Throughout childhood I was obsessed with miniatures. I had an elaborate model railroad and constantly built model carts. " Little Guns" were my first conscious effort to collect a specific series of objects. I purposely purchased each because they represented key developments in the history of firearms and because they were so detailed. I thought I had the complete set until another boy at school showed me a beautiful .45 caliber automatic. I searched, but couldn't buy it anywhere. He refused to trade for it so my collection was incomplete.
Eventually I wanted a BB gun. Although my father had won marksmanship medals in World War II, he was opposed. Finally he relented but insisted on a full regimen of proper gun training and safety. I was required to treat the BB rifle as though it were a real gun. We often shot at targets together and he was very good. One day he was sitting on the back porch and a flock of blackbirds descended in the yard. I threw a small tin can in their midst but they settled back down. To show my father what a good shot I was I got my rifle and aimed at the can thinking the noise would scare them away. The BB hit the can, ricocheted off and went through the head of a blackbird. It fell over dead and its mate frantically hovered over it while the rest of the flock flew away. I was stunned. I told my father that I never meant to hurt it. He was silent. Then he told me I finally knew about guns. I put the blackbird in a shoe box and together we buried it in the back hedges.
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