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Typical conversation around my house a few days a week:



Son: “Does an Uzi shoot .32’s?”
Me: “I suppose you could get them rechambered for that, but stock they’re 9mm Luger–most of them. That’s close to a .38. Why would you want to shoot .32’s from an Uzi?”
Son: “I don’t know. How many rounds can it hold?”
Me: “Compact or full-size?”
Son: “Ummm. . . compact”
Me: “I think they came with 20-round mags, but you could get larger or smaller.”
Son: “How fast is the bullet from a .45?”
Me: “M1911A1 you mean? Something like 800 ft/sec. depending on load. That’s for a round-point.”
Son: “Is that as fast as a rifle?”

. . . and so it goes, for hours and hours.

I’ve prided myself on not limiting his curiosity in any way, really. I know that the way he learns he’s going to depend on having some external reason to take things like math and reading and writing seriously. That’s what cars and bikes were for me at his age–the detonator that set off the larger charge. He needs a topic that fascinates him enough to ignite his mind. He needs to follow his love.

But this fixation — this love — of his seems to have resulted from a perfect storm of his admiration for the glamour of guns and my feeling that they’re a tool more or less like a chainsaw: Dangerous in the wrong hands but useful in others, and as worthy a topic of enquiry as any other aspect of culture.

But still, I often wonder why in hell — of all the stunning things in the world that surrounds him, the musical instruments, vehicles, artworks, animals, books, computers, and music — the one thing that maintains his attention is . . . guns.

Anyone relate?

Should I be scared?

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