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When I was a kid. growing up in rural NM, my dad, an army veteran who served in the South Pacific during WW-2, wouldn't allow toy guns in the house, nor would he buy me a BB gun when I asked for one at age 9 ( although he had taught me to shoot a .22 rifle at age six, under close supervision, of course.) 
My mom relented, (her friends son my age had one), and she snuck me a BB gun the side because she knew how much I wanted one. It helped cut down on the loss of chicken feed to the Sparrows and I I got pretty good with it. After awhile shooting Sparrows became boring and I starting looking for more of a challenge. I then stupidly committed the Cardinal Sin of shooting at a Humming Bird - or any "Tweety Bird" for that matter, (just to see how close I could get to it without hitting it) Oh Boy, bad decision! The little bird had landed facing away from me, on mom's clothes line at about 30' distance. I took a fine bead on it's head and pulled off sightly to the left, then squeezed one off. 
The bird flipped upside down on the line and it's lifeless body just hung there, eyes closed and not moving. I realized I'd screwed up big time, and tears of sadness and regret welled up in my eyes. I walked over to the bird still hanging upside down at eye level from me and hummed "Taps" for it, as tears ran down my cheeks. Suddenly, the bird's eyes opened, and both of us were startled for a split second, before he zoomed off out of sight, apparently no worse for wear.
 It was a joyful moment for both of us, and for me, A Life's Lesson Learned.

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When young Tom was a tad I Let him shoot anything that he would eat.  That was the only stipulation I gave him on targets, If he wanted to shoot a song bird he would have to eat it.  When I see a kid in the neighborhood shooting at a song bird I really come unglued and have words with him and sometimes his parents.  I don't remember him ever eating a birdie but I seen him eat a rattle snake.  :nono:   

   Old Tom

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