I grew up in a small town at a time when one of the most popular projects in high school shop class was building a gun rack that would fit into the rear window of a pickup truck. Nearly everyone who owned a truck (I didn’t but desperately wanted one) had it adorned with a rack and a rifle.
I attended college in a small city then spent several years living and working in a medium size city; one then troubled by more than its share of gun violence. Among other changes, I noticed that truck gun racks became less common in relation to the size of the city and the shifting of America’s attitude toward guns. You now rarely see one.
My family and I now live what is commonly referred to as a “college town.” It’s a nice community and a pleasant place to live. The university provides the area with something of an eclectic mix. We live a few miles outside the city; not rural in the traditional sense, certainly, but nothing close to a subdivision life.
I share this to help illustrate the following story. A couple of days ago my daughter and I left our house to run an errand and drove past a neighbor’s house. He was sitting in the front yard in a lawn chair with a shogun in his lap. My daughter and I both found this somewhat amusing but not threatening in the least. Neither, I doubt, would anyone else who drove past, including the state patrolman who lives a couple of miles down the road.
When I returned an hour or so later he was gone, having, I assumed, successfully completed his goal of eliminating a mole from his yard.
I later reflected on this, and my sometimes own prejudicial attitudes. I thought nothing of my rural neighbor wielding a 12 gauge in his front yard (I assumed he was trying to rid his yard of a mole). But I had witnessed the same sight in the city in which I once lived I my response certainly would have differed, probably without reason.