A gun, an axe, and a shovel walk into a bar….

For all the gun enthusiasts who claim I’m always attacking them—something to make them feel better:

Here’s what the gun enthusiasts glean from that dialogue: “A gun is a tool; no better or no worse than any other tool: an axe, a shovel or anything. A gun is as good or as bad as the man using it. Remember that.”

I thought about the statement and did a search for famous axe-murderers. Well, there’s Lizzie Borden, though she was acquitted of the crime, so I’m not sure if she even counts. The other names aren’t that famous, and Jake Bird, the gold standard of axe murderers, claimed to have killed forty-four people as he hoboed about the countryside—and most of us have never even heard of him. He was hanged for one such crime in 1949. Nobody ever proved he had committed others. I guess the axe has failed miserably as a murder weapon.

Now shovel-murderers are even harder to find; in fact, despite Shane’s comments, screwdrivers and chisels are much more dangerous than shovels, and don’t even get me started on awls!

Shane was one of the all-time great films based on a pretty darn good book, but that doesn’t mean that what the actor (Alan Ladd) read from his script is any more meaningful than Kate Winslet’s assurance to Leonardo DiCaprio near the end of Titanic that she’ll never let go…which she did…about ten seconds later. Movies are great fun, but they’re movies; and all the gunnuts (I like it as one word) who want to quote Shane should not forget that he also says this:

“[T]here’s no living with…with a killing. There’s no going back from one. Right or wrong, it’s a brand.”

Which brings me, finally, to the following:

Gun show

If you’re reading my blog, you’re probably not at the firearm and knife show perusing the rifles, shotguns, and “fine militaria.” And if you’re not there, you might be interested in what I have planned for next year: the Shane Memorial (pretty sure he’s dead) Axe and Shovel Show. We can have it at Home Depot or Lowe’s or your local independent axe and shovel dealer.

Let me know if you’re interested.

Please: no awls.

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Chuck Radda

I'm a former high school English teacher, currently a literacy volunteer and novelist. I invite your responses right here or to chuckradda@gmail.com. You can also follow me on Facebook and on Twitter—where I tweet annually at @chuckrad45.

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