We have guns to fear here, too, but not urban guns. I live in northwest
Connecticut, and there's a lot of hunting around here, both in season and
off season. It's very rural here. Unlike the rest of Connecticut, we're in
the Berkshire foothills, with some farm land and meadows, but mostly our
mountains and valleys are cloaked in deep forest, although certainly not as
wild as Larry's Wisconsin and Minnesota.
Hunting for many of the locals is a rite of passage, and I can appreciate
that without participating in it myself. Although I couldn't bring myself to
hunt, I do enjoy eating venison, if prepared well, and something has to be
done about the huge deer overpopulation (coyotes and bobcats can't keep up).
My brother was quite a hunter in his teens and 20's, as were a lot of my
friends. Some still are. I actually have a 22 in my closet, but I haven't
shot at anything since that rabid raccoon came into my yard to play with my
kids about 10 years ago.
My concern with guns is that we're fairly close to NYC (2 hrs drive south)
and Boston (3 1/2 hour drive east) and their surrounding suburban areas.
Hunters swarm here with their guns, dogs and beer coolers and seemingly
shoot at anything that moves. I'm in the woods a lot with my dog. More than
once I've experienced the alarming sound of a nearby gun shot and heard the
splash of bird shot in the leaves and brush around me. Now that scares me. I
try to stick to the roads during hunting season.
Often my students want to depict guns in their art work. A couple of 7th
graders recently came to Open Art Studio, saying that their social studies
teacher wanted them to make props for a skit they were putting together.
They then proceeded to list the kinds of assault rifles they were going to
make (we have a little wood shop in the art room) and I got on the phone and
found out that the teacher had no idea they were wanted to us guns in their
skit. I simply said no. Another 5th grader just yesterday wanted to make a
sword and ninja nunchucks(sp?), and I said no. Simple. I don't like weapons
and I will not allow them to be made or depicted in the art room.
However, a 6th grader of mine a couple of years ago drew a beautiful white
tail buck in a wooded landscape with colored pencils and watercolor. It was
a really big one, with something like 15 or 18 points - obviously a fantasy.
Usually this kid didn't get too involved in art, nor in any other classes,
for that matter, so I was pleased with his uncharacteristic effort and the
super results. All went well, until the last day of the project. He grabbed
a Sharpie marker and drew a circle representing a huge gun site with the
cross hairs right over the buck's chest. I let it go in the spring art show.
So, guns....yikes! Of course guns are dangerous, and we should be extremely
cautious with them, but there are times when guns are just a fact of life.
But then, we don't have problems with hand guns, Uzi's or other urban
assault guns around here.