What ever happened to the world I grew up in?

Whatever happened to the world I grew up in?
Copyright(C), 1986,1996,2006, 2011 by Thomas Burnett, all rights reserved.

Remember the old days?
Before Beavis & Butthead.
Annette was a Mouseketeer.
The Beatles were on Ed Sullivan.

I Remember the day I bought my first record.
Danny & the Juniors- ‘At the Hop.’
45 R.P.M., Forty-nine cents.
I bought a model airplane that day, too.
It was my birthday.

A Piper Tri-Pacer molded in cream colored plastic.
In the halcyon days.
Before anatomically correct dolls.
When the people we elected worked for us.

I rode my bike and swam a lot.
I built model airplanes and read books.
Hershey bars still tasted good and melted when they got hot.
Everyone’s favorite color was Candy Apple Red.

I built a model of a 426 Hemi Funny Car called ‘Color Me Gone’.
Years later I saw the real one sitting with flat tires behind a gas station.
I wanted to buy it but I couldn’t.
Maybe it’s still there.

I read ‘The Ancient Mariner’ and ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’.
I hated them because they were required reading.
I always loved to read. But I hated school.
They didn’t teach me what I wanted to know.
I sneaked off and read both theories of relativity.

In school we had dress codes and homework. Responsibility.
Teachers had hardwood paddles with holes in them.
Teaching responsibility was their responsibility.
Learning responsibility was our responsibility.
In the old days.
Before ketchup was one of the four major food groups.

Coach Greet was my biology teacher.
He taught us about protoplasm.
It’s a good thing I wasn’t paying attention in that class.
His brother was the school principal.
He was a pedophile. He abused me once when I was about thirteen.
My father didn’t do anything about it.
The week I came home from Viet-Nam, my father died.
Cirrhosis of the liver.
The pedophile died too, somehow. I wouldn’t know.
I was very sad about my father.

People who placed themselves outside the law were ‘outlaws’.
They didn’t get any special treatment.
If they broke into your house, you shot them.
No questions asked – they were in YOUR house.
If they lived, they were sentenced to hard labor.
No one thought of blaming society for making them bad.
Now they sit in air conditioned day rooms and watch TV.
Working is cruel and unusual punishment for criminals.
I work seven days a week. I have to pay taxes to support them.
What’s wrong with this picture?

A couple serious bad men into a house up the street once.
The rich neighborhood. But one of the kids got away and called the police.
We had two police officers and one police car.
John and Jimmy were the officers.
They sent me around in the police car to get a few boys with rifles.
It took about ten minutes. Everyone just grabbed the .243 out of their pick-up.
We surrounded the house. Fourteen, fifteen years old. No big deal.
They said “Ya’ll don’t make no noise and don’t shoot until we do.”
John and Jimmy both carried chrome-plated .41 magnums.
Each one fired once. Two dead criminals.

Remember Saturday morning television?
Sky King, Guy Madison and Fuzzy Knight..
Roy and Dale sang ‘Happy Trails’.
Pat Buttram and Nellie belle.
Sergeant Preston of the Yukon.
Lloyd Bridges in ‘ Sea Hunt’.

Turn on your TV now.
The channel number is higher than your neighbor’s I.Q.
The talk shows are crazy.
Cartoons aren’t funny anymore.
TV evangelists are.
Bart Simpson is a role model.
Pop tarts are your kids’ idols.

I used to read comic books, too.
“Wham, Bam, Boom.”
But no one really got hurt in the comics.
The bad guys were led away in handcuffs.
Look at a comic book now.
Captain Nimrod’s genitals are being ground off in a food processor.
What does that teach your kids?

Turn on the news.
It looks like a scene from ‘Blade runner’.
Every night they flash a tote board:
Film at Eleven.

Where I grew up everyone owned a gun.
I had a rifle before I was six.
A .22 pump gallery rifle.
No one thought that was unusual at all.

When boys got as tall as a rifle, they got a rifle.
When my father gave me the rifle he said “Son, I think you are old
enough to have this.”
“But it is an adult responsibility.”
“It is a serious matter.”
“You must understand the purpose of a gun.”
“Guns are to kill. They have no other purpose.”
“Know how to use it. Learn everything about it.”
“Practice with it and keep it clean.”

“Always keep it loaded and for the rest of your life you will treat
every gun as though it were loaded.”
“Know where it is. Otherwise, do not touch it.”
“You may have to pick it up someday.”
“You may have to feed your family”.
“You may have to protect your home and your mother.”
“You will have to know if that time comes. There won’t be anyone to ask.”
“If that day ever comes, you must not be afraid. You must not hesitate.”

I was honored by my father’s trust in me.
He trained me to use it. He would send me to get it.
“When you are under arms, you are no longer a child.”
“You cannot think children’s thoughts”, he said.

