When did everybody get guns? I don’t mean the military, police personnel, avid hunters, criminals, or gang members, who’d you’d expect to possess a firearm, but seemingly every Joe Citizen is armed. I have nothing against self protection, mind you. It’s a dangerous world out there filled with dangerous and unpredictable people, but is it really necessary to shoot the person next to you for texting, for example? I too find texting annoying, and would prefer people refrain from doing it when I’m trying to watch a movie, but I’m definitely not going to resort to killing them to get them to stop. Where do we draw the line on this? Our children are arming themselves in schools using weapons, often found at home, to dole out punishment for self-perceived wrongs using their underdeveloped emotions for a logic base. People on planes, in malls, at church, perceiving those around them as threats or wherever their unsettled minds take them, are arming themselves and acting out acts of revenge against, neighbors, family, lovers, or perfect strangers. It scares me to death, pardon the pun.
When my kids were in school the biggest thing I had to worry about was someone sticking gum in their hair, or saying something to hurt their feelings if offended. I can honestly say there wasn’t one day where I thought to myself, “I hope an armed kid doesn’t come to their school today and start randomly firing”.
It’s a difficult call gun control. How and who do you control? No matter what controls are in place it is for sure criminals and people really inclined to do harm will find a way to obtain a weapon from an unethical gun dealer or private citizen looking to make a profit. Like prohibition, the ones with the liquor were sitting on the opposite side of the law not in the same pew, but there was always liquor to be had, legally or not.
I’ve fired a gun twice in my life and owned a gun, or at least had one in my home once. The first time I shot a gun I was nine. Hunting is a sport not only citizens of Nova Scotia enjoy, but Nova Scotia actually attracts hunters from other areas to come and participate. As a child it was not unusual for me to hear my uncles speak of hunting, and at my uncle’s lodge in the country, several glassy-eyed trophies hung over the massive fireplace in the living room. For me, it is enough we use them for food, but I’m not much on looking them in the eye while putting that process in motion. On the occasion of my first and coincidentally my last rifle lesson, I joined the men in my family on a deer hunting expedition. My mother was horrified at the thought. Finally, after considerable reassuring from my uncle he would assume responsibility for my safety it was decided I could accompany my cousin, a boy a year older than myself, on the trip. It was a wintry day as memory serves, with the wind blowing off the ocean bringing the added chill moist sea air carries with it. Being the shortest member of the band of hunters, my eye level was awash in a sea of plaid and red. Looking up I could see the men’s breath as they spoke quietly to each other of the strategy for the day. Bucks were the target, with does second I would suspect. It’s all about the rack or set of antlers, and how many points. All I knew was I was cold, as usual hungry, and the hot chocolate I’d finished off at breakfast was looking for an avenue of escape.
Huddled in a copse of trees I was instructed on how the rifle worked, how to load it, aim it, and lastly fire it. Mommy. It was important, it was stressed, to hold the stock of the gun in the natural pocket of my shoulder to absorb the recoil when the trigger was pulled. Shown how to line up the shot, several tin cans were lined up on a fallen tree stump some distance from where I was standing. “Shoot”, I was told and shoot I did. Bam, bam, bam, with the third shot knocking me directly on my young behind breaking a lens in my new glasses. This was not going to sit well with my mother. To add something to the pot my eye felt like somebody had taken a swing at me and my shoulder wasn’t looking good either. I’m sure I cried. I was little and female, and that is what little females do. In the end my uncle took my hand and back in the car we went. An unplanned stop for a triple scoop ice cream cone at my Great Uncle Fred’s corner store before returning home, allowed a little more time before we were to share the good news with my mother allowing as my eye had begin to color. It was to be my last hunting expedition. Secretly I was most pleased.
Never again did the subject of weapons come up until my last marriage. My husband, hailing from the great state of Texas, got a gun for his birthday before he cut his full set of baby teeth. In the back of his pickup truck a bumper sticker read “Honk again, I’m reloading”. For two years of our ten together, he worked nights. Living at the time in the country at the end of a long dusty lane, he worried about me being alone after dark while he was gone. I’ve never been one to fear being alone or the dark, but I have to admit listening to the coyotes howling in the distance at night, or seeing the occasional snake slither across the back yard, didn’t always make for a restful sleep. My dog and cat were there for company, but Sushi, a fun-loving affectionate little Shih Hsu would have welcomed an intruder in and offered him tea before alerting me a stranger was in the house, and Kitty was mainly concerned with the next tasty treat arriving in her bowl. Those were lonely nights. At one point with no cable I watched the only video I owned, Mr. Mom, thirty times in a month. I can do all roles by heart.
A handgun was purchased for my protection. It was nearly impossible for me to chamber a bullet as it was stiff. During my first lesson I nearly blew the wall out of the kitchen, and it was then decided he would leave it loaded with the safety on and I would only touch it if someone was standing over me threatening bodily harm. Two weeks later I awoke to sounds of clanging in the yard. The intrepid Sushi stood at alert at the end of bed. Gathering the gun from under the night table she and I slunk along single file like characters in a dime novel. At the sliding glass door I moved back the curtains and switched on the light, releasing the safety on the gun. Holding the gun in front of me hands shaking, reflected in the patio light was a large possum with its head stuck in a can used to gather grease from the barbecue. Poor creature was banging its head against the leg of the barbecue in an effort to set it free. Putting the safety back on I went out and with a broom released the can. Amazingly I still had all my digits and the animals were intact. I never touched it again.
Soooo, the debate goes on. Sometimes I wonder if the news media doesn’t make the situation worse by lending ideas to those already a little off balance. Who knows what the answers are, but for today I remain unarmed.
These sandwiches have so many interesting flavors packed inside two slices of bread. Really nice with a steaming bowl of spicy posole (https://susartandfood.wordpress.com/2014/01/27/ladies-start-your-engines-and-crockpot-spicy-pork-posole/). Have a great, and safe day.
Margherita Grilled Cheese Sandwiches with Balsamic Mayonnaise
1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup fresh basil leaves
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1/4-1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
Mix all ingredients in blender until smooth. Refrigerate for 1 hr.
4 slices Artisan bread (I used Country Italian Cheese Bread)
2 Tbsp. olive oil
4 Tbsp. prepared basil pesto
4 slices provolone cheese
Thinly sliced fresh tomatoes
1 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
Avocado and red onion for garnish
Brush one side of bread slices with olive oil. Place oil side down on cutting board. Spread two slices of bread with balsamic mayonnaise (you will have leftover mayonnaise – refrigerate for future use). Spread other two slices with pesto. Top two slices with provolone cheese, tomatoes, and mozzarella cheese. Cover with remaining bread slices oil side up.
Place in large heavy skillet. Heat over high heat until nicely browned on one side. Press down with spatula for best results. Turn sandwiches carefully and brown on the other side. Lower heat and continue cooking until cheese is melted. Top with avocado slices and red onion secured with toothpick if desired.