I was also listening to public radio today to a man who had written a book called something like, "Fist Stick Knife Gun: A personal history of violence". I found his commentary brought up issues of my youth as well.
When I grew up it was okay to lose a fist fight. What was important in my youth was that you were not afraid to fight for your rights. Part of the way to make bullies leave you alone was to cause them enough damage that they Would leave you alone. And if you couldn't get the bully to leave you alone then you either got your friends and beat him up or you got a 2 by 4 piece of lumber and hit him in the head to discourage him from beating you up like my Uncle did in Texas around 1920.
In the 1950s when I grew up if you carried even a knife you were often considered a cheat or a sneak or a fink or a criminal. Carrying a gun only meant you were either a hardened criminal or a policeman or a soldier. There was simply no excuse for most people in carrying a gun other than hunting, police or soldier. It simply wasn't done unless you were a criminal or lived in a very dangerous place in a big city and even then people would wonder why you would live in such a dangerous place and often consider you a criminal to be carrying a gun anyway.
The man who wrote the book "Fist Stick Knife Gun" told of his own experiences in the Bronx in New York. He talked about a gang that was beating up adults and children and threatening them on a certain street corner. He got tired of them doing this one day and bought a small pistol that he could carry in his jacket pocket. He found himself feeling bigger and more powerful by carrying this weapon and almost asking for trouble every day when he passed by them. They seemed to leave him alone as well because he would always have his hand in his pocket on the trigger ready to kill a gang member as well. However, this is a smart man who went to college and finally realized he was going to get into a situation where he would kill someone and go to jail unless he broke this pattern. So he wrapped the gun in cloth and paper and threw it away at the city dump.
When I grew up a pecking order was very important because people knew where they stood good or bad right or wrong on any given day and that kept people from dying unnecessarily.
However, since hand gun manufacturers started million dollar marketing campaigns for kids to buy handguns for protection this pecking order has gotten all messed up.
In the past if you wanted to fight someone you had to carefully consider if you wanted to go to the hospital or have someone else go to the hospital or be maimed or both. And most of the time one's answer to this question was "No!" And this maintained the pecking order in grade school, Junior High and High School where most of these problems arise worldwide.
However, if you bring a gun into any situation all pecking orders are immediately lost and someone is sure to die if no one backs down. And in a drive by for example, there isn't even a chance to back down because at that point it is ONLY an execution and nothing else. It's not a fight at that point. It's only an execution!
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