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GUNS Magazine January 2011 - Page 90

They open new worlds. s you can well imagine I get a lot of interesting mail. A This excerpt is from one of the most interesting pieces I have received in quite a while. What makes it so special GOT BOOKS? is the age of the writer. “I saw on gary Reeder’s forum that you had the last of your books from the warehouse, so I decided I had better order one. I hang around there quite a bit, and I am the youngest one there at 19. I am just getting started in my handgun adventure, gaining experience as I go. My handgun collection is very small now consisting of only two. In the short time I have had them I have managed to get a few squirrels with my .22 Single-Six and this past december I got a deer with my .44 Magnum Redhawk. “I enjoy it a lot when you post on the forums and would love to meet you sometime, but I don’t imagine you’re going to be in Michigan anytime soon and it doesn’t look like I will make it to Idaho anytime soon either. But I can start collecting your books and reading what I can on the vast expanses of the Internet. The influence you have had on the sixgun community is immeasurable and unfortunately the younger generation does not recognize or appreciate that. I have yet to meet someone my age that knows about you or Elmer and to me that is a shame because if everyone could be influenced by men like you this country would be a much better place and heading in a much better direction. Hopefully you can read all my bad writing and not get lost in the words I wrote and the way I wrote them. God Bless, Zach.” Distractions I, of course, thank young Zach for his undeserved words about me but most important are his words about the lack of knowledge and understanding of our great history by younger shooters, or a lot of older shooters for that matter. Our lives are shaped by our heredity over which we have no control and also by our environment upon which we have a great deal of control. I am thankful I have always had the urge to learn about things that many others find unimportant. When I was young, things were no different than they are with Zach’s generation except there were a lot fewer distractions and timewasters pulling at me. Fortunately for me, I mostly grew up before television was such an influence, and I found books extremely important. I was also fortunate in that political correctness had not yet raised its evil head and school libraries were stocked with books that for all intents and purposes don’t even exist on their shelves today. I think I read every dog and horse book of fiction remembering such names as Big Red, Bob, Son Of Battle and the Black Stallion. I don’t even know if these books exist anymore or if they would be read if they did. Several years ago I found a copy of The Boys Life of Theodore Roosevelt marked “discarded” by a local library. It was in excellent shape, however, had not been checked out for several decades. I guess they needed the shelf space. Just recently I have been rereading about some of the men who shaped my life and my ideas and, dated as those older books may be, basic ideas never change or they shouldn’t at least. Early influence of youngsters, especially boys, has been under a terrific assault the past few decades; an assault aimed at changing their basic nature. The old saying, “Boys will be boys,” is somehow found to be very offensive to those who want to change what has always been. Boys will be boys, or at least they should be, and they will be with the right influences. My first influences, at least for the most part, were not in movies (except for Roy, Gene, and Hoppy, and maybe a little Tarzan thrown in during my early grade school years), or television, or music but rather in books about real men. I’m still thankful for the grade school teacher who forced me to read biographies and autobiographies, especially those about our Founding Fathers and the early leaders in our republic and the westward march. If I have had influence as Zach as said, I hope it transcends just firearms knowledge and any influence I have had can be attributed directly to those who influenced me. I did a series a while back on learning, which comes in many ways by seeing, by listening, by doing and certainly by reading. There are so many books I have found to be extremely valuable to me personally. Many great books are older than I am, continued on page 89 90 WWW.GUNSMAGAZINE.COM • JANUARY 2011

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