The human world has changed tremendously since I was young. Since on my last birthday I turned 57 and am now officially an old-fogey, I thought I might share with you some of the changes I’ve witnessed. Frankly, quite a lot of this is somewhat bewildering to me. Though that is too be expected from an ancient such as myself when faced with the modern age.
First: Gun racks.
In the 1970s in Arkansas, and I imagine across the south, gun racks were all the rage. It would look something like the picture below, except it usually held only two guns and was meant for your…truck.
That’s right. In the 1970s in Arkansas many members of the male population carried rifles and/or shotguns hung up in the back of their trucks. I even had a gun rack, though I didn’t have a truck to put it in. Eventually I gave the rack to a nephew, I think.
In the parking lot outside the high school you would often see a dozen trucks with racked guns in the back. There was often some admiring of weapons going on by non-racked folks. This was especially true during hunting season. A lot of kids would go hunting either right before school or right after. Even though I had a car and no rack, there were plenty of times I’d put my shotgun or rifle in the back seat while at school so I could head out to hunt after.
No one shot anyone else. No one reached for a gun to settle any kind of argument. No one even accidentally discharged a firearm on school property. I wonder what happened. I don’t believe it is any one thing. Some factors that I think were involved in the changes are listed below.
1. Everyone of us who had a gun for hunting had been taught by fathers or brothers or someone how to handle them, how to make sure they weren’t loaded, how to keep them in working order.
2. We had also been taught that if honor required a fight, you did it with your fists. You weren’t a pussy. You didn’t reach for a weapon to make you a big man.
3. We weren’t cowards like the assholes today who use guns to settle every dispute or who just decide to use a gun to take some folks along with them when they decide to die. We weren’t so afraid of every little thing that we had to bluster and blow constantly about how tough we were. And we didn’t just make up enemies, or let the media make them up for us.
4. We lived in a community where you did fear losing the respect of your peers and your family and the folks in your town. You knew, for example, that if you did something stupid or wrong, it would get back to your family. Now that can be a double edged sword, for sure. But we not only cared what our parents thought of us, we wanted to please them and tried to do the best we could to make them proud.
I’m sure there are many other reasons for why the way people act around guns has changed over the last forty years. These are just some of my thoughts. What are yours?