Friday, December 22, 2006

How The Times Have Changed

Now here's a Christmas gift idea from the past...


These verts were published in the December, 1966 issue of Boy's Life magazine.
Can you imagine the outrage in the media if this was published today?

(Click the images for clearer BIG view)




Growing up, nearly every boy I knew, myself included, got "BB" guns for Christmas by the age of 10. And we lived in the city. Cousins of mine in rural Illinois and Indiana all got .22 rifles.
Our parents knew what they doing, taught responsibility, laid down strict rules, and expected appropriate behavior in return for using these things. Getting a "BB" gun or a .22 was initiation, of a sort, into a Circle of Trust. A transition from 'little boy' status to Big Boy recognition. Keeping the privilage was actually more important than the privilage itself. Breaking the rules, and losing your gun, was not only disheartening, it was also something you wouldnt tell the other boys about.

Most importantly, nobody I know of ever got hurt. Well, not directly, anyway. I am aware of a few who got the ass-whipping from Dad as a result of misuse. Back then, Dads where allowed to teach their sons in this manner without facing a horde of child advocates knocking on their door. Even worse, if your neighbor saw you not being 'right' with your "BB" gun, he would snitch to your Dad, who would then whip you twice as hard: not just to teach you a lesson, but also for embarassing him. 'How dare you...'
And it would only happen once.

And if your buddies found out? That was embarassing for you.

Personally, I prefer the old time sensibilties of days gone by. I'm more at 'home' there.

7 comments:

Mick said...

dude...your a REALLY bad californian you know that right?

Gino said...

ya think i'd be happier in... maybe... southern oregon?

and would they even want me there?

Brian said...

You'll shoot your eye out!

I never had my own BB gun as a child in 1980's suburbia, but there was no shortage of the things around.

No major injuries that I can recall, though I do remember catching a few ricochets in the "shooting range" my Webelos Den Leader set up in his (very small) garage. But those just stung a little...

My wife and I just bought our Canadian nephew a Nerf "Dart Tag" set, which includes two rapid fire dart guns, scoring vests, and--wait for it--goggles. For Nerf Darts.

If he ignores the goggles, I will view this as a sign that there's still hope...

kingdavid said...

My son got his first BB gun from his uncle (my bro), who's a cop in Houston. He also had the opportunity to shoot a couple of my brother's hand guns at a range. Last summer he got to do some shotgun shooting at Boy Scout camp; which he loved. He's 11 now; so when he turns 12, the legal age, we're going to take him to a local gun club and get him certified.

The only thing I'm concerned about is that when we get him more involved and purchase some more guns, he'll never get to use them. Mocha-momma will probably take them out all the time; my wife loves shooting more than any of us.

Gino said...

brian: a country boy without even a 'bb' gun?
i'm shocked!
so much for the southern stereotype.

king david: hold on to that woman. she's a keeper.

Brian said...

Heh. I have genuine "country" relatives that would howl hysterically at the notion that I was one of them.

robishot said...

AMEN. I remember getting my first firearm, a .22 bolt-action, for Christmas. The pleasure of shooting that far outweighs the "joy" kids get today of getting high score in "Grand Theft Auto"...

Weird - today, guns are "bad". But video games endorsing theft, prostitution and killing are given to kids without a blink of an eye...