Me and My Gun

Martin and John Lehman

Martin and John Lehman

I was ten years old when my brother left home to go to Eastern Mennonite School at Harrisonburg, Virginia.  I remember it well since it was then that my parents decided to trust me with the family’s single-shot 22 caliber rifle.  So I was instructed in its use. Even if I had a play gun it was never to be pointed at a person, so it followed that I was never to point the real rifle toward anyone.   For safety’s sake I was to carry it with the muzzle pointed downward toward the earth. I was never to point the gun toward the house.With these careful instructions my mother put the gun in my hands and trusted me with three 22 caliber “short” rifle shells, never more than three.  Their

Home facing east

Home facing east

range was limited. If I shot to the west the bullet would go into a hill and woods; if south, the bullet would go across the run into a big hill; if east, the bullet would fall into an open field; and if north it would fall into another open field or into more hills.  There were no neighbor houses to be seen from our house. It is was a safe place for a ten year old with a gun.

How to aim and what to shoot was part of the training.  I was to aim at what was considered vermin:  intrusive birds like English Sparrows or Starling; rats and mice in the barn; snakes in the grass or along the run; or ground hogs raiding the garden.

President Obama taken from TV screen

President Obama taken from TV screen

I thought about my early years with a gun because of the conversation in the nation about gun control.  President Obama has asked citizens to support his efforts to persuade the congress to pass gun control legislation.  As a citizen I will support the president by contacting freshman Democratic senator Joe Donnely and urge him to support the president’s effort to ban military style assualt weapon. He told a reporter that he will study the president’s proposal as a supporter of the 2nd. amendment and as a Dad.  Donnely’s office number is 202-224-4814.  I invite you to call his offfice, too.

The Old Fool remembers that he is a citizen of another kingdom.  As a citizen of that kingdom he prays and works in hope for the time to come when all weapons will be melted and molded into something useful.


About Martin Lehman

I was born 92 years ago, the son of a Mennonite pastor and organic gardener in Franklin County, Pennsylvania. At age 10 I was baptized as a member of the Marion Mennonite Church. I own the "Old Fool" moniker because I want to walk the Jesus Way even though the world and much of the church takes me as a fool for doing so. In my life I have moved from being a young conservative to an elderly radical. I tell that story in My Faith Journey posted on my website.
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5 Responses to Me and My Gun

  1. Drane Reynolds says:

    I appreciate, Martin, the story you have told. It reminds me of my Uncle (deceased for about 10 years), who often told me that as a young student in Live Oak, FL how he used to take his rifle to school and place it in the closet in the back of his classroom. Then, when school was out he would retrieve his rifle and go hunting on the way home. My impression was that his family ate what he shot (squirrels, etc). This is a use of firearms not unlike yours: respectful of life, safe and non-violent toward humans. I affirm your childhood experience.

    Of course, today, as I think you might agree, the arguments we are hearing about 2nd amendment rights and gun usage are anti-life, and even insurrectionist (contra Romans 13.1-7). We must pray for better.

  2. Lloyd Gingrich says:

    Yes may weapons of destruction be beaten into plowshares.
    But remember the President while he claims providing safety for our school children he is also promoting the killing of the unborn who have as yet done no evil nor even thought an evil thought.

    • President Obama does not to my knowledge promote the killing of the unborn. I support him in his efforts to control the violent use of guns is our society. I don’t support or rejoice in his use of war and the weapons of war to promote the interests of the US. It is likely that more enemies are made by the drones than are killed. And too many are killed by drones. In my mind one person killed is one too many.

  3. Rohrer Eshleman says:

    My experience with a gun was exactly like yours.

    The response about Obama and guns. Obama is government and plans freedom of choice for our culture. One must remember that abortions are not a government problem, but a spiritual decision of a person, and not a government decision. We don’t want Obama to take away our freedom of choice, do we? The Obama, I know, is not advocating abortion.

  4. Merle Cordell says:

    My experienc with guns is similar to yours. Their were seven of the Cordell boys and a Dad who took us hunting, mostly rabbits for meat as well as sport. Of course safety was always emphasized. But more important was the moral training and example we received. That is the lacking element in our society today. The thought of using a gun to setttle disputes never entered our mind, and we had enough control of our actions to refrain from using the baseball bat.
    Merle Cordell

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