If you keep up with my blog you are no doubt aware that I am an avid firearm enthusiast and soon-to-be owner. What you might not know is that I come from a family that is quite the opposite. When I was young I had to fight a year long battle with my mother just for a paintball gun. A few years later I looked for more realism in airsoft guns and it took another year of battling, with a long and very slow ramp up before I could enlarge my arsenal. Finally, now, after over a decade of real effort, I have finally brought air rifles into the house at the age of 20. The rest of my family shares my mothers viewpoint but without having been exposed to my habits for years. As you might image, it can become a lightly heated topic around the holidays.
This year my mom’s side of the family joined she, my brother, and me for Thanksgiving. My grandparents came in from Philly, my aunt and uncle from Michigan, and one of my cousins from NYC. In preparation for a proposed family gun lesson in the back yard, I broke out all the airsoft guns and air rifles and made sure they were in ready condition. As I was going back and forth getting the guns ready, the family made the usual wise cracks about how they would be sure to come find me when China invades. It’s all in good fun but I always see through it to a place of innocent firearm ignorance and maybe even mild fear. My aunt in particular seems to find them quite unnerving, so it came as quite a surprise when my uncle suggested a family firearm photo and my aunt agreed readily.
Cue the men sitting around waiting while the women spent a couple eons prepping their faces for, what was to be, a single gritty, gun-filled photo, and an hour later we were ready. The women looked imperceptibly different in the splotchy sun rays shining into the back yard. I’d love to see some statistics on the percentage of an average woman’s life that is wasted getting ready to go out or take a photo, but I digress. The family finally lined up and we passed out the guns – unloaded of course – instructing everyone to keep their muzzles pointed in a safe direction. My aunt Deb took my high-powered air rifle at first, but was unnerved by it when my cousin mentioned that it was the only one of my guns that was potentially deadly. My five-foot-two and a quarter mother took the 4-ft long, 12lb rifle off her hands. My uncle Bob happily took two pistols for some dual-wielding action, while my brother, grandfather, and cousin took up sub-machine guns; my aunt more happily took my light-weight air rifle. I of course joined the picture, armed with my favorite Glock replica and then the sight of the century came walking out of the house. My grandmother came walking up the yard with an M16 held at hip-height, like a Depression-era gangster with a Tommy Gun. Her new-found persona came through loud and clear in the photo. Last but certainly not least, I got my dog Jake to stop having a spaz attack in the dirt long enough to lay a cheap M4 across his legs. The result was a hilarious family photo, in which we could almost pass for a hick-y family from the mountains of Vermont. Thankfully the only neighbor around to see, what most would find unsettling in Massachusetts, was our neighbor Kevin across the street, who stopped dead in his tracks when he saw what we were doing. My mom yelled across that it was just a family photo and he walked back into his house cracking up at the sight.
Disclaimer: None of the guns seen in the above photo are real and all are legal to own as shown without a permit. All the airsoft and pellet guns were unloaded at the time of the photo and standard firearm safety practices were followed.