On childhood, guns and troubled youth
by Ron Swift | Patterson Irrigator
Jan 31, 2013 | 1119 views | 0 0 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Ron Swift
Ron Swift
Some of us who grew up with guns in the household haven’t fired a weapon in decades. In my case, about 55 years.

No, that isn’t quite right. A few years back, I dug out my old Winchester .22 pump and with a few Boy Scouts fired several rounds on a target range. Couldn’t hit the broad side of a barn.

I blamed it on the rifle. It’s getting old. My father bought it new for $25 when he was a Boy Scout back in 1920. I reasoned that because of age, it simply doesn’t shoot straight anymore, so I put it away and haven’t so much as picked it up since.

I grew up in the Midwest with that rifle, as well as a shotgun received on my 14th birthday. Went pheasant hunting a few times with that shotgun, but never ruffled a feather, let alone bagged a bird.

So I can’t say with any seriousness that I grew up with guns. In fact, I’ve never fired a handgun.

Thus, to me, this national firearm debate that has again raised its ugly head has no answer. The experts say Americans own 300 million firearms, an average of nearly one weapon per man, woman or child. Some have none. Some have many.

I see no compelling reason for any private citizen to own a rapid-fire weapon, the type used in despicable mass killings, and yet making said weapons illegal to own isn’t going to get even a good percentage of them off the street. And with so many weapons already out there, restricting further sales is unlikely to stop senseless tragedies, such as Newtown.

I was recently asked if I have ever been acquainted with a young person who had such serious psychotic problems that he could perpetrate a similar disaster. I must admit that I have, and getting that person the professional help that was needed was no easy task. Antisocial behavior, I quickly learned, often runs in families, and without family support, professional diagnosis and treatment is darn near impossible.

No one wants to admit a son or daughter is a social outcast, and yet the similarity between the antisocial mass murders at Newtown, Columbine, the Aurora theater and elsewhere is eerie.

“Why didn’t we see that coming?” usually pops up in the aftermath.

And that’s where I think the answer lies. We need to see it coming. Those “odd” youngsters who don’t seem to fit into society should be the focus of our attention. They need the help.

A start, I believe, would be to clean up the violent video games and bloody shootouts on TV and the silver screen. There, the killing is painless and so far from reality that such scenes easily mess with the confused minds of those few who commit social tragedies.

It would be far easier to clean up that “entertainment” than to engage in a lengthy battle over the Second Amendment.

Those 90-plusers

The Patterson area lost a couple of its longtime residents last week, with the deaths of Belmira Rose, who would soon have turned 99, and Stan Cox, 93. “Bee” moved here with her family when she was 11 months old, while Stan was a true native and a member of the pioneer Cox family.

That leaves 66 on our 90-plus list, which had grown to a record high in recent months. The full list follows. (Anyone having names to add should give me a call.)

Lee Aiello, Margaret Alberta, Marie Archer, John V. Azevedo, Joyce Barfuss, Rose Beltran, Vera Bettencourt, Winnie Bronzan, Wayne Brooks, Emil Burch, Aileen Cabral (101), Antoinette Carcello, Marcel Chapuis, Lena Cirrincione, Florence Perry Cogswell (100), Grace Cox, Bertha Criswell (103), Sylvia Dennis, Nadine Dompe, Thelma Fitzsimmons, Agnese Friedrich, Aurora Garcia, Anita Garza, Nita Goetz, Raymond Graff, Esther Hamilton, Dora Gustafson Hauert, Eleanor Holtzman, Violet Housewright, Wayne Johnson, Geneva Kazda, Velma Klein, Evelyn Kolding, Laurence Kolding, Kay Krause, Lucille Kvech, Helen Maring (102), Bessie Martin, Jack McConnell, Ruby McNutt, Ruby Miller, Nelda Schut Mitchell, Adelina Montoya, Bonnie Nordell, Ken Nordell, Josefa Esquivel Ochoa, Luis Ochoa Puga, Victoria Orozco, Tex Pace, Manuel Paiva, Geraldine Parker, Dorothy Reis, MaeBelle Rogers, Evelyn Rusk (102), Emmy Lou Schroeder, Rosa Stehli, Jack Tabar, Mary Tosti, Justin A. Traina, Frances Tyler, Clyde Weekley, Gene Wheeland, Vivian Wheeland, Dorothy Wiesendanger (102), Katie Williams and Mitsuye Yamamoto.

Class come to order

Fast Talk this week continues its educational offerings for those readers willing to expand their minds. Here are circumstances to seriously ponder:

•Only in this stupid world do people order a double cheeseburger, large fries and a diet Coke.

•Only in this stupid world do people park cars worth thousands of dollars in the driveway and fill their garages with useless junk.

•Only in this stupid world do drive-up ATM machines offer instructions in Braille.

For the sports fan

It makes you wonder just how many people could spell and pronounce Kaepernick just 10 weeks ago.

And didn’t I tell you both Patterson High basketball teams were on a roll? Check the league standings.

And finally…

The next time you feel yourself in a squeeze, caught between a rock and a hard place, just consider the plight of Jack Harbaugh, whose sons this Sunday will be dueling from 60 yards away.

Ron Swift is editor/publisher emeritus of the Patterson Irrigator. He can be reached at ronkay@gvni.com.

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