By: Teresa Mull
As you gather round to open Christmas gifts, cook Christmas dinner, and spend time with loved ones today, there’s a good chance “A Christmas Story” is on TV in the background.
The classic Christmas movie, which TBS and TNT play as a 24-hour marathon beginning on Christmas Eve, was released 35 years ago, when gun grabbers were less aggressive, and a child could wish for and receive – gasp! – a gun for Christmas, and not be considered dangerous.
There will likely come a time, not long now, when “A Christmas Story” starts triggering people and is outlawed from public viewing. (One town in Iowa has already passed an ordinance banning toy guns.)
Watch and enjoy this historically poignant film and remember, as you do, that:
Ralphie’s first notion of gun ownership involves self-defense
Ralphie Parker, the little boy whose obsession with owning an “official Red Ryder carbine-action, two hundred shot range model air rifle with a compass in the stock, and this thing which tells time,” fantasizes about what he’ll do with the gun once it’s his. His first daydream shows him defending his family against a hoard of robbers.
The next time you hear someone calling for more gun control, ask him what he would do if “creeping marauders [were] burrowing through the snow toward the kitchen where only you and you alone stand between your tiny, huddled family and insensate evil.”
Uhm, Castle Doctrine anyone?
Gun culture bonds people
Ralphie’s father teaches him how carefully to load the new gun he surprises his disappointed son with.
“I had one when I was eight years old,” the father explains to the agitated mother, reliving with giddy nostalgia the same joy he himself felt as a young boy when he first handled a BB gun.
Gun culture involves numerous sensory experiences; the smell, touch, and physical memories of shooting and handling a firearm bonds people in a way that's unlike other pastimes.
Ralphie, of course, doesn’t actually shoot his eye out, but he does suffer an injury brought on by negligence. It’s lucky for Ralphie that he was wearing glasses, and his near-miss reminds us that gun-related injuries are mostly a result of ignorance and/or carelessness.
Be safe and have fun!
Teresa Mull is editor of Gunpowder Magazine. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.