By Jack Cawthon

I'm going to shoot some words by you under my First Amendment rights and I hope you will hold off shooting some bullets my way under your Second Amendment rights until I can explain myself. Failing that, I intend to swiftly run and hide in the wilderness of Preston County, as I so often do after I write many of my columns.

It must have been a journalism major or poet who made the ridiculous statement that words are mightier than the sword.

I know that if I am attacked by a frenzied, knife-wielder that I won't do much to protect myself by hurling words at him, or, more likely, in my case, her.

I grew up around guns and hunting. We didn't have deer in Gilmer County then, but squirrels and rabbits were common. An uncle would come in from Weston for rabbit season, which opened on what was then called Armistice Day, November 11. He, my dad, and my brother would go hunting and it would be a holiday spirit in the old homestead with the harvest prepared for the table by my mom.

I hunted a little in my teens, mainly because country kids were supposed to do that. As I became older, it seemed rather silly to mess with all that blood and gore in taking down a little woodland creature that was doing me no harm when I could go to Kroger and get a good supply of meat already killed and cleaned, while feeling no guilt in the process.

(I can hear you dyed-in-the-wool hill folks snickering that I'm a wimp because a real man is supposed to do what a real man is supposedÂ…well, you know!)

As I became older, deer became plentiful. But if you think I'm going to draw a bead on one of those beautiful creatures, go ahead and consider me the wimp. I am sure that if I looked through the sights into those deer-in-the-headlights eyes they would remind me of some old girlfriends. Come to think of it, considering what some of them did to me, or, worse, what they didn't do, that might be reason enough to squeeze the trigger. So, forget that analogy.

Anyway, to prove that I am inconsistent, should you need proof, as a non-hunter I belong to three hunting clubs chartered by the state. This doesn't count the two-man exclusive club I have on Barbecue Run. I don't hunt with any of them but have enough vested interests to meet and pretend I'm a wannabe and one of the crowd. I camp with the two at the old home place on Barbecue, so I am treading lightly with my words as sometimes the deer are scarce and like all hunters they hate to go home without bagging something.

I trust I have come lightly into the subject by beating around the bush, but something has to be done about guns in this country. With the two major shootings recently, one of multiple murders in New York and the three cops shot in Pittsburgh, it's silly to assume it isn't guns that kill when nuts pull the trigger.

I feel that I have the solution, as you know I would. I am a full believer in the Second Amendment right to bear arms, but here is where everyone is missing the point. Sure we have that right, but what sort of arms? When the Amendment was written there were no assault rifles and no guns small enough to fit into a purse. (This isn't to assume that women are more dangerous than men, just that they have more justification.)

Here is what I think was the intent of the framers of that Amendment: everyone has the right to a muzzle-loading rifle. George Washington's troops did right well with only that weapon at hand. We didn't have AK47s or small hand guns to mow down the British.

If everyone were armed only with a muzzle-loader there would be far less carnage today. I can well imagine that if I am ticked off with my neighbor and it comes to a showdown and I decide to settle the matter once and for all I will give mighty good thought as to how I will expend that one shot.

I would be shaking so much I couldn't hit the side of a barn in the first place, and if I were silly enough to cut loose with that one shot, by the time I tried pouring powder into the barrel for reloading, spilling it all over the place, dropping the musket ball and scrambling to find it and then trying to ram the charge home, my neighbor would have time enough to take good careful aim with his one shot and the matter would be settled once and for all.

So you see how we can have our guns under our rights and the government wouldn't dare pry them from our cold dead hands except in my case after I'm already dead. I throw out this solution to gun control in hopes that the National Rifle Association will take my advice and call for a ban on all guns except muzzle-loaders as their next agenda.

However, if for some reason you don't agree and I have offended you in the process, and should you have your multiple-shot weapon handy and you really feel like shooting something to relive the tension, blow that lousy computer to kingdom come. I hate that sucker and could take it out with one shot easily. No one gets hard jail time for shooting out Windows.

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