the last time we went to visit my mother, we heard the sound of gunshots in her neighborhood, again.

But my mom lives way out in the country.  She and my stepfather have 50 acres of land, with two farm ponds, 3 gardens, chickens (sometimes), some farmland, and some woods.  Their “backyard” borders state game lands, so in the fall there are hunters, and that includes family members.  On many Saturdays, some of the neighbors will be target shooting.  Perhaps my brother will be giving shooting lessons to my son.  And if a groundhog shows up near the garden, we have ways of discouraging it.

If you hear gunshots at their house, it is just a normal part of life, and it is not a sign that anyone is up to no good, or that anyone is in danger.

City life and country life are different, and thinking people have realized this ever since there have been cities.  It has always been the case that the people in the city make the laws, and the people in the country make the food.  Most of the time, the people who make the laws have been able to appreciate the difference between the lifestyles.

However, we currently have an increase in tensions between city and country, and gun laws are a symptom of that tension.  If you are from the country, you will think of guns in terms of their recreational and practical uses.  If you are from the city, you are more likely to associate guns with crime.  In at least two states (New York) and Colorado) the urban majority has passed gun laws that the rural areas are just plain ignoring.  Our urban-minded President’s latest executive orders, which may be harder to ignore, will still face court challenges for the remainder of his term, and they will be wildly unpopular in rural areas, where murder rates are low.

Ironically, despite his stated intentions, these orders will primarily affect law-abiding rural and middle class gun buyers while leaving urban criminals’ gun-buying habits untouched.

The Hunting Song (For the First Day of Deer Season)

Those non-Pennsylvanians who read my blog should know that tomorrow is an important holiday in PA: The first day of hunting season. I don’t hunt, but I like the first day of deer season, because many people take the day off at work. It is almost as good as a vacation day.

Here is an old Tom Lehrer song about hunting that even vegetarians can love.  Lyrics and guitar chords are printed below:

ARTIST: Tom Lehrer
TITLE: The Hunting Song
Lyrics and Chords

[Capo 5]

I always will remember, ’twas a year ago November

I went out to hunt some deer, on a mornin’ bright and clear
I went and shot the maximum the game laws would allow
Two game wardens, seven hunters, and a cow

/ C – G7 – / C A7 D7 G7 / C C7 F Fm / C G7 C G7 /

I was in no mood to trifle, I took down my trusty rifle
And went out to stalk my prey, what a haul I made that day
I tied them to my fender, and I drove them home somehow
Two game wardens, seven hunters, and a cow

The law was very firm, it took away my permit
The worst punishment I ever endured
It turned out there was a reason, cows were out of season
And one of the hunters wasn’t insured

/ Em – B7 – / / / Em – G7 – /

People ask me how I do it, and I say, “There’s nothin’ to it
You just stand there lookin’ cute, and when something moves, you shoot”
And there’s ten stuffed heads in my trophy room right now
Two game wardens, seven hunters and a pure-bred Guernsey cow