I notice in this WWII Pacific Theater bombing squadron picture that dad was carrying his service revolver just above the USMC 1219C2 combat knife (later branded as KA-BAR). The revolver is where we differ. I like my first and only handgun (still less than two years old as of this writing), in this case, a pistol, a Glock 19 Gen-4. Perhaps I’m wrong about that choice, but I would like to get proficient with that first before even trying to shoot something else. Proficient for me means 100% tight group cold barrel for both the FBI and the pre-2001 FAM-TPC, every time, way under time, even in adverse conditions. I’m nowhere near that, though I am now getting consistent passes, from 90 to 100%.
Anyway, at home, besides his service revolver, dad had a .22 long rifle for varmints (what we called pocket gophers), a 12-gauge shotgun for clay pigeons (which he only did with friends who liked to do that), a “deer rifle (.30-06) for, well, deer (he liked to do that). Outside of the revolver, these others were used quite a bit right into my teenage years. I never shot the revolver. In fact, they all disappeared (nefariously, I think), except for the .22 long rifle.
The Vaught F4U Corsair (fighter-attack) dad flew for so very many years was basically a flying machine gun. Besides up to six .50 caliber wing mounted machine guns, some models could have 4-20mm cannons and rockets, bombs and extra fuel tanks. In the picture above on the USS-Bataan aircraft carrier, you can clearly see the six .50 caliber machine guns (three each wing) with a couple of guys getting ready to load up ammo in the bays. Dad’s the guy looking on nearest the prop. Dad’s “Checkerboard” Corsairs were the A-10 “Warthogs” of his day.
So, is all this bad and evil? Let me ask that another way: Did not John the Baptist give spiritual advice on saintliness of conduct to soldiers even of occupying forces? Yes. Therefore…
Moreover, defense of the innocent is a positive contribution to the virtue of justice for the common good. Defending life and limb of innocent individuals against unjust and catastrophic aggression is always in favor of the common good. That doesn’t mean anyone likes to participate in such conflict and bloodshed. That doesn’t mean you intend to kill anyone. You bring the threat to a stop because the threat is extremely gravely unjust.
We live in a fallen world. Some people, while admitting that, think it will all be magically better if we simply lay down our arms and let occupying forces rape and pillage and slaughter us. Some people want to disarm the police. I would listen to them if they were to sign up as LEOs and get assigned to the most violent hoods in Chicago and Baltimore and they were to go in without any weapons. They would last – what? – ten minutes? Probably not even that. Truth be told, these anti-gun people are cowards and/or want to see good people die continuously. Tender snowflakes want as much unjust death as possible. Yep.
But, back to my question: “I grew up with guns. Am I bad and evil if that is my experience in life?” Answer: I think this experience has introduced me, gently, slowly, to the realities of this fallen human world, and I think that is a good thing. You can’t do anything about injustice unless you have been introduced to it. Being in denial is not solving the problem. Being in denial is making certain that the problem grows.