The boy blithely swung the black, shoulder stocked, scoped weapon along his right side, right index finger wrapped around the trigger.
I planted my hands on my hips and focused on his movement along the lake.
The boy rose the muzzle of his air gun towards a murder of crows heading eastbound.
I furrowed my brow.
The boy discharged a pellet towards the animals, lowered the air gun back to his side, and, smiling, continued his walk along the lake.
I descended my stairs and restrained the want to tackle him.
“Tell me you have a reason to be back here with an air gun.”
His lackadaisical stroll slowed as he realized I was talking to him. Gun is still to his side, finger is still wrapped around the trigger. His to-and-fro swing can send a pellet any direction, including my way.
“You’re out here shooting birds?” I ask, because it’s illegal. His ability to walk around the lake with an outfitted air gun is also, technically, illegal. But this is Florida, these details tend to be oversights.
I’m standing 20 yards from him. His finger is still on the trigger.
“I’m doing target practice. I set up a target over there.” He points with his left hand to the grouping of pine and palms along the back fence. I scan the trees. There’s no targets of any kind. But I do know there’s bald eagles, red tipped hawks, and vultures in that vicinity. This is my backyard, after all. I know all the wildlife back here, sentient and nescient. This nescient bastard of bastards was brand new to me.
His finger is still on the trigger. He’s brought the gun to his hip. I’m standing 10 yards from him. I’m fighting the urge to whip him with his own weapon.
I don’t follow him but my eyes do. He continues crossing the yard, looking back at me watching him, his smile twisting more wryly the further he gets from me. He shoots me an annoyed look. My glare doesn’t break, but I remind him, “Try not to hit the endangered species.” I want him to. He’d HAVE to go to jail once he does.
It looks as if he’s heading towards the walking path, away from the trees, away from the lake. I turn to ascend my stairs.
“Don’t worry, I won’t hit the endangered species!” he snarked. I ball my fist around the staircase railing. That little shit! Let it go, Von, let it go.
Recently a Florida man was sentenced to 30 years in prison for firing his weapon into a car of teenagers. He killed one, but the jury was hung on the decision to charge him with first degree murder. This man was compelled to fire his weapon because the volume emanating from the vehicle he shot into was too loud. He felt inconvenienced and decided the smart solution was to add volume to volume. You ever fire a weapon in close range? There isn’t a loud enough rap song to overcome that sound.
But for him, it was logical. Cogent. Righteous.
My concern about this little brat crossing my yard to shoot at birds is that he didn’t see a problem with carrying the weapon as he did, finger on the trigger, swinging it to his side, ready to fire. My problem isn’t with the gun. It was his lack of accountability for possessing it. His disaffected demeanor in holding the gun was his pronouncement of dominion; in the case of the crows flying over, he was contented to shoot at them for the mere capacity for it. Not a care in the world.
A school-aged kid walking around the lake at 10am on a Friday afternoon. I don’t get into the whole parents argument because I am not one. But I will say this; this Florida asshole running around with a weapon at his disposal will be an adult soon. He will become an asshole law enforcer, or even better, an asshole law-maker. I can’t make him my problem now, but he will be all our problems later.