That’s a jarring pairing of words, no? Beautiful guns. I’ve no doubt I just scared more than a few of you.
Yet, it’s true. There are guns that are works of art. There are shotguns, barrels-blued, engraved to a fine degree with stocks well-oiled and beautifully grained. There are guns that are highly prized as art. Guns bid to astronomical price for their historical or aesthetic value.
There are beautiful guns.
And I own two.
As I write, I know I’m about to lose a few readers. It’s happened before (more than a few times). I lost a few “regulars” when I expressed my admiration for Barack Obama (I still admire the man...leave if you must).
But, now, there’s this...(and this’ll be a killer): I used to hunt.
Yes, it’s true. I used to hunt upland game birds and waterfowl. With a gun. I’ve killed. What’s most horrific, I wounded. I did.
I’ve no desire to explain myself. It’d be a mystic explication. It’d be a tale of amazing dogs. A recounting of fog at dawn. A story of footfalls in frigid corn stubble, the tragedy of predator and prey.
But I will tell you this: I plucked each and every feather with my own fingers. Not with pleasure. Not without remorse. I prayed for, and gloried in, each and every soul that gave me sustenance. My hands have been bloodied...unlike the hands that pluck boneless, skinless chicken thighs from styrofoamed and plastic-wrapped packages bought without fore- or afterthought at the grocery.
And I would tell you this: My guns were beautiful.
I had a Weatherby 12 gauge shotgun with an “English” walnut stock that I hand-rubbed with fine oil ‘til the grain revealed itself in all its complex beauty. I had the trigger-guard engraved with the same totem I have tattooed on my back.
I also owned a Beretta 20 gauge over-under replete with beautiful engravings (Italians know how to do filigree. They surely do). This was a “gentler” gun, though no less lethal.
They cost me thousands. I admired them. Tended to them. Cleaned them, oiled them, polished them. They were beautiful guns.
They reside, today, at the local police station. They may very well reside there forever. I don’t trust myself enough to bring them home.
But theirs is a fearsome beauty.
Beauty with the power to kill.
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