I was originally from Minnesota where I lived up north for a time. In hunting country. I found out at an early age that I didn't enjoy hunting at all. I learned that I actually HATE the idea of killing little or big critters. It's just so damn unfair.
Our ancestors may have had to hunt for food. That doesn't trouble me. Not much anyway. I must admit that it would be difficult for me to work as a butcher taking animals apart. I've had to gut and skin a few small animals. Not my favorite thing to do. When I was about 14 years old I said; "never again".
I was 16 when I drove with a couple of friends to the Kratka Ridge Skiing Area up Angeles Crest Highway. The car was a brand spanking new Volvo P2. Small as a VW Bug but with an engine twice the size. At the end of the day on the hill we were exhausted. Shadows on the moguls made skiing difficult if not dangerous. We packed up and started back down the highway. By the time we were about half way home it had become dark and a thick fog slowed us to about 30 miles an hour. As we twisted and turned down the road there was an instant movement and a WHOMP.
We had unavoidably hit a small deer, or rather it had hit us. The poor animal was laying on top of the snow plowed berm next to the road. It was awake, hurt, bleeding from the nose and mouth, and terribly frightened. One of our guys tried to approach it. It screamed and scrambled to stand on three legs. One hung limp and was obviously broken and dragging. The deer managed to limp about 6 feet toward toward some bushes. Then it fell and died. All of us damn near cried.
We turned back to the car parked at the side of the road about 20 feet away. The left front fender and the hood were badly dented. The right side of the windshield was dented outward where my head hit it, and the glass shattered. (Pre-seat belt days.) It was the top of my head that hit the windshield and one of my friends looked at me and told me I was bleeding from what looked like a dozen small cuts. Other than that, and my bruised and hurting head, no one else was hurt. Except the deer of course.
The memory of the accident is clear in my mind some 60 years later. The event was the exact date that I determined never to hurt living animals, ever. My promise to myself was more than simply intending to not hunt anymore. It was a positive instant that became a soft spot in my heart for animals, big and small.
So, in the 5 years between 1947 and 1952 I swore off hunting. I had learned how to handle a rifle 22 gauge, a handgun (32 caliber) and a small shotgun (410). Since that time I've never pointed a gun at a living animal. When I was in the USAF I learned to shoot an officers 45 automatic pistol and a M-1 Carbine. I was a good shot. My experience with guns is not impressive, but if I had to use one I could. Linda and I have never felt the need to have a gun in the house for protection. We figured that with our little kids running around, a gun posed more of a danger than any kind of intruder. In today's world I am re-thinking on that - and the kids are gone now.
Should every adult American have the right to purchase and keep a gun? I reallly don't think so. Yet, it is one of our freedoms and should not be trifled with. I think that common sense rules must qualify a person to purchase and own guns. There are too many troubled adults in our society for us to sell guns like a loaf of bread. Guns can be dangerous in the wrong hands.
I think I will ponder that for a while before answering.