Safety always came first.
I knew it was not a toy. I didn’t play with it. Ever.
I practiced with it. I had to learn ranges and trajectories.
I had to be able to disassemble it, clean it and reassemble it in the dark.
I slept with it by my bed. Otherwise I didn’t touch it.

My dad was a Colonel in the Army.
At Fort Chaffee near Fort Smith, Arkansas.
He had the duty there several nights a month.
He was back from Germany – TWICE. BOTH world wars.
My dad was born in 1898.
He had the command there several nights a month.

We lived in the Ozark mountains of Arkansas.
Near Mountainburg, North of Alma.
It was beautiful there.
Our neighbor was across the mountain about a mile away.
No phone.
No television.
We listened to the Grand old Opry with Cousin Minnie Pearl on the radio.

One night someone broke out of a prison farm.
I didn’t know what a prison farm was.
I don’t know how he found our house up in the hills.
My father was at Fort Chaffee and my mother was asleep upstairs.

When he kicked in the door I picked up my rifle and shot him.
He had a gun too, but I didn’t see it.
He walked off the patio and died.
I didn’t know that either. I stayed awake all night with my rifle.
I had never stayed awake all night before.
I was afraid he would come back.

I screamed for my mother, but she never came.
She didn’t hear me.
So I shut up and listened. It was the longest year of my life.
But I didn’t leave my post. I was afraid, but I stood my ground.

That was almost sixty years ago and I still can’t sleep at night.
And I never knew why until just now.

As I wrote this, I remembered. And I cried a little.
I’m not ashamed.

My father found him the next morning when he came home.
Two state troopers came by and talked to me.
They said he had killed someone when he escaped.
They took me to town in their car and turned on the siren.

They bought me a Coke in one of those little bottles.
It cost five cents and came out of a red machine.
It was my first Coke.

I was six years old.

There wasn’t much crime around there.
No one had very much, but they worked for what they had.

If welfare had been around then no one would have taken it.
They wouldn’t have lowered themselves.
They were mountain men.

Life was simpler then.
You pulled your own weight.
You didn’t have to be a victim.
You could protect your family and your property.
Everyone could. Everyone had to.
It was your right.
It was your duty.
It was your honor.
It was expected.

Who is taking that right away from us?
People who don’t think you are capable.
They think you’re like them.
They think you need to be protected from yourself.

Remember the NRA?
I saved my money and joined when I was sixteen.
It took me all summer to save that money.
They’ve spent it all on postage asking me for more.
I’ve been a life member, FIFTY-odd years now.
But I haven’t sent them any more money.
I gave them more than money that year.
I gave them my whole sixteenth summer.
I thought it was worth it then.
I hope it was.

No one should be able to have a gun nowadays?
Read the Constitution sometime.
We memorized the preamble in school. “We the people…”.
We loved America. I still love America.
We had a flag in our classroom.
I am flying an American flag right now.

We said the pledge of Allegiance.
No one knows what that is anymore.
They think the U.S. Constitution is the sister-ship of the Enterprise.

My father was transferred to Fort Sam Houston in Texas.
He and my mother are buried there with full military honors.
The streets were safe in San Antonio.
The people were nice.
You could bring a comb to school if it didn’t stick out of your pocket.
We brought firearms to school every day. We were in the shooting club.
Policemen were friendly.
Kids knew about policemen.
If you are ever in trouble, run to a policeman.
Everyone smiled and waved to their policemen.

Things are different now.
No one much gives a damn.
No one’s word is good anymore.
If you are honest and work hard, someone will come along.
“You can’t do that”, they’ll say.
“You have to it this way”.
They don’t know what your job is.
They don’t know what you do.
But their job is to tell you how to do it.
They are civil servants.
It doesn’t make much sense to me.

If you don’t want to work, that’s OK too.
The government will raise the taxes of those who do.
So you can ride free.
I can’t complain about it because I voted.
My vote is supposed to count but I don’t think it does anymore.

People who don’t vote complain the loudest and get more done.
If you can’t win by reason, go for emotion.
You get more media coverage that way.

Politicians are no more than ten second sound bites.
They probably don’t even exist in real life.
Who do we vote for?
Faces who create problems they can’t solve.
They tell us things are going to get better.
We know they’re lying.
But we want to hear it.
We pay them to do that.

What can people be thinking about?
There are two hundred and seventy million people in America.
About ten percent will die this year.
About a million in hospitals from simple medical mistakes.
915,000 from Cardiovascular disease
506,000 from Cancer
300,000 from miscellaneous diseases and other causes
92,000 in accidents
85,000 from Obstructive Pulmonary Disease
72,000 from Pneumonia
38,000 from AIDS
35,000 from other Infectious and Parasitic diseases
30,000 from unknown causes
27,000 from Suicide
25,000 in Homicides, of which 16,000 will involve a firearm.

