Long-arms Lecture…

So while walking to school this morning, the boy asked me, “How do we kill birds?”
Now, my son isn’t vindictive toward our fine avian friends, he just knows that we as omnivorous mammals, meat must be killed prior to ingestion. Plus, my friend and I were talking about spotting birds (I had apparently seen a crane in flight while I was driving last night), so the whole thing isn’t entirely out of context.

I started by explaining that we have farms that raise chickens and turkeys for eating. The lad said he knew (I’ve explained it before), but how to we kill birds in the sky?

Well here we go. My son, being a five year old, has already seen and pretended to use many different weapons. Most of them have been blasters or phasers from science fiction, and I’m fine with that. But still I refuse to deny him knowledge of most things that he would find out anyway and would rather he know them properly.

I started with the fact there are handguns/pistols, and there are long-arms. That’s an easy enough place to differentiate small guns from big guns. So we’re talking about hunting, and unless you’re a friend of my dad’s, you hunt with a long-arm.

In long-arms, you can then break down into groups shotguns, rifles, and assault rifles. Assault rifles are used by soldiers in battle. That’s the only place they’re needed. Easy enough to understand.

Rifles, next, are used to hunt bigger animals like deer and wild pigs. They shoot a single big bullet in one spot. That’s what you need to take down larger animals.

So with smaller animals like birds, you need a smaller bullet. That’s when you use shotguns. Shotguns don’t fire one big bullet, they fire a bunch of little bullets over an area. So that’s what you take with you when you, for example, go out into a swamp and hunt ducks.

What about moose, dad? Can you hunt moose?

Sure you can. What do you want to use to hunt a big moose? Something that shoots a big bullet or little bullets?

A rifle.

That’s right, good job. Glad it makes some sense.

We continue walking.

Dad, look at this picture I drew. That’s the sun, that’s Earth, that’s Jupiter, and, uh, what other planets are there?

Lesson learned. I have no qualms with my children knowing about life and death, particularly since they’re so intertwined. I wouldn’t mind showing him how the different weapons work next time we’re visiting Granddad and checking out his collection of vintage toys.

Addendum: Since I have an inquisitive mind, I went ahead and Googled long-arms. Nothing. Apparently I’ve been using the wrong term for years. According to Wikipedia, the terms are long guns and short guns. I probably got mixed up with the fact that my mum has used long-arm quilting machines for years. Glad I didn’t bring up that fact and confound the boy further.