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Guns November 26th, 2013 | Author: David

Guns

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When I was reading Japan Today this week, I noticed that there were two stories that involved guns. In America, that would not surprise me, but in Japan, I think it’s very unusual.

The first story was about a hunter who shot one of his friends by mistake because he thought he was a wild boar. The second was about a boy who found a gun in his house and brought it into school. A teacher confiscated it, and then just left it on a desk in the staffroom, where another teacher picked it up and fired it by mistake! I found that story hard to believe, but apparently, both of the teachers presumed that the gun was a fake. I suppose that is natural in a country like Japan.

In America, guns are a part of life. I remember visiting a friend in Atlanta once, and he told me that he carried a pump-action shotgun in the back of his car for protection. I couldn’t believe it! I know that there are companies in America that even make guns for children.

Britain is a bit like Japan in that guns are quite an unusual sight. As you know, most policemen do not carry them, and it is illegal for anyone to possess any kind of pistol.

The only guns you do see in Britain are shotguns. These are used by farmers to kill rabbits and foxes, and for sports like clay-pigeon shooting and pheasant shooting. When I was a child, my father used to have a shotgun, and I used to use it as well. I had to apply to the police for a special license to do that. These days, the law is much stricter, and it is very difficult for anyone to get a gun license.

Anyway, when I read the stories, I wondered how many Japanese people have ever seen, touched, or maybe even fired a gun. If you have, what kind was it? Where did you see it?

If you haven’t, do you know anyone who has? And what did you think about the news stories I mentioned above?

Look forward to reading your comments.

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Comments

  1. ayano
    Commented on
    2013/11/27 at 11:02

    Hi, David.
    What does clay-pigeon shooting mean??

  2. David
    Commented on
    2013/11/27 at 11:52

    Hi ayano,

    It’s a kind of target shooting sport. Have a look at this.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pOWf6NAih5w

  3. David
    Commented on
    2013/11/27 at 11:52

    (I think the Americans call it “trap shooting.”)

  4. Biwa
    Commented on
    2013/11/27 at 12:20

    Hi ayano,

    Is this your first time you’ve posted a comment? If so, nice to have you with us! :)

    David has already answered your question, but just for an additional information, “clay-pigeon shooting” seems to mean “クレー射撃”. According to Wiki, it’s a kind of sport where they shoot a clay-dish(皿状の陶器) as a target. The word “pigeon” comes from the history of shooting real pigeons in the old days. (I didin’t know that, either!)

    Hi everyone,

    I have never seen or touched a real gun in my life before, even the ones that are used for sports. Come to think of it, I have never seen those shooting competitions even though I know they are one of the official sports in the Olympics. Guns are something really far away from my life except for the water guns I used to play with!

    The story of the old hunter who mistook his friend for a wild boar is just stupid. As many of the commenters (Japan Today’s) said, the height of a wild boar is just about the height of a human’s knee, and I don’t think you would ever shoot your friend in the chest if you were really aiming a boar!

    This story also reminded me of another article of Japan Today I read a couple of weeks ago. It said that in Japan, the number of young women hunters have been increasing recently, especially in Hokkaido. However, among the approximate 200,000 hunters in Japan (I didn’t know that there were so many!), most of them are men in their 60s to 70s, and women hunters are still only one percent of the total. Anyway, I was quite surprised that there were so many hunters in this country.

    As for the Fukuoka case, I don’t really understand why the father was keeping a gun- was he a hunter, too?- or why he had kept it where his son could easily reach. I’m going to look for some more details.

  5. Biwa
    Commented on
    2013/11/27 at 12:23

    Sorry, the first sentence in my comment should be:
    “Is this ‘the’ first time you’ve posted a comment?”

  6. YU
    Commented on
    2013/11/27 at 5:09

    Hi Biwa and everyone,

    > Guns are something really far away from my life except for the water guns I used to play with!

    Same here.
    May I ask you some questions?
    I thought you’ve told us you lived in the US when you were very small. Do you know if your parents had a gun for self-defence at home, too? If they had it, did you know where they kept it at home? Or only local people have guns at home in the US?

    > The story of the old hunter who mistook his friend for a wild boar is just stupid.

    I think so, too!

