Autumn is in the air and kids are headed back to school. As I see those wide eyed youngsters on the bus I can't help but be reminded of my school days. The fresh smell of paint, tator tots, the monkey bars, Gun Safety Class and the stench of unpopularity.
Whooaa! Gun Safety Class?! Could it be? Is this a dream I had that has now become my reality? No, I specifically remember attending Gun Safety Class.
It was Fall and we were all brimming with excitement about a special class that we were allowed to take. We were excited for a couple of reasons. 1) The class was held in the cafeteria which meant we were out of our class room and as studies show, kids learn better with the aroma of meatloaf, pine sol, and jello in the air, and 2) There was going to be a field trip associated with this class.
As we all gathered in the cafeteria, in walked our "teacher", Daryl Patterson (I may be way off base on this). Dressed in camo and hunter orange, he looked the part. His introduction was quick and he was down to business. He handed out a 30-40 page paper booklet that would contain all the information that we need. On the front, it said, "Gun Safety" and had a picture of hunter. Yes, we were taking a Gun Safety Course.
Ok, this is Iowa and there is a lot of hunting that goes on, but I and many others had never been around guns nor had any interest in them. But this was Gun Safety, not meant to convert us to gun-toting juveniles but rather teach us Gun Etiquette...when you say it like this it sound very fancy and proper.
As Hunter Daryl went over the course, he explained that there would be several weeks of classroom and a course ending field trip. Excited for a field trip of any kind, this was going to top all field trips. As Hunter Daryl started to explain the field trip, the excitement in the room started to escalate. Not only would be getting out of school, we were going to be driven to big farm, and allowed to shoot guns! Ok, it even sounds weirder when I type it. But guns! Yes, why not? We were in the 5th grade, which made me 10 years old, the age any young lady should be shooting her first gun.
|Seems age appropriate.|
So the day had come. We had passed our rigorous testing with the score of "P" for pass and were given what I can only assume was our parents permission to attend this "show down". As all 45 of us loaded on the bus, the air was filled with squeals of delight, boasting and one very pissed of bus driver.We were high on pizza burgers and chocolate milk. As the bus pulled up to this very big farm/orchard/shooting range we piled out of the bus like clowns (which isn't too far off of a description). We ran around for awhile while Hunter Daryl and the chaperones tried to organize us into groups. As we descended down a hill, off in the distance we could see the bulls eye targets.....and guns lined up.
|Not actually us, but just as happy!|
So we shot our guns. Some of us hit the target. Some of us did not hit the target. Some of us were asked to sit in the bus for failure to conduct ourselves like the Gun Safety ladies and gentlemen we were taught to be. And some of us did realize how far you could shoot a gun and proceeded to run around the range, behind the targets, and between the targets and the shooters. You would think that 10 & 11 year olds would be better equipped to be in this type of environment. After about 2 hours we loaded back on the bus. Had we been a little older we may have realized the lunacy in handing 45 5th graders guns. It all seemed perfectly normal through our pre-pubescent eyes, It was a perfect day.
Now, I have never shot a gun since but to the classes credit I have never accidentally shot myself or anyone else. So the next time you think about petitioning your school because a certain book or movie is available or that sex ed is being taught, remember, I was given a gun and told to shoot it.
**Disclaimer: There is about a 50% chance I dreamt this.