I have a confession to make.
Although I write thrillers about a tough-girl cop, I am afraid of guns.Â Â They really, really scare me.Â I canÂ deal with the gore and damage they inflict, having seenÂ a few examples of it in emergency rooms,Â but when it comes to handling the instruments that cause those injuries, I get nervous just thinking about it.Â So when I go to mystery writer conferences where the other writers are all eagerly heading out to play with guns at the local shooting range, I prefer to head for the bar instead.Â If I’m gonna play dangerously, I’d prefer the activityÂ involves gin instead.Â Â Â
But a few weeks ago, my older son Adam told me it was time to just bite the bullet, so to speak, and shoot a damn gun.Â Any gun.Â How can I, a mystery writer, have lived this long without everÂ having pulled a trigger?Â Adam is probably the biggest firearms enthusiast east of the OK Corral.Â This is aÂ son who, when he was growing up, was forbidden to own a toy gun. Â I was trying to raise a nonviolent, garden-growing pacifist.Â Instead my kid grows up into Rambo.Â
Talk about the law of unintended consequences.
Adam was so enthusiastic about getting his mom to shoot a gun that in the end I had to capitulate, just to please him.Â You always want to do fun things with your kids, right?Â Even though what they want you to do scares the hell out of you.
So Adam decks me out in ear protection and goggles.Â Â “No shotgun for you, mom; you couldn’t handle the kickback, and I want this to be a GOOD experience.”Â Right.Â He loads up a .22 and lines upÂ some aluminum soft-drink cansÂ filled withÂ water as targets. (“They explode really well!”)Â And then he hands me the rifle.
I hit the target, hand the rifle back to him, and say, “Okay, thanks.Â That was nice.Â Let’s go walk the dog now.”
I don’t know if he was disappointed.Â Maybe he thought I’d just go bonkers about the whole thing and want to head out to the nearest gun show and stock up on ammo.Â But at least I can now say I pulled a trigger and I know how to load up a rifle.
I’d still rather play with gin.Â
Â And more photos from readers:
Â From Kayla in Fort Jennings, Ohio:
Â And now, from Annie in New Mexico:
Bent’s Fort, CO
and Meade, KS: