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By Jim Hammond

May 7, 2020 was Independence Day in Massachusetts. The governor declared that golf courses in the state could open under a series of restrictions to prevent the spread of Covid-19.

My golfing buddy and I were enjoying a post-round drink in the clubhouse. “Well you are now officially retired,” I said, “and the golf course is open. You must have dreamed about this day for years?”

“Sure, but you can’t play golf every damn day. I need a new sport.”

“Funny you should say that. I was cleaning out my attic and found my old .22 Ruger rifle. I haven’t used it for 20 years.”

“Well, excuse the bad pun, why not give it a shot?“ my fellow hacker said. I decided to do just that for a number of reasons.

Back in 2001, the World Trace Center Towers in New York were a pile of rubble and people were frightened at the prospect of further terrorist acts. I needed a new hobby, so I decided to buy a .22 Ruger rifle.

I joined a local rod and gun club and received instruction for members who were not only experienced in the use of firearms, but placed an emphasis on gun safety. I enjoyed plinking, but as my freelance writing career grew, I spent more time on the road.

I have now cut back on travel so I joined a local gun club and took a few lessons. But this time I concentrated on pistol shooting. My reason for the change can be found in three words spoken by politicians across the USA: “defund the police.”

Last summer riots and looting occurred in major American cities. The May 31 edition of the New York Times, described the destruction in Manhattan. “Protestors threw Molotov cocktails at the police. Broken glass littered the streets and rioters filled garbage bags with designer clothing and shoes. Trash was emptied next to police cars and set on fire.”

What did politicians say in response? Defund the police. It’s happened in many areas and it could happen where I live. If it does, I am going to defend my family. That’s why I decided to get a concealed carry license and take lessons weekly to become as skilled as possible with my 9mm and .22 pistols.

I am shocked that felons have been released from prisons because of Covid. I see politicians looking to release vicious people onto the streets because of a pandemic without mentioning the harm that can and will occur to law-abiding citizens with these convicts on the street again. I don’t want to shoot anyone, but I will protect my wife of 45 years.

My wife taught first and second graders for 36 years. Now she’s retired and the love and learning that she instilled in so many children is a testament to her character. Criminals prey on seniors like us because some of us are frail.

I won’t let them harm my wife and family. And, I still enjoy plinking. I finally managed to hit the bulls eye on a target 50 feet away.



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