An Open Letter to You Gun Nuts

Dear Gun Nuts,

As you know, I read you faithfully, even though I disagree with just about everything you say (except when Say Uncle says kind things about me; I think we both know I agree with saying nice things about me) and I have come to learn some important things.

One, treat every gun as if it is loaded.

Two, don’t point at anything you don’t want to shoot.

Three, keep your finger off the trigger unless you are fixing to shoot something in the next second.

Four, the stuff that comes out of a barrel of a gun can kill you by driving pieces of metal into you.  It does this by being propelled by an explosion cause by gunpowder.

Five, things can still be dangerous, years after being made, hence the trouble with leaving, say, landmines around.

I have come to accept these five things as Truth. (Ha, and it looks as if y’all have trained me well in your rules, even though I didn’t know they were actual rules.)

So, I find it hard to make sense of the story of poor Sam White.  Why would he have been trying to “restore” something he surely should have called the bomb squad in to deal with?


Aunt B.

7 thoughts on “An Open Letter to You Gun Nuts

  1. Pingback: SayUncle » Careful with ordnance

  2. it was from the Civil War. people the world over get strange about their own countries’ civil wars, for some reason. things get treated differently when they’re Civil War memorabilia.

    from one angle, he was dealing with a museum piece, and a genuine piece of history, so to say he should’ve just had it destroyed (which is what the bomb squad do when they tell you they’re “disposing” of something) is to say we should just blow up bits of our past. even i take askance at that, unless it’s absolutely necessary. but that’s not to say we shouldn’t be bloody damn careful around stuff that goes boom, and mr. White apparently wasn’t careful enough.

    as well, he was dealing with a black powder piece. black powder isn’t used very much any more, so most people don’t really know all the ways in which it’s different from modern explosives. folks remember that water neutralizes it (which is true), and often think things that’ve been buried in the dirt for a hundred-plus years surely must’ve got wet enough by now — and usually, they have. this piece was apparently an old naval gun shell, originally designed to be extra watertight. mr. White should’ve known that, though.

    folks forget that black powder isn’t really sensitive to hard blows. unlike modern primary explosives (but like modern secondary explosives), you can beat on black powder all day and you’ll just get sore, unless you strike a spark. folks also forget that black powder is really sensitive to heat. sparks, fire, yes, but even just heating it as in an oven will set it off.

    Sam White apparently wanted the black powder out of his antique, and since the original filling hole (stuffed with a fuze) probably couldn’t be opened (it was likely corroded shut, plus, the old fuze would’ve had significant antique and historical value in itself), he probably tried to drill a hole elsewhere to flush the b.p. out with water. sensible idea in and of itself, honestly. problem is, you gotta make really damn sure the drill bit doesn’t heat up very much at all, and that seems to’ve been where mr. White failed. honestly, he should’ve known better, but even the best can screw up.

    should’ve known better, because the problem of old blackpowder stuff that’s supposed to be harmless is not new. Mark Twain wrote of it ages ago. (he also wrote, hilariously, of pepperbox revolvers, but that’s a tale for another day.)

  3. As Uncle said, because we can, that’s why we do such things. And, of course, Mr. White was a Southerner. We’re just that way.

  4. I saved it, Nomen. And can I just say, too, how much I love that I have readers who know shit like this?

    Tennessee Budd, I just find it sad that 150 years after the war, your side is still taking casualties.

  5. Ma’am, it’s a Boy Thing, you wouldn’t understand.
    Mr. Clemens gives no practical advice, just literary horrors.

    You, and Lt.Col. Cooper, got it right the first time, with the

    Four Rules. Always observe the Four Rules, and you’ll never shoot anybody by accident.

    As to shooting somebody on purpose, that’s between you, and The Lord, and yer conscience, and what kind of people you hang out with, and what kind of government you have where you live, and….

  6. Tennessee Budd, I just find it sad that 150 years after the war, your side is still taking casualties.


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