Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Remember these kind of ads?

I'm a hunter/shooter/fisherman, always have been, always will be. I strongly believe in my 2nd amendment right and will defend them with everything I have. I spent 11 years of my life behind a counter selling firearms, 9 years at a gun shop, and 2 years before that selling behind a counter at a Woolworth store at a mall. Anyone remember Woolworth's?? Yes folks, at one time there were stores in the mall that carried firearms! We had the usual variety of shotguns and rifles, but we also had military surplus. AK47's, SKS's, M1 Garands, M1 Carbines, 98 Mausers, Chinese Arisaka's, and a few more that I can't remember. (c'mon, that was 22 years ago lol) All behind the counter with simple locks, or on the sales floor with a cable lock through the trigger. We didn't sell handguns there at the time, but they did there before. Several of my dads handguns came from Woolworth's, as did a lot of his early reloading supplies. Think of things in today's view, then imagine walking into a store in a regular shopping mall. Imagine picking up a Ruger Blackhawk in .357 mag, a set of dies for it, 5 boxes of 30 carbine ammo, and a can of H110 to reload some .44's when you got home. Hard to imagine isn't it? Think about this one: I remember taking in my dads 10 guage double barrel to show the store manager who was also a hunter. The back doors to the store were locked till the place opened, so the only way in was through the main mall entrance. YEP...I walked right in the main doors carrying a gun case, through half the mall and into the store without a single odd look or a swat team showing up.
Back then, EVERYONE sold these things. Almost all the major stores at the mall sold things like this, as did other large chain stores. Sears, Kmart, Wards, Woolworth's, JC Penneys....all had a REAL sporting goods department with guns, ammo,and fishing gear. Most even had their own brand of rifles and shotguns. We would hit the local Acme-Click every Friday to go to the bank and go grocery shopping. Mom & sis would head off for those things, and dad and I would head to sporting goods. We could be there for a few hours looking around and picking up a few things. I bought my first (with my own money) hunting knife there, my first teenage size hunting vest there, hell I even bought my first compass there. What do they sell now? Nothing but groceries.
I learned to fish as soon as I could walk. I learned to shoot and hunt at about age 6. My first .22 rifle was in the crib with me and saved till I was old enough to shoot it.( I have a photo to prove that one! LOL baby Chris with a lever action Marlin 39a Golden Mountie!!!) I was cleaning fish at age 5, rabbits at about the same, and ducks at around 9. Other kids spent saturdays in front of a tv watching cartoons while I was out with dad either chasing rabbits, jumping pheasants, or sitting in a boat catching bluegill and bass. My dad was good friends with a taxidermist, so I have my first fox squirrel, first pheasant, first mallard, first wood duck, and a 7 1/2 pound bass I caught at age 14. I even still have my first rod and reel.....and it came from Montgomery Wards. Not long ago, I went into a chain store to get a few things before I picked up Lisa. It's right next door to her work, so it was convienent for what I need. I wont mention names, but it starts with a T and ends in arget, lol. I got the few things I needed, and decided to walk around. OK...this is the MOST un-manly store I have EVER been in!! The "sporting goods" section is about the size of my basement. Maybe 4 fishing rods on one small rack, less camping gear than I have in my room here, and mainly workout equiptment and bikes. The tool section of this place was smaller than my medium size rollaway box.....wow. I felt my man parts start to shrink, and got out as fast as I could, running past the fancy-schmancy coffee shop inside the main entrance. I still have the scent of "mens" body wash, scented oil deoderizers and frapalattemochchinojava on my skin. I may have to shower with bon-ami and some steel wool. Geez........I'll never go there again. I found my kryptonite.
What happened to these places? Why are people like me shoved aside and forgotten? Why are we labeled hicks or gun-nuts? Why is it we have to go to a specialty shop now to get things we used to get anywhere? Is it the liability issue? Is it the fear of feeling responsible for something? Is it the fear of lawsuits? Is it the fear of upsetting some soccer mom who came in for a cappucino machine and is offended by seeing hunting items? I wish I knew the answers, but I don't. Don't get me wrong, I love Gander Mountain, Cabela's, and all the local shops around, but why do I have to drive out of my way?
What once gave me a sense of pride now gives me a small bit of fear. I have to lock up the things I own now that were once proudly hung on the wall or in a glass-front cabinet. I fear buying anything that requires paperwork, so I don't. I fear the ammo-coding law that our nation is pushing. I fear the prices rising through the roof on everything that I love. Part of me is even nervous about writing this hear, thinking of some agency writing down a discussion of firearms and raiding my house like the gustapo. I even fear shooting at dads place where we have since dad lived in the area since he was born in '37. The last few times I shot there, the new neighbors called the police. Sure its legal there, but the hassle is rediculous. I don't want the PD checking out what I own, it's no one's business but my own. Again, city people moving where they don't belong.......but that's whole other rant and rave.
On top of all that, I have to think about the animal rights people. They're spreading across this country like a plague, and are totally clueless. I remember getting a letter at the gunshop once from a peta member, stating how she thought it was SO wrong for a gun/hunting store to be listed under "sporting goods" in the phone book. "Killing is not a sport, blah blah blah...." The silly woman left a return adress, so she recieved a free sample of deer jerky, hehehe. But seriously, I've seen people picket shooting events and dog trials. I've seen these people walking through public hunting land banging pans and blowing whistles to scare deer. I've seen these people write angry letters about thinning the deer herds in the park systems. (apparantly we're supposed to CATCH them and spay & neuter them like pets, wow) Funny how the same people have no problem poisoning hunting dogs or feeding them food laced with ground glass....apparantly bambi's life is worth far more than ole' yellers. I'll stop this one here as I could go on for hours about these people.....maybe another time.
Thanks for bearing with me folks, sometimes things really get to me and I just can't let go. I'm tired of being an outcast. I'm tired of the labels. I'm tired of the pointing and whispers from some guy in a matching shorts set and deck shoes. Maybe I'm just tired of the society as a whole.................................