Guns are involved in about half as many deaths as unknown causes!
But how could you sensationalize that?
More than 2 MILLION Americans will use a firearm this year,
To successfully defend themselves against a violent criminal.

The idiots say that we can decrease the 16,000 firearm related
homicides by outlawing guns.
There are a lot of low wattage bulbs out there posing as politicians.

Why would that number decrease?
It wouldn’t.
There would just be 2 million additional victims of violent crime every year.
Like in Chicago.

Isn’t that obvious to everyone?
What kind of solution is that?

Several dozen people were shot at random in Los Angeles in the first
four months of 1994.
By gang members and other minions of society.
None were shot by the legal owner of a registered firearm who was
committing a crime.
None were shot by a firearm of its own accord.
The vast majority of all violent crimes are committed by repeat offenders.
If a firearm is involved it’s almost always stolen.

It wasn’t purchased legally by a responsible person.
But not all persons are responsible.
That’s pretty obvious too, isn’t it?
Are you going to make everyone take Lithium when only one in 10
thousand needs it?
The criminals that use them don’t buy them legally.
Why have a gun traced back to you?

But they have them and you don’t.
Think about it.

If everyone was safe from everything.
And three meals, housing and medical care were provided.
No one would be happy.
That’s what criminals get. They aren’t happy.
That’s what animals in zoos get. They aren’t happy.

Let’s limit the sugar intake of legislators instead.
Let’s publish the way they vote in the papers every day.
Let’s hang ’em if they commit crimes against their oath of office.

They say guns contribute to crime.
They say the economy is great.
They said the Indians would be treated fairly if they gave up.

If someone wants you badly enough they don’t need a gun.
They don’t need anything except their hands.
Or a hundred dollars, if they don’t want to get their hands dirty.
Or a rock will do, or a sharp stick.
Or a string, or a seashell.

If we let everyone out of the prisons,
and locked all the guns in there instead,
Do you think crime will decrease?
Would you feel safer?

Why are people afraid of guns?
No gun has ever committed a crime.
People are violent, not guns.
People commit crimes, not guns.
If a drunk driver kills your family, that’s a violent crime.

All of the cars are registered, but that doesn’t solve the problem.
Cars contribute to violent crimes too.
Five or six times as many as guns do.

Guns will be obsolete before you know it.
More efficient things are in the works.

In the meantime I guess we can outlaw them and solve the crime problem.
Just like outlawing Cocaine and Marijuana solved the drug problem.
Just like prohibition solved the alcohol problem.
Just like the TSA solved the terrorism problem.
Well, at least there are government jobs for pedos.
There sure aren’t any jobs for the rest of us.

As long as we’re at it, why not make earthquakes illegal.
Eventually, everything will be illegal.
What difference will that make?
None of course.

It’s the same old story again.
Make honest people criminals.
Even though they aren’t.
It has never worked in the past.
It won’t work this time either.
It will make a lot of people think, though.

They will get rid of those nice, legal, registered guns.
And get nice, silenced weapons that aren’t traceable.
A lot of people are starting to do that anyway.
They think the day is coming.

Most Americans were willing to register their guns, at first.
No one liked it, but they wanted to do what was right.
Now they see what is starting to happen.
We will never get guns out of the hands of criminals.

The government’s solution is to take them away from the law abiding citizens.
So we can’t change what needs to be changed – the government.
I think we should start electing better people to public office.
It’s our own fault the government is full of bozos.
If you want to be a victim and give all your rights away,
Go ahead.

If you want to be a liberal and give all MY rights away,
Forget it.

I know what happened in Warsaw.
I know what happened at Wounded Knee.
A lot of gun dealers aren’t renewing their licenses.
A lot of people won’t register their guns anymore.

That doesn’t mean they commit crimes with them.
It doesn’t make them any less honest.
It just means they know something of history.

When governments start taking away the rights of individuals,
They always find a reason to take away just one more.
They don’t ever stop.
They make a new law.

But when laws stop benefitting the people.
People start to ignore them.
And they have that right.
It’s in the Constitution too.

Kids can be taught honesty.
Or they can learn dishonesty.
If you don’t want criminals, teach them not to be.
Or make the punishment worse than the crime.
It doesn’t have to be cruel or unusual.
It just has to be convincing.

Don’t you see what is happening?
Laws are just words on paper.
They don’t make dishonest people honest.

They don’t make honest people dishonest.
People who don’t intend to commit crimes are not criminals.
Just because someone pushed through a law.

Criminals intentionally contravene the rights of others.
They don’t care about the law.
They have rights.
Their victims don’t have rights anymore, but they should.
Victims shouldn’t have to be victims.

You shouldn’t have to have two locks on every one of your doors.
You shouldn’t have to barricade yourself in your own home every night.
But you do, don’t you.

