The Shotgun and the Vice-Principle

In today's world, just about anything one does at school can get them in serious trouble. Why, kids get in trouble for pointing a finger at someone else pretending it is a firearm. Any doofus should know that a finger can't shoot a bullet. It can't even make any noise. The person shooting an imaginary gun has to supply the "bang" themselves. But, to the principles office they go! Many times they are banned from school for a few days because of this horrible incident. And, if someone has a knife at school, why they call out the riot squad to handle this dangerous situation and this obviously deranged student!

When I was in Junior High, for you modern day people....Middle School, all the boys carried a pocket knife. It was standard issue in the family as soon as one was old enough to handle it responsibly. All boys carried them. We were taught that if you were bitten by a snake you could save your life with a knife by lancing the bites and sucking out the poison, spitting it out of course. We played with our knives at school. Stuck them in the pine trees. Played mumblety peg. Admired them in class trying to decide who had the best and prettiest knife. No one cared. You see, in those days we actually knew those knives would cut you. We understood that they would kill you if a person was stabbed in the right place. Somehow, we innately knew this. How sad it is that boys no longer know how much fun it is to own and carry a pocketknife. Very few do.

But, a gun!! Now that's a horse of a different color altogether! If one is even found on a campus in the trunk of a car parked at the further reaches of the parking lot, someone is in serious trouble. It could be innocently forgotten by a person who was deer hunting the evening before and left in the trunk but it is treated as a national emergency. Being banned from school for the rest of the year is not out of the question for our PC society. My how times have changed! The following little story will help you understand the difference.

My buddies and I used to go dove hunting just about every afternoon in the Fall and we would take our hunting equipment to school in the trunk of our cars. A full complement of equipment was in there. There were the camouflage pants and hunting vest, the boots, the shotgun and a lot of shells. After school, my friends and I would go to our cars and get our gear then we would meet at the agreed car, load up and head to the dove field which would be under siege that afternoon. One day, in particular, I had parked my 1949 Ford across the street in front of Tifton High School because someone had gotten my "regular" parking spot around the corner. They shouldn't have done that. My name was on the curb there, or so I thought. Anyway, after school I went to my car and retrieved my hunting gear out of my trunk. I put on my boots, slipped on my camouflaged pants over my jeans, put on my hunting vest with all my shells in it, put my hunting cap on and grabbed my shotgun. I thought nothing about it at all. It was a common scene in South Georgia during hunting season. After donning all of that hunting attire, I swung my shotgun over my shoulder after I had checked it to make sure it wasn't loaded then I started across the front campus heading to the street behind the school where my buddy's car was parked. Kids were everywhere. Teachers were everywhere. And, here I was walking around the end of the building toward the back campus and the car. As I rounded the side of the building, someone said: "Hey, Bill, where you going?" It was our Vice Principle. He was standing on the porch of the side entrance to the school watching the kids leave for the day. "I'm going dove hunting with Joe and Bobby" I said. "What kind of gun do you have there?" "It's a Winchester model 12, twenty gauge," I replied. Then he said, "let me look at it." He took my shotgun, pointed it up as if aiming at a bird, and said: "this is a good feeling gun." "I bet it shoots good." "It sure does" was my instant reply. Then he handed the gun back to me and said: "ya'll have a good time." After that little exchange, I made my way on across the back campus to my buddies who were waiting behind the Ag building eagerly anticipating my arrival so we could go shoot some doves. Had a good day in the field that afternoon.

Now, what do you think would happen today? My soul, the national guard would be called out! The Sheriff's Department would come down on the area armed to the hilt and dressed out in riot gear. Every school in the county would go on lockdown. I would have been surrounded with an army of men, captured, hauled off to the county jail and charged with terrorism. In addition to that, the Vice Principle would be fired as an accomplice in a very dangerous, terroristic threat situation. Counseling sessions would be ordered for all those students who were traumatized by the situation. I'm just glad I lived in that different day. I know society has changed and I know we can't operate the way we used to but it is a crying shame that we have to deal with things the way we must in today's world.

As it turned out, we had a wonderful day of dove shooting on someone's farmland outside of Tifton. Later that day, we returned to the campus and I unloaded my gear and game, put it all back in the trunk of my car which was still parked across the street from the school, and made my way home to clean the doves I had bagged. The true story of The Shotgun and the Vice Principle ended in peace and tranquility. Good eating too!

William F. Harrell

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