What a pity our society has become so jittery when it comes to guns. I understand about the horrific mass-shootings which have happened during the past few decades. Even so, almost all gun owners are responsible citizens who wouldn’t even think of pointing a gun at anybody.
Boys like me had tremendous fun with cap guns and their ammunition. We never grew up to be assassins and mass-murdering sociopath’s like many child psychologists suggested. We knew the difference between pretending and reality.
I fondly remember the fun my friends and I had with caps. One afternoon in Jericho Hill School’s intermediate dorm, I let Michael fire my cap pistol. As he did so, it jammed. Then the paper tape protruding from the gun caught fire. I couldn’t help laughing at Michael standing there with a flaming pistol in his hand. Talk about a heater, eh?
My friend Brian gave me a wonderful suggestion one afternoon when I was still in the junior dorm. “If you scratch those black dots, they’ll fizzle,” he confided. Then he showed me by scratching the tape with his thumb nail. Sure enough, a tiny pink flame flared up from it. To my delight, I was able to do the same thing as him.
Another time, Brian suggested we bang the paper tape with rocks to make them explode. We both rushed to the parking lot, picked up a pebble each, and proceeded to hit each dot on our cap rolls against the curb. The small explosions amused us greatly.
But banging and scratching caps didn’t look as brilliant during the day. While having been volunteered by our supervisor to carry the dorm’s laundry to the laundry room in another building, I noticed an empty, windowless room. It was nice and dark, just perfect for what I planned to do. Before heading back to our nasty supervisor, I knelt down and began scratching those spots of gunpowder. Right in the middle of my fun, a deaf boy noticed me. He ran to Sachi, the woman in charge of the laundry, and informed on me. In her best broken English, she ordered me out of the building. Though I liked her, I resented the fact that she thought I could set the building on fire with my caps.
Children can’t have that kind of fun today, unless their parents, guardians, caregivers, or supervisors let them. I’ve heard so many ridiculous stories of school officials expelling little children for even pointing a finger like a gun. What they don’t understand is that it isn’t the weapon that’s at fault. Overwhelming empirical evidence proves that mentally-disturbed people are the ones who go on shooting rampages. Those are the folks who should be dealt with appropriately, not little boys being little boys.
You can read more boyish mischief stories in my Deliverance from Jericho memoir. I’m astonished at all the harmless trouble I caused. Additionally, you’ll enjoy the little victories we had against the system which held us captive in that residential facility.