I write well over a million words a year for this website. I do so knowing I’m only as good as my last post, and there isn’t a last post. Not until or unless some series of unfortunate events interrupts this endless marathon or, more likely, time takes its toll. In any event, when it’s all said and done, I probably won’t remember a word I’ve written. I will remember the friends I’ve made along the way and the precious moments I spent with my girls. As of this writing, only a few of these family moments have involved firearms . . .
The first one happened during one of my daughters’ bi-annual visits to Rhode Island (from their home in the U.K.). For whatever reason – all the years we’d spent together without shooting, interests that lay elsewhere, the tsuris and time-suck of my wife’s drug addiction – vacations with Daddy never involved shooting. Equally, my step-daughter Sasha was profoundly disinterested in firearms.
One day, out of the blue, Sasha said she wanted to go to the range. (I reckon she knew the boys in her gun-averse Quaker school would give her maximum props for shooting.) Though Rachel and Sarah were both older and leery of firearms, they usually followed Sasha’s lead when it came to setting out on an adventure. So the four of us headed to the range.
Rachel, the eldest, injured her wrists horse-riding. Even my .22 caliber SP-101 was too much. She quickly retired from the field. Meanwhile, Sarah and Sasha took to the Henry Golden Boy with the same passion and focus they bring to every challenge in life. The two teens, competing against each other, shot extremely well. And . . . that was it.
Since then, Sarah, my second born, helped me tape segments for the website. My youngest, Lola, would rather go to the dentist than the gun range. (Her final word on the subject: “Get a step-son.”) In short, I have not experienced any of the parental joy and bonding via firearms that I saw this weekend as I uploaded hundreds of readers’ photos of their children. The process left me sad for myself and my children.
To be fair, the odds were never in my favor. My father, a Jewish Holocaust survivor, didn’t come from a gun culture. My mother, a “fellow traveler,” is a fervent gun control supporter. The community in which I grew up – both the neighborhood and my school – was anti-gun. Culturally speaking, I come from a [profoundly ignorant] gun-free zone.
And I ain’t out of it yet. The eldest girls still live in the UK. ‘Nuff said. I lost Sasha in my second divorce. She lives with her father on the island of Tortola. (We’re not allowed communication.) Lola and I are in Texas. Austin, Texas. None of Lola’s friends or families go shooting. One of them isn’t even allowed to see a gun.
Despite all those gun-free childhood years and my relative isolation from gun culture, I haven’t given-up on the possibility of firearms fraternization with my children.
Post-divorce, my world is no longer a place of constant crisis and emotional upheaval. I’m more ready to introduce my eldest daughters to the joy of guns than I was anytime during the last ten years. Lola’s interest is only a matter of time; she knows well enough that she must arm herself against evil. Sasha? What can I say? My heart is broken. But that door will always be open.
This weekend I faced the fact that I will never have the pleasure of seeing my young children grow-up around guns. So be it. God willing, I’ll have a chance to see my kids appreciate firearms as adults. If not, maybe I’ll get a chance with grandchildren. And if not that, well, I take comfort in the TTAG readers’ family photos. By passing on your love of guns and liberty to your children you help keep my children safe. For that I am forever in your debt.