By Tank Hoover
Just because I wasn’t the valid Victorian in my high school class, doesn’t make me dumb…
Every now and then I do get a chance to outwit some people. Take the time I bought a sporterized Springfield ‘03 after agonizing over whether I should buy it or not. I was smart that time. I overheard the shop owner talking to one of his employee’s that I was interested in the gun that killed Hitler at the Battle of the Bulge. The shop owner kept looking over my way as he talked in hushed tones. But I could hear every word, on account of my nosey ears. I still have that gun and hate to show it off.
Every time I do, people just roll their eyes in jealousy when I tell the history on it. I hate to brag, so I usually just keep it in the safe for safe keeping on account of it being so valuable. I think even Roy is a bit jealous, as he always asks me about it when we talk gun buying prowess and great gun deals, followed by that laugh of his.
Not being the smartest does have its advantages. People never really know what you do know, and it does make it easier for you to “play dumb.” I’m a natural. But what really gets my goat is when you buy a gun and you’re already marked as stupid before you even take delivery on it!
There it is! Roll-marked right on the barrel usually. “WARNING! Do not use until owner’s manual is read!” Or my favorite, “WARNING! DANGEROUS!” If they weren’t dangerous they wouldn’t be of any use to us in the first place! If we were really that stupid, we wouldn’t know how to read. And if someone read it to us, how would we know they weren’t lying to us? See?
Some folks are so disdained by the “WARNING!” label as to actually polish off all that ‘riting, or simply re-barrel their gun, rather than be considered a blooming idiot!
Gene Pool Watered-Down
Maybe that’s why some people like older guns. We musta’ been a lot smarter back then to not need such helpful diction printed on the barrel. I always thought the “WARNING!” should be on the barrel edge, so whoever you were pointing it at, they would know it was a “WARNING!” for them! But, a .45 caliber hole is a great universal sign, for those who don’t read, so I guess it’d be redundant, which is a big word for me to use, as His Editorship is always proud to remind me when I do such things!
Alas, the gene pool must’ve been watered down some, or perhaps not spread around enough? For there are some fools who feel any negligent action caused by them couldn’t be their fault — but that of the gun manufacturer!
I remember receiving my first gun on my 8th birthday. Besides being a gun, the thing making it so special and important to me was the realization my mom and dad felt I was responsible enough to have my own gun. It was a crossover of sorts telling me they trusted me and in return, expected more from me. I was excited to display both to them. And did. It was a Harrington and Richardson Plainsman .22 rifle. It felt good to know they had faith in me, to be able to handle such a large symbol of responsibility.
I would be dropped off at my maternal grandparents farm every summer vacation for a week, and they did that since kindergarten. Now, armed with my .22 rifle and a few boxes of Winchester Super X HP .22 shells, I was loaded for bear. Groundhogs, sparrows and crows were the common pests of the day. I learned to shoot with iron sights, and also what a proper sight picture was. I also learned about trajectory, and how to compensate for it with the adjustable notched wedge that could either raise, or lower my rear sight, depending on which way you slid it.
Back then, when one was treated as being responsible, they usually reciprocated in return. I know I did. Today, I’m not so sure, as even grown adults aren’t treated with respect and a sense of responsibility when it comes to guns. If anything, they’re treated with disparagement by those who disapprove of guns.
Flash forward to around 1978 when the gun manufacturers felt obligated to vandalize their product by putting a silly “WARNING!” label roll-stamped on the barrel of their guns. Through no fault of their own, the gun manufacturers had to, because of frivolous lawsuits. Certain idiots who failed to obey the four cardinal rules of gun handling had managed to shoot themselves through negligent actions. So now, all guns come tattooed from their birthplaces, desecrated with such warnings for fear of product liability.
For those born after 1978, this may not seem like such a big deal. You know no better. To others, it’s a slap in the face of personal respect and taking responsibility for ones actions. Frivolous lawsuits are the curse of our nation today. Most want something for nothing without having to work or earn it. How’s that again?
For those of you foolish enough to believe it is the manufacturer’s fault for your ignorance and negligence, I have a Springfield ’03 for sale. It won’t be cheap, as it has a huge history behind it. In fact, many find it hard to believe. And be forewarned — It has no “WARNING!” label on it, so you’ll have to be willing to take responsibility for your own actions.
Are you prepared for that?
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