This article was written by a friend of the Blog, Richard. You are going to love this one – his grandmother was one amazing lady!
I was born in 1967 at the hight of the vietnam war and with technology being what it was at that time, the war was being broadcasted nightly on the news. My mother was a nurse and had to work nights, so I stayed with my grandparents (my mothers parents) most of my childhood. My parents were divorced and I did not see much of my dad, but I knew he was a WW 2 U.S.navy veteran and had impressed upon me at a very early age his ability to shoot a gun. He had showed me how to shoot a .38 service revolver and had allowed me to shoot it on my own when I was only 5 years old.
One night at my grandparents house, I sat and watched a live broadcast of the war in vietnam, via satellite news, as it was happening. Right in front of me, this little child about my age was blown in two by a bullet, This deeply traumatized me and as I sat in my grandmothers arms crying, She began to talk to me and I to her, she asked me what I felt and I told her that I did not know kids got killed by bullets and guns and I stated that I hated guns because they killed children. She got me to calm down, gave me a herbal sedative that helped me sleep.
The next day was a saturday and so no kindergarten that day, my grandmother told me she wanted to show me some things, she took me into her bedroom and showed me several very old ribbons and medals, she told me her great grandfather was a Hessian soldier in a company of rifleman during the war of independance and had changed sides, became an american soldier and fought on the side of the Americans, because he believed it was the right thing to do. After all the americans were fighting for a freedom he had never known in Germany fighting for a king. His Son fought in the civil war, taught from a very young age how to shoot for survival sake, later transfered to a Sharps rifle and was able to make 1000 yard shots with accuracy during the civil war. The medals and ribons were his and he then he had taught my grandmother how to shoot and she was going to show me. I was petrified.
My grandparents owned 440 acres in northern california that I grew up on and on it there were several streams and a pond down in a valley at the back of the property. My grandmother took a 16 penny spike, a hammer and a can of red spray paint and then took me by the hand and we walked from the top of the hill behind there house to the pond, which was about 900 feet away. She drove the nail into a four by four post, about an inch, she then painted the head red and we walked back to the top of the hill. When we got there she took out a rifle and explained all the working of it, she told me it was a .270 caliber wichester model 70 bolt action rifle. She then chambered a round, adjusted her glasses on her nose, shouldered the rifle and said to watch the nail, I could not even see the nail, she then became very quiet and still for about 20 seconds then the silence was broken by a thunderous roar, my five foot two 70 year old grandmother jerked a bit, then started laughing. I asked why she was laughing and she said to go look at the nail. I did so immediatly and to my utter shock, it was gone, then I realized she had driven the nail throught the post with the bullet and a rifle with open sights and glasses. I was astounded and wanted to be able to do that also.
It was the most amazing thing I had ever seen in my life until my first child was born. She taught me how to shoot from then on and she, my eldest brother, and I went dear hunting many times after that to put food on the table. My grandfather was a really good shot also but he said he would never try and outshoot his wife because she was the best he had ever seen in his 80+ years.My Grandmother showed me that no one has to be afraid of a gun, because guns dont kill anyone, people are responsible for the guns and not the other way around. The series of events set my whole life and how I think about life, personal responsibility, wildlife management, and honor. Especially, because when you go into the forest with another human being, everyone is relying on each other’s honor to make sure things are done the right way, the responsible way, the honorable way.
So, being a rifleman is an American tradition in my family so I practice all I can afford to in order to keep up the tradition for my self and to honor my ancestors.My daughter is not yet interested in shooting and may never be but if she ever is, I would be honored to pass on her great grandmother’s knowledge.