Bill Stancil: A rugged week we wish we could change


Bill Stancil


By Bill Stancil
The Billboard

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Things started off just right this past week. My wife said she saw a pair of bluebirds making a bee line for one of the bluebird boxes we have mounted on fence posts in the backyard. I was glad to hear that news, because that means spring is getting closer and closer.

The week stretched on and I was able to spend some time on the screened porch, where I am working on this column at the moment.

Bad seems to follow good, and sure enough, some stupid and dangerous somebody decided to use his military rifle and wipe out his school classmates, killing many and injuring others. How dumb and how horrible. Seems it was the same kind of rifle used in other massacres. Maybe the rifle should belong only to the military and not to stupid, trigger-happy, mentally-deprived people. It doesn’t look like enough background information was found for that guy.

If you are wondering why that should bother me so much, it is because I taught hunter education courses here in Nash and Edgecombe counties for more than 23 years. If that guy took the course, he fooled his instructors somehow, for he never should have been certified.

In our courses in North Carolina, students are taught about guns, and are only allowed to touch them in the segment about the kinds of hunting firearms available. Military rifles are not used in the courses. They are taught how the firearm works, what makes it dangerous, hunter ethics and the hunting laws of the state. In addition, they are taught to respect each other, the game they hunt and the land they are allowed to hunt on.

Hopefully, students who undergo hunter education training will take seriously the things they have been taught about respecting the firearm and the lives and rights of others.

I believe that the age limit of students taking the course should have remained at 12 years old or older. That rule has been changed in the past few years by the state of North Carolina to allow any age child to take the course.

However, some of the younger children taking the course have a problem understanding what is being taught. Some are completely lost when taking the test.

Let’s get back to at least 12 years old or older in order to qualify to take the course.

Every student who has completed a hunter education course in North Carolina knows that a gun is deadly and can kill an animal or a human being.

Nobody should be able to purchase a firearm without a current and thorough background check in any state they live in.

Life is a precious gift of God. Let’s make it last as long as possible.