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A Gun in the Wrong Hands


I led the way, my friend Jill trailing behind me as we breached the sanctity of my parents’ bedroom. Tiptoeing to the bed, I pulled back the spread, then removed the pillow, proudly displaying a silver-trimmed revolver. Jill rushed over, arms outstretched, and grasped the gun in her small hand.

“Nooooo,” I screamed.

This hadn’t gone as planned. I merely intended to show off the gun, that very much resembled the one the Lone Ranger carried. Guns were for make-believe; for playing Cowboys and Indians. The only toy gun I was ever allowed to have was a water pistol, which didn’t look like a real gun. Cap guns were off-limits, so I played cowboy with my fist and pointer finger as my only firearm.

My father was an attendance officer in New York City. Working in potentially dangerous neighborhoods, he had a license to carry. I was a well-behaved, obedient child. It never crossed my father’s mind that I would do such a reckless thing; hence the gun was not under lock and key.

Both of my parents worked, and my grandmother, who lived with us, was a stay-at-home Gram.  But she died suddenly, and I became a “latchkey kid,” plastic woven lanyard around my neck with a housekey dangling at the end in plain sight. Before my parents returned home from work, I was allowed to have one friend at-a-time, in the house. And it couldn’t be a boy. By nature, I wasn’t a sneaky little kid, so the events of that day could not have been predicted.

What kind of scenario could have followed my recklessness? Upon returning from work, could my parents have found their daughter, or the neighbor’s child, dead on the bedroom floor? Gun violence is the leading cause of childhood deaths in our country. Last year alone, there were 6,000 cases of children dying in the US from gunshots.

I am reminded of the recent event in which a six-year-old brought a gun to school. Despite a forewarning, school authorities did not search him, and eventually he shot his teacher.

William Electric Black, Emmy award winning writer for Sesame Street, has developed a program of music and rhyme to teach children as young as four, the seriousness of guns, and the importance of staying away from them. Any gun that kills a child is gun in the wrong hands

“Noooo!” I screamed. Jill dropped the gun on the bed. Trembling, I concealed it once again with the pillow. I put the bedspread back in place. We ran out of the room, down the stairs, and into the backyard. The incident was never spoken of again.

A gun in the wrong hands . . .

By the grace of God, I lived to tell the story.

written by Amy Bryant, Safety Harbor Resident Blogger
Author of “You Can Go Home Again


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