I loved fairy tales when I was a child. Not the cleaned up Disney versions, the real ones translated from the German in the Brothers Grimm collections. Some of them were very dark and horrid but I loved the evil and the plot twists. One never knew who was going to eat the innocents or who was going to turn into a prince. I never was one for the "happily ever after" ending where the good always wins out. I was more "all's well that ends well," because sometimes it's all right if good doesn't win.
So I may have enjoyed the newly released re-telling of two famous fairy tales by the National Rifle Association (NRA). On the other hand I might have thought the revisions of Hansel and Gretel and Little Red Riding Hood a bit too tame for my taste. Nobody gets killed or eaten and the children follow all the rules of safety.
One revision is called "Hansel and Gretel (Have Guns)." Hansel and Gretel leave home not because they were sent away, but because they have guns. The family is near starving, and they somehow know some areas deep in the forest that have not been hunted. After killing several animals, including a magnificent 10-point buck, they head toward home but lose their way. They come upon a witch's gingerbread house but dare not approach since they had been taught not to speak to strangers. They hear whimpering and find two boys in cages inside the witch's house. Gretel keeps her gun at the ready while Hansel rescues the boys. They all go home to the rejoicing parents, delighted with the meat supply the children brought. The two rescued boys are reunited with their parents and the villagers set off to hunt down the witch. She is captured without a single shot being fired and the sheriff locks her up in her own cage. After a very successful hunt, the villagers have a feast, eating the witch's cottage for dessert.
Illustrations taken from the Internet
Hansel and Gretel with their guns.
(note that Gretel has a pistol in addition to her rifle)
The other revision is Little Red Riding Hood, now called "Little Red Riding Hood (Has a Gun)." Seems that Red has taken lessons and carries her very own rifle. After all, she is walking alone in the woods. In this telling, Red sees the wolf as she is carrying the goodies to gramma. The wolf tries to approach her with his cunning grin, but Red puts her rifle in place and the wolf takes off. Red decides to take a little rest.
Meanwhile, back at gramma's place, a knock on the door surprises gramma. She isn't expecting Red quite so soon. There stands the wolf, not just any wolf, but the Big Bad Wolf. They proceed through the usual, "My, what big eyes you have" routine as gramma inches toward the shotgun she keeps by the door. The wolf is dismayed to hear the sound of the click when gramma took off the safety. Dratted luck. He WOULD have to run into two family members who know how to protect themselves. As luck would have it, there are hunters looking for the wolf and they happen on the scene. While gramma holds the gun pointed at the wolf's face, the hunters tie him up and take him away. And gramma and Red enjoy some tea and chicken soup.
Gramma aiming at Big Bad
The NRA strongly focuses on gun training for children. They have an interesting section on their Website in which people can send in stories and photographs of their first guns.
Photographs from the NRA Website
You can link HERE
if you wish
This little boy knows all about gun safety.
I'm really not so sure about this little guy's knowledge level.
A disclaimer: My father was a hunter. He kept several hunting rifles for various uses. I learned to shoot at an early age although I never wanted to go hunting. My brother is a contributing NRA member who owns a very large collection of guns and fears that President Obama in particular and for some reason the Democrats in general, want to take all his guns away.
I believe everyone has a right to own as many reasonable firearms as he or she wishes. The key words are "own" and "reasonable." There are few reasons for citizens to actually carry guns except for hunting or when their personal safety might be at risk. And even then, no one outside the military battlefield should even own, much less carry, a high-powered assault rifle. (Otherwise more gently known as "tactical rifle" or even "modern sporting rifle.")
There are many reasons I do not support the NRA. My biggest concern is the tremendous power they now have over the legislative branch of our government. And their steadfast position that loss of ANY control over firearms is a slippery slope ending with taking away all guns. They want no limitation whatsoever on owning or carrying guns of any kind. With no attempts to be subtle, the Senate Majority Leader has openly said he will not bring to committee a Supreme Court nominee not supported by the NRA. Seriously Mr. McConnell? That is a litmus test for a justice? They already hold tremendous power over the Congress and Senate and now they should have the same power over the judicial branch of government?
Back to the fairy tales. I have absolutely no problem with the revision of the fairy tales. The illustrations show the children to be old enough to handle a gun, although Red may be marginal. And the tales reinforce the necessity of gun training and safety. No one is forcing anyone to read them. No one is putting them in front of your children. You have to go looking for them.
Would I have read these stories to my own children? No. But then again, I also did not read the original Grimm stories to them either.