And if someone breaks into your house,
To rob and mutilate you,
Run away.
You can’t defend yourself or your family.
If you hurt the poor misguided bastard,
He will sue you and win.

Because his parents got divorced, maybe.
He’s really a good person, just misunderstood.
He doesn’t understand why he can’t just take what he wants.
You might as well let him.

A jury will award it to him anyway if he stubs his toe.
And if he kills you in the process, it’s society’s fault.
He’s just misunderstood.

The legal system has become a joke.
The judges know it.
The policemen know it.
The lawyers know it.
The criminals know it.
You and I know it.

But the politicians don’t know it.
They don’t know what the hell is going on.
They are too busy making new laws to find out.
Everyone jokes about inept politicians,
But it’s not funny anymore.

Politicians don’t do what we want them to do anymore.
The framers of our Constitution didn’t have the hard data, they say.
The didn’t have the benefit of statistics, they say.
The Constitution needs to be interpreted, they say.

But the people who outlaw your guns,
Won’t protect you.
They won’t let the police protect you.
They won’t let the courts protect you.
Now they are saying you can’t even protect yourself.

Who ya gonna call…..Ghostbusters?
I have a gun. I keep it loaded. I know where it is.
I don’t use it for hunting.
I don’t commit crimes with it.
I don’t like to shoot it at all, in fact.
But I maintain my proficiency and keep it clean.
Something my father taught me.

Now they say I shouldn’t have it because guns contribute to violent crime.
Either they’re complete fools, or they think I am.
But I’m tired of trying to get people to think.
I’m tired of listening to idiots.

Let me leave you with a thought.
If you don’t like it, just don’t think about it.
That will make it go away.
That will solve everything.

When welfare was invented, an estimate was made:
Maybe one person in a thousand would ever use it.
Guess how many now?
In the city of San Bernardino, for example,
Five people in ten are on welfare.
Guess who pays for those four?

The other five.
What happens next year.
When it gets to be seven in ten?
The country will go bankrupt.

If there are five people in your family today,
You will be supporting twelve people.
Instead of only eight like you are now.
As well as the government.
Oh, yes you will.

Where do you suppose the money comes from?
Why do you think you don’t have any?
Do you know what a third-world country is?
Before the turn of the century
You’ll be living in one.

The government knows it, too.
Why do you think they want your guns?
You can feel the ripples in the fabric of society.
In the fifties and sixties people were happy with their lives,
Now they aren’t anymore.

Senseless violence is on the rise.
And so is crime.
Everyone seems touchy, don’t they.
They get upset for no reason sometimes.
Anymore, people will kill you just for fun.
But you already know that.

You just don’t know why.
And if you did, what could you do about it?
Nothing. Moving to Costa Rica won’t help.

I can still do something. I’m still an American.
I’m not terrorized by anyone.
I’m not ashamed to run away from a fight.
I’m not afraid to stand and deliver if I have no choice.

Come to my house and play bad-ass.
Come to rape and kill my friend or neighbor.
Or someone I never saw before. Bring your bad heart.
I’ll kill you. Not for religion. Not for gain.
For the Constitution. For my duty as a citizen.
No regrets.

5 thoughts on “What ever happened to the world I grew up in?

  1. I have little sympathy for the laments of one whose people colonized and enslaved my Shawnee and Kemetic ancestors and feel no remorse or regret for the largess accumulated via the murder, rape, torture and theft of the indigenous inhabitants of Axemum…because white people scoff at the notion of restitution for slavery and stealing the land of Native American then they are cursed and due chastisement and punishment for their wickedness…go cry to someone else, whiteman.

  2. Interesting comment by Kris. By that logic, one has to wonder what the Shawnee and Kemetic people had done to deserve being enslaved and their land stolen by the whites. More racial karma? I've been told it was so, going back to Atlantean times. No idea if that's true, just passing it on.

    I enjoyed Tom Burnett's piece; I grew up in the same times when every household I knew had at least a rifle and a shotgun, and we boys were trusted with them. Always assume it's loaded, and don't ever point it at someone unless you intend to kill them. Luckily I never had to kill anyone; also luckily the only times I had guns pointed at me I didn't get killed or even shot.

    Tom's piece is dated today but it sounds older than that; a third world country by the turn of the century? Which century?

    He kinda ruins it with the “liberals” remark. Tom Jefferson was a liberal. My guess would be that Tom Burnett has had his mind tweaked by listening to creeps on the AM radio. Bad habit, that. Anyone who listens to those shills shows poor judgment, poor discernment.

    1. You’d be wrong. I don’t listen to the radio at all. I don’t have a TV and I restrict my magazine consumption to ‘Nature’ and various scientific journals. Somehow I manage to think for myself without outside input.

  3. I stand, in acknowledgement of a life well lived, and service well-tendered.

    Thank you for who you are.

    PS @kris – fuck off. You are conflating domains.

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