    > most of them are men in their 60s to 70s,

    I wonder what are the requirements for getting a license to have a gun in Japan.
    I have a feeling that I hear similar stories at least a couple of times every year in Japan, and the people who shoot people by mistake are often older men. What kind of punishments do they get? Is there any tests to check their shooting skills before they get their licenses like a driver’s license? Is it automatically extended every year without checking if their skills are still sufficient? If so, it’s very scary. I’m not against for elderly people at all, but as you know we lose athletic ability as we get old!

    As for the second case, it’s very careless of the school to put the gun into ”生徒から没収したものを入れる箱” and leave it for many days there. Besides, I heard that they kept the fact that their teacher had fired it and realizd it wasn’t a fake gun from the police for two days. I wonder why they didn’t report it at once. It’s very suspicious!

  7. amo
    Commented on
    2013/11/28 at 12:23

    Hi David,

    >I wondered how many Japanese people have ever seen, touched, or maybe even fired a gun. If you have, what kind was it? Where did you see it?

    I have seen guns since I was a child, because I grew up in Okinawa and there are a lot of American soldiers there. You can see American soldiers with their guns when you happen to pass by a American base. Except that, I have seen and touched a gun only once at my sister’s house in the US. it was a pistol(handgun?.) It is belong to her husband.

    >If you haven’t, do you know anyone who has?

    I know a couple of people who go hunting, but I am not sure they own their guns.

    >And what did you think about the news stories I mentioned above?
    >I found that story hard to believe, but apparently, both of the teachers presumed that the gun was a fake. I suppose that is natural in a country like Japan.

    i was a bit of surprised when I read the second case, so I googled to get more details about it. I kind of understand that both of the teachers presumed that the gun was a fake, but yet, they should have been more careful. According to the article, the student thought that the gun was a fake. Why his father didn’t tell him that a real gun? As I mentioned above, my brother in law has the gun and his children know it is a real gun. Of course, they are not allowed to touch it.

    amo

  8. YU
    Commented on
    2013/11/28 at 4:37

    Hi amo,

    > Why his father didn’t tell him that a real gun?

    I think it was just because his father had it illegally.
    I heard the police were investigating how his father obtained the gun.
    If he had owned it legally, he wouldn’t have arrested on suspicion of weapons violation.

    Hi everyone,

    Amo’s comment reminded me of the fact that I’ve seen guns several times in other countries, too.
    Hasn’t any of you seen soldiers(police?) with guns standing at airports or other important points in the city when you travel abroad?

  9. Fumie
    Commented on
    2013/11/28 at 5:22

    Hi David and everyone,

    >I found that story hard to believe, but apparently, both of the teachers presumed that the gun was a fake. I suppose that is natural in a country like Japan.
    - I agree with you. Seeing guns is such an unusual thing, so people would think it’s a fake one. If I found a gun in the teacher’s room or my house, I would presume it’s fake.

    >I know that there are companies in America that even make guns for children.
    - I’m not sure about this sentence. Is this means 子供用の銃を作る会社or子供のために銃を作る会社?
    I guess it means the first one. If so. it’s crazy!Even for protection, children should not possess guns. Could it be legal in America? え、もしかしてアメリカでは自分を守るためには子供でも銃を保持できる?そんなわけないですよね!

    My answers to all of your questions are no.
    I’ve never seen, touched or fired a gun and I don’t know anyone who has gun.

    >And what did you think about the news stories I mentioned above?
    As for the first story, we sometimes hear similar stories. They should be more careful before they fire a gun.
    The second story is so unthinkable!

  10. Biwa
    Commented on
    2013/11/28 at 8:28

    Hi YU,

    Wow, you’re a real early bird!

    >Hasn’t any of you seen soldiers(police?) with guns standing at airports or other important points in the city when you travel abroad?

    You’re right. However, to be honest, I don’t really remember whether they had guns or not. Guns are something so irrelevant to me that I would hardly ever notice it even if they had a simple nightstick(警棒) instead!

    I read some of the comments on the Fukuoka case on Japan Today. I noticed that there were actually two kinds; the ones that said it was just unbelievable that the teachers couldn’t tell it was a real gun, and the ones that said it was believable(or natural) in a country like Japan. I totally agree with the latter ones because I wouldn’t have any idea about what makes it a real gun. Are the bullets really visible from the outside? Moreover, how can you tell they’re