The culprit was one of those adorable little 3-year-old tow-headed scamps who already wore glasses. He scurried into his mom's bedroom with a friend to jump on the bed despite her explicit directive to the contrary. While climbing aboard he spotted the drawer to her nightstand cracked open and, being a small man-child, invested a moment exploring it. The heavy stainless Smith & Wesson .357 Magnum revolver he retrieved was loaded with 6 jacketed hollowpoints.
While he and his pal jumped happily on the bed the boy stroked the trigger of the gun with his thumb. The heavy bullet passed upward across his face close enough to pulverize his little spectacles and leave a tiny red crease across his forehead. Aside from a minor powder burn and ringing in his ears the kid was otherwise unhurt. When I met the little guy in the Emergency Room his mom was still too traumatized to speak coherently.
This story had a happy ending. Others I choose not to write about. How you maintain a gun for self-protection, particularly with kids around, is arguably the single most critical decision many Americans will make over the course of a lifetime. The lives hanging in the balance are the most precious in your world.
There's nothing special about firearms. Guns are simply very dangerous tools not altogether unlike rat poison or table saws. Life is fraught with danger. How we manage those dangers defines us.
My third and final child recently left for college. My favorite teenaged gun photographer dropped my heart into a sack, tucked it lovingly into her luggage, and puttered off to Aerospace Engineering school in her little red Hyundai Veloster. You may note a precipitous decline in the quality of my photographs as a result.
As my wife and I struggle to navigate the next stage of our lives I had the epiphany we had successfully pulled it off. With God's help, we raised three responsible citizens from within a household awash in military firearms. Here is our story.
Most everybody is fascinated with guns. The mechanical complexity, the danger and the allure of power under control resonate on a certain level universally. This is particularly true for children. The fact dinosaurs are big enough to eat their parents is one of the reasons all children love dinosaurs. Kids will be drawn to guns. Expect it.
When the kids were young, every single gun was locked away all the time. Ammo was secured separately. A single handgun lived in a locked box on a high shelf in the...