I’ve been thinking about the recent suggestion from NSW Shooter’s Party MP, Roy Smith, that children should begin fire-arms training from around the age of 10.
Central to his argument were the issues of cultivating trust and responsibility. Let me tell you, as a parent I’m with him all the way on this one. Quoting Roy from Sydney’s The Sunday Telegraph:
BB guns and air rifles now have to be registered when, in my day, all the boys were running around with them; we don’t trust kids with pocket knives and we don’t trust them with (fire) crackers So essentially the first taste of responsibility kids get in Australia nowadays is when we hand them the keys to the car often with tragic consequences.
Certainly, the thought, in years to come, of throwing my boy a sawn-off shotgun rather than the keys to the Volvo is something that puts my mind a little more at rest.
Inspired by Roy’s call to arms, I’ve decided to start early on this matter. I’m therefore very happy to inform you my five-year-old son and two-and-half-year-old daughter are fully locked and loaded with an air rifle and BB gun, respectively.
Buckled into their child car seats, they ride in the back of our sleek, grey Volvo sedan much as John Wayne did in that classic film Stagecoach and they’re plenty happy to let aggressive bogans (in hotted-up Camiros) and 4WD road hogs (spilling their arses over into our driving lane) just who is running the show now on the mean streets of this city.
Like any law-abiding citizen, I believe in letting people know we are fully armed. A yellow sign on the rear window declares ‘Baby With Bolt-Action Shotgun On Board’ to warn anyone who might wish to indulge in any road rage whatsoever! against a family vehicle like ours.
But it’s really shopping that is now a pleasure like never before. The minute my kids reach for the low-level chocolates placed to tempt them at a supermarket or newsagent check-out, they have a semi-automatic weapon at the ready should they come under the slightest provocation or disapproval. Since arming my children not one sales assistant not one! has so much as grumbled about what they can and cannot touch.
They are of course yet to reach school age. And despite Roy’s sage advice, I feel it’s far too soon to put them into a sustained target-practice and munitions care course. A believer in restraint, I limit each kid to a handful of rounds per day and instruct them never to harm a native bird or animal.
Image from Altered Esthetics
There has been some tension at pre-school, yes. A rather intense argument in the sandpit, followed by my son pulling out a rifle and screaming, ‘Go ahead, make my lamington day!’ to an over-large four-year-old who had been bullying him. But the situation was defused and along with a concerned teacher, my partner and the other child’s mother we agreed that all weaponry should be confined to my boy’s Thomas the Tank Engine backpack from now on. Common sense, as always, is the solution in these matters.
One, nonetheless, thinks about the future when such things occur. As a consequence I’ve been slipping on the fatigues and taking the kids on survival runs through the bush outside of Sydney at a location I cannot currently disclose. In the event of a foreign invasion or jihadist uprising, I have helped my kids bury an arms cache sufficient to keep them well supplied and able to defend themselves for, at least, the next eight years.
At night out there, I like to read them stories like Cormac McCarthy’s The Road, and various post-apocalyptic tales of panic, paranoia and darkness. It’s my belief that we must teach our children early about the world as it is. That may sound stern, but at midnight their mother and I like to rouse them up with a good-natured tousle of the hair and it’s off we go, pig-shooting in the moonlight. By dawn we’re covered in blood and guts, and laughing like nobody’s business. Isn’t that the essence of togetherness?
Look Roy, I think this whole guns and responsibility thing is vital to our nation’s youth. And it’s people like us who can make it a reality in our secondary schools and our primary ones as well.
With all this talk of school kids going nuts with guns because they listen to too much ‘Elmo’ or Heavy Metal, I’d certainly feel a lot safer knowing that my children are locked and loaded and loved in the wild colonial spirit of Ned Kelly and Chopper Read.
Australia ‘s sons and daughters let us rejoice, for we have artillery!
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