Man, I banged those mud squab when I was a boy. Our little weapons were purchased by the NRA, and we learned how to use them. We paid penny a shot and picked up our little blocks that had the ammo stuck in them like cribbage pegs, and blasted that skeet like nothing.
I had learned how to shoot before boy scouts, but not well. When I was 9, I could have killed Charile when I swung the pistol around with both hands on the hammer as I struggled to cock it. I was a rifleman after that. Before I drove a car I could nail three doves with three shots as they came in to roost, that was until Bob almost blew off his own foot with his twelve guage. Kind of took the fun out of feeding the rats. But I did get on the range one last time and won the camp shoot, as out of practice I was, even.
I never thought of shooting connected to killing, the birds we shot ...well to us they didn't count. The rats were quite happy to eat them, and it there were thousands of them, with no hawks left to kill them because of DDT. Never saw a hawk on that marsh then. But now is a different story.
My friends and I were highly prepared to do just about what ever it took to get us home from anyplace we might have been sent. In my case that didn't involve shooting...anything, ever. As I grew older I regreted killing those doves, and now cannot kill anything that is not trying to kill me. I am quite sure that I could do that without a rifle.
I do not think peacekeepers need to carry. I do not want my law enforcers to be shooters. I want them to enforce the law. I want them to observe and act, always in such a manner that is well thought out. Effective law enforcement - truly effective law enforcement, can be achieved without violence in almost all situations. The rare few cases where weapons might be required should be well supervised and performed by experts, not by the same people who failed to keep the peace without having to resort to violence.
I see as much wrong with people who feel the need to carry as the deciders see in those who they have determined to be unfit to. When folks choose might as the deciding factor in too many times and places they stop seeing right vs. wrong and become fixated on weak vs. strong. I see this fork in the road, where the role of peacemaker diverges from that of enforcer. In places like L.A. peacemakers need to be on the beat, unarmed, with no better protection than the people who live there.
Shooting shooters is easy. Preventing weapons from appearing in urban America is not impossible at all, if that was the goal. But that is not the goal. Turning urban America into a war zone might not have been the goal of our policy makers - but by not growing beyond our failure, what are we communicating to, not just America, but to the rest of the world? Have we replaced the gas chambers of our Eugenics policy with this? Yes we have.