Thingish Things

Ralphie’s Revenge

Written By: William F. B. O'Reilly - Jan• 30•11


The Coveted Red Rider

Ariel Kaminer of The New York Times today tackled the always-delicate issue of gun laws in New York City by chronicling her effort to actually get one in her hands legally.   After being turned away by a couple of police tactical shops, the intrepid journalist struck pay-dirt at Beretta of Madison Avenue.  There, on a floor high above pedestrian New York, she was proffered a Beretta 20-gauge semi-automatic shotgun.  She describes how it felt in her hands:

“Holding a top-of-the-line gun is supposed to make a person feel powerful, confident, in control. Instead, I felt ridiculous. My stance was all wrong, and in any case I would never pull the trigger — not to kill an intruder, not to kill a bird. That moment of truth reaffirmed what was already beyond doubt: I am a pacifist, or a coward, depending on your perspective. But just as important, I am a New Yorker. In a city where we all live right on top of one another, playing with guns feels as out of place as wearing prairie dresses and engaging in plural marriage.”

As a kid growing up in Manhattan, there was nothing I wanted more than a BB gun – the same one nine-year-old Ralphie pined for in A Christmas Story: The Red Ryder spring-piston, lever-action, replica Winchester Model 1892 BB Gun, with the steel site —  but I couldn’t get one.  It wasn’t just the City’s gun laws I had to contend with.  It was my father.

He is a combat veteran — a decorated combat veteran — and there would be no guns in our home. It didn’t matter that half my 45 cousins living in the “country” had the best AR-10 rifle kits, rifles and a half dozen aunts and uncles were accomplished hunters.  We would not be.

My father fought in the Tenth Mountain Division in Italy during World War II – he is the last man in his company alive – and after being wounded twice by German artillery and seeing the horrors of what guns did to his friends and to the Germans they killed, who was I to argue with him? My brothers and I could become avid fisherman instead, which we did. (My father returned from the war, incidentally, with a pistol he had confiscated from a defunct German officer.  It was a Beretta.  He traded it for a cashmere sweater.)

In time, my father’s sensibilities wore off on my brothers and me.  Or so I thought.  We were not gun guys.  We were fisherman.  Catch-and-release fisherman.  And besides, we lived in New York City.  How could I ever have wanted a gun?

Flash forward to a three-second kitchen conversation with my wife six months ago. “You know,” she said casually, “it would be great for the girls to learn how to shoot one day, just so they know how. ”

It was all I needed to hear.  Seven days later they were gleefully squinting down the barrel of a Savage .17 HMR at a target range in the “country”, an hour north of the city where we now live.   I’m doing the same, but with the Winchester lever-action Model 1892.  Not the BB gun, mind you – but with the bad boy itself.   My stance is all wrong, and I feel a little ridiculous doing it, but I don’t care. Even if  shoot my eye out.

I think Mike Bloomberg might have a problem exporting his gun philosophy…

You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.


  1. Pugsley says:

    Are as bad with a gun as you are with a fishing pole? 😉

  2. rich tullo says:

    It amazes me that gun laws make it as hard to buy a 22 caliber target rifle as a 50 caliber elephant gun or a semi auto Glock with a 20 round capacity. I have that Marlin in 44 caliber,great gun but at $1.00 per bullet it stays home.

    Target shooting is great sport and the people that compete are generally nice and generous with time to teach beginners. Target Shooting and Gun safety teaches many good life lesson such as attention to detail, patience, and respect for the gun as well as the safety of the people around you.

    The challenge is if you have kids in the house you need to keep the ammo and gun locked in separate safes because even the smartest kids do stupid things or have stupid friends.

  3. Tory Burch Replica Handbags l Michael Kors Replica Handbags l Replica Handbags and Wallets l Prada Repica Handbags l Jimmy Choo replica handbags l Tory Burch Replica Purse and handbags l Michael Kors Replica Purses…

    […]Ralphie’s Revenge «[…]…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.