Now, lying in the ditch with Billy and the scouts after having been shot at, Weary made Billy take a very close look at his trench knife. It wasn't government issue. It was a present from his father. It had a ten-inch blade that was triangular in cross section. Its grip consisted of brass knuckles, was a chain of rings through which Weary slipped his stubby fingers. The rings weren't simple. They bristled with spikes.
Weary laid the spikes along Billy's cheek, roweled the cheek with savagely affectionate restraint. "How'd you like to be hit with this--hm? Hmmmmmmmmm?" he wanted to know.
"I wouldn't," said Billy.
"Know why the blade's triangular?"
"Makes a wound that won't close up."
"Makes a three-sided hole in a guy. You stick an ordinary knife in a guy--makes a slit. Right? A slit closes right up. Right?"
"Shit. What do you know? What the hell they teach in college?"
"I wasn't there very long," said Billy, which was true. He had had only six months of college, and the college hadn't been a regular college, either. It had been the night school of the Ilium School of Optometry.
Another lesson in pain and death from Roland Weary. Granted, Billy and Weary are fighting in a war. It's kind of hard to avoid pain and death when people are trying to kill you and vice versa. It goes along with the territory. Roland's problem is that he actually seems to enjoy the mechanics. The gruesome facts of inflicting pain and eventual fatality.
The Upper Peninsula of Michigan is crowded with hunters and fishermen/women. Practically every home in this little shark-shaped piece of land contains some kind of firearm. Some schools actually close for opening day of whitetail deer season, as if it's a federal holiday akin to Martin Luther King Day or Thanksgiving. Killing things is a part of everyday life in the U. P.
I am not against hunting. I come from a family of hunters. Venison was a frequent component of meals when I was a kid. (I'm not a big fan of deer meat, even when it's disguised in spaghetti sauce or sausage.) We ate what we killed, as does everybody in the U. P.
So, what is my point? My point is that, despite being a supporter of stricter gun control measures in the United States, I am not opposed to gun ownership. I am not against the second amendment to the Constitution. I'm against people who use the second amendment to validate ownership of weapons that have nothing to do with sport. A hunter does not need an automatic weapon in order to kill a deer or bear. (If s/he does, then s/he shouldn't be hunting.)
Of course, there's the argument that people own guns to protect themselves. Not buying that one, either. If somebody stands up in a movie theater with a gun and starts shooting, I'm not sure having another person standing up and shooting back will save all that many lives. Quite the opposite.
My daughter asked me the other day, "What's wrong with more background checks? What's the big deal with having to wait an extra day or so to buy a gun? If a person wants a gun that badly, maybe he shouldn't have it in the first place."
I couldn't argue with her logic.
Today, Saint Marty is grateful for having a smart, independent thinker for a daughter.
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