JWG (jwg) wrote,

My experiences with guns

With all the recent focus on guns I was thinking about my own experiences with guns.

When I first went to summer camp at the age of 10 one of the activities was riflery where we shot at targets on a range with .22s. What I remember is all the focus on safety and the consequences of misuse of the rifle. And at the next summer camp I went to after I outgrew this one we also had riflery.  Again, focus on safety and consequences.  Three years I ago I went to a reunion at the first camp and went to the rifle range since we had camp activities (I did work crew, swimming, archery, riflery, and canoing that weekend). Safety and consequences of misuse were stressed -  at archery too.

My parents had a summer house in upstate  New York with lots of land. For some reason my father brought home a BRNO (Czechoslovakian company) .22 rifle from a business he was financially advising (a NYC Canal St cutlery and lots of other stuff store) and we occasionally shot at targets or tin cans. Once when a friend was visiting we took turns shooting up in a tree. In the course of this a bird fell out of the tree.  We were shocked that we had killed something and put the gun away immediately. I don't think I ever shot it again.

After my mother sold the house I had this rifle in my closet for many years and at some time a long time ago I called the Cambridge Police to ask them to take it away and an officer came.  As I recall he was surprised I was just giving it away.

At MIT I was in ROTC for a year (it was compulsory in those days - that's where the above icon is from).  We marched around with M1s on our shoulders and had classes in their use. I don't think we ever shot them. We also had classes in military history and I learned useful skills such as how to polish  brass buttons. Somehow I still remember the Major talking about Von Clausewitz, a Prussian military theorist.   The hardest thing about ROTC was the early morning classes where they turned out the lights to show a movie and I struggled to not fall asleep. Fortunately I discovered it was easy to get out of ROTC for medical reasons.  I went to the MIT health services in the beginning of my sophomore year and said I had flat feet.  The doctor said I didn't but since I was nearsighted that would work.
Tags: mit, personal

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