Monday, January 16, 2006

Abraham, Martin, John & Me. We all got shot.

1968. I was there. It seemed like everyone was being shot. I distinctly remember worrying about whether or not I would be shot. Kennedy was shot just a few years prior, students were shot at Kent State, Martin Luther King Jr. was gunned down - and Bobby Kennedy was about to be. The Vietman war had become overwhelmingly unpopular and the images of those "shot" were televised nightly. I remember TV & magazines showing mob hits. They were always at restaurants. James Bond starred in "You only live Twice", and he had a LICENSE TO KILL! I didn't worry about tornados, sickness, hunger, the homeless or inflation. I worried about being shot. When I wasn't worrying - I was playing being shot. All boys back then had elaborate toy guns. I had the full scale exact replica M-16. When you pulled the trigger, the sound of a real M-16 came from a speaker in the stock. If they still made these, Police would shoot any kid on sight playing with one. I learned how to die & play dead. This was a big part of playing "guns". I always enjoyed shooting someone more than being shot, but I was much better at being shot than my friends. They didn't put their heart into it. I earned neighborhood Academy Awards for my dying.
"Shoot Brian", they'd say - "He's a great die-er." It wasn't that I died especially well, it's just that I made a great shooting victim. I lunged back as the bullet hit me. Often it took multiple rounds to kill me.

Why then - did I worry about being shot? Because being shot and shot at - was a part of American life 40 years ago. All I know is - if you were to shoot me today - I'd be a great "die-er". It's like riding a bike.