By Jack Cawthon


I was a little surprised when I received a call from Burvil telling me that the Big Puf Hunting and Drinking Club ("We're always hunting a drink!") had called a special meeting and asked that I attend.

I had antagonized some club members by my strict interpretation of the Second Amendment right to bear arms by insisting that the Founding Fathers, and some mothers, had intended it to apply only to the weapon of choice at the time is was written: a single-shot muzzle loader.

However, I have some prime hunting land that the club hopes to lease and as I am also the only reporter covering Big Puf events--as far as I know neither the Charleston Gazette nor Fox News has ever filed a story from there--I felt it my journalistic duty to attend.

Using the highest ethical standards of journalism, I have maintained a sterling coverage of Big Puf over the years which may have contributed greatly to the Herald being named among the ten best online news sources in the state.

When I found out that the club meeting was to feature a noted national speaker I knew that this was a newsworthy event and that the Herald would once more be rewarded with a major scoop.

Lockin Loadin would be the speaker. Loadin had broken away from the National Rifle Association (NRA) some time back because of its conservative stand on guns in schools and was now touring the country promoting his program for school safety under the banner of Guns for Tots.

When I arrived at the clubhouse I was introduced to a little guy standing no more that 5 ft, 2 or so who had strapped to him a gun in a holster that was almost dragging the floor.

His first words to me were "Where's your weapon, buddy?" (I'm always on guard for men who call me "buddy" and for women who call me "honey," which I have learned is good speak for "old person.")

"You better be on the alert for the Commie, pinko liberals who are trying to take our guns away," he blustered, turning a bit red himself.

I informed him that I had my grandpap's trusty muzzle-loader at home fully primed, but that it was so heavy and that I shook so much that I needed to steady it on the shoulder of the Little Woman (5 ft., 1 in.) when I intended to shoot someone.

He gave me a disdainful look as he took to the podium. Loadin began by warning that the NRA proposal to arm teachers and other school personnel was a weak and foolhardy approach for safer schools. He emphasized that by arming the students would be a balance to be achieved.

He said an armed teacher was a dire threat to the safety of students. He added that teaching is a stressful occupation. What would stop a stressed out teacher coming in someday when the students are out of control and just opening fire on all the little hellions?

Loadin's proposal to balance the firearm power was to begin arming students as early as the first grade. Each one would be equipped with a small single-shot derringer type gun similar to the one used to kill President Lincoln and which in the classroom would be carried in a strapped-on holster.

He continued that at each step up in grade level an added bullet and stronger weapon would be added until after 12 years and upon graduation a handgun of choice would be presented to each graduate for a shot at life in a hostile world. (I had hoped this was a pun and attempt at humor, but have found that such all-out dedication seldom presents it.)

Loadin said that the advantages of his program would eliminate bullying. With everyone armed, it would be hazardous to pick on anyone and that classroom behavior would become ideal.

If some student should misbehave, he or she would be made to stand or sit in the corner deprived of weapon and with back to classmates who all were armed. This should very well get the point across that bad behavior might result in irreversible harm.

Gun training would be emphasized with time set aside at recess and special breaks for target practice. Loadin emphasized that teacher attitudes could be modified considerably and that they would become much nicer to students who they realized could outgun them if it came to a contentious showdown.

Also, they might consider carefully how much homework they loaded onto the students and be kinder and gentler in their demands.

"It's time we stood up and start early to let our school children understand that to maintain freedom from tyranny one must from time be prepared to shoot as is our Constitutional right if for no other reason than to make a point," Loadin concluded.

There was loud cheering from the club members but amid it came the rapid loud reports of gunfire. The ceiling came down in pieces, but those of us who were aware of the source just ducked. Crazy Ted had only expressed his approval by the automatic weapon he cradled.

Ted has maintained that he has found a Constitution Code, much as some people maintain there is a Bible Code explaining present happenings and predicting future ones, and that the writers of the Second Amendment spelled out that they foresaw and approved of whatever weapon would do the most good at the moment. However, one of the greatest expenses the club has is in repairing the clubhouse after Ted demonstrates. No one, so far, has reproached him, however.

But Loadin was nowhere in sight. After a careful search he was found hiding behind some club banners, white as a sheet, certainly no longer red. When he was led from the clubhouse he was screaming that the Second Amendment meant everyone "except them damned hillbillies."

I left feeling proud that I had once again exercised my First Amendment rights by covering another major story for the Herald, believing once again that the pen is mightier than the sword.

However, I do recall a story of a reporter, perhaps an urban legend from the Internet, who strongly believed and practiced under a similar banner.

He was supposedly found one day alongside a deserted country road with several puncture wounds in his body and with his fingers clutching a blunt pen, which some kind person removed from his cold dead hand.

Hur Herald from Sunny Cal
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