Killing For The First Time

When I was a kid, I remember every summer, the family packing into the old station wagon and heading down to grandma’s farm. It was here I was introduced, quite by accident, to the killing of another living animal. OK it was a rodent, a stupid chipmunk to be exact. It seems one of my older brothers was given a .22 rifle and my father took us out past the corn fields to teach us how to shoot a gun. I am assuming since my father was both in the Army and the Navy he knew how to shoot a gun. At the end of World War II my father was in his late teens so I do not believe he ever experienced combat much less killed another human being. On this hot summer day in June we all had our first and last taste of killing another creature.

I remember my father showing us how to load the small magazine into the rifle, how to never point the rifle in the direction of another person and when we were finished to always make sure to safety was on. The five us, I remember, sat around our father as he lectured us on the enormous responsibility we held in our hands when we carried a gun. This was no joke, no laughing matter and a gun was certainly no toy he said. Here we sat five boys looking up at our father with reverence as he pulled the bolt back loading the small round into the chamber. My father demonstrated how to hold the rifle while taking aim at your target. I remember my father holding the rifle to his shoulder, looking down the long barrel taking aim at the old rusted Pabst Blue Ribbon can sitting ten yards away on a moss cover log. He gently squeezed off a round with a little Pop!

Just as the Pop reached my ears I look down range to the intended target just in time to see the PBR can and something quite unexpected fly off that moss covered log. The five of us jumped to our feet laughing and giggling and ran to find the rusted can and what new hole the .22 round had created. Silence took over as we stood in horror looking down at what lie twitching, gasping for its last breath next to that dumb can. A chipmunk a stupid chipmunk at the exact moment my father pulled the trigger a stupid chipmunk ran across that moss covered log and in front of the rusted out PBR can. As my father peered over five little heads trying to get a sense as to what caused the sudden silence I looked back and saw the man turn white while steading himself on my shoulder. As the realization of what he had done settled in he turned as said “Boys lets go home”

Not a word was said as we drove back to grandma’s house. Silence filled the car and sick feeling filled my stomach.  All I could see was this stupid twitching chipmunk and a weird look of guilt painted all over my fathers face. I was sick at the thought that we had just killed something and I was scared. I was scared by my fathers reaction, his guilt at killing an innocent chipmunk. I kept playing over and over in my head; how would you like to be that little chipmunk and some ass hole shoots you.

Since then, no one in my family has ever picked up or shot a gun again. Over the years the feeling of guilt passed with age and the thought, how would you like to be that little chipmunk passed like a fading dream, that is… until I saw this video.

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