FarmerGeek said...

Really good post!

I think part of the issue that you are seeing is that more and more of these people have been taught "guns are bad" and that we need gun control and so on and so forth. You were raised with respect for the tool/weapon (whatever you want to call it) and you know when and how it is to be used. Heck, even through the 70's many high schools had shooting teams.

Also, I think you touched on another good point about city folk moving to the "country"... They want you to conform to what they want and believe, even though they left the area that led them to believe these things and you were at your spot first!

i feel your pain!

Aimee said...

Hey there,
although I am one of those annoying city people who moved out to the country, and a liberal democrat at that, please don't shoot me! I don't have any problem whatsoever with responsible hunting, in fact I think hunters are one of our best allies in protecting the environment. You want there to be wild elk and geese and whatever in the wild for your grandkids to kill, right?
I do think society at large has an interest in making sure that lethal weapons are controlled, handled and stored responsibly. I have a hard time understanding why people who don't object to driver's licenses and car registrations do object to gun registration. It's the same thing. By the way, the K mart in my town sells guns. Fine by me.
Some of us ex-city folk are ok. steep learning curve, yes, but I'm getting there.

Chris W said...

My problem with gun registration is this- I buy a firearm as a law abiding citizen and fill out all the papers, do the background check, wait my whatever days required, then pick it up. Criminals buy them off the street, out of a car trunk, or trade for narcotics. The laws do nothing to affect this, never have and never will. The people that do these kinds of things make our government pass all the silly laws that in no way affect them at all, but put restrictions on the rest of us. If I buy more than 3 handguns in a 7 day period, a notice is sent to the government, but if Joe street thug has 12 stolen guns, no one knows or cares till they are used in a crime.
If you choose to not make a car payment, the bank knows where to come take it back. If the same bank wants to sue you for not paying your credit card bill, they know where to find you. Then if someday firearms are outlawed, or certain types totally banned, they have your name, address, and know everything about you....they'll come for it. It's happened in the UK, it's happened in Austrailia, and we can't say it will never happen here.
Gun storage is another issue that gripes me to no end. Rather than teach kids what they are, what they do, and responsible ownership, people hide them away. Kids are curious, no way around that. If they want to get into something, they will. Education is the key. Speaking of keys....what if your handgun you bought for defense is locked away in a box, inside a wall safe with a trigger lock on it, and someone breaks into your home.....you might as well have bought a stick. Again...education.
I'm not trying to be an ass in response, I'm just giving my view as a lifelong shooter and hunter, so please don't think I've getting defensive.
More people die in car accidents, so why arent we banning cars that go over 55 mph? People die in drunk driving accidents, so why aren't we restricting alcohol? People hang themselves with rope, so maybe there should be a cooling-off period to buy some. I dunno, I'm just tired of paying the price for what the criminals in this world do. Perfect example-a few weeks ago I had to show ID to buy spray paint. You have to be 18 to buy it now thanks to all the graffiti artists and paint huffers. It won't be long till we have to show ID for toilet paper so we can stop the kiddies from tp'ing houses.....

Patrice Farmer said...

I'm not a gun fan but I support your right to own one!

Andrea said...

Okay, surely not Springfield Ohio??? If that's the case, I'm a homesteading neighbor in South Vienna. It's a small world huh?

Chris W said...

Andrea, I'm in Springfield township, in Summit county, not the Springfield you're thinking of. LOL Its not the first time I've gotten the same comment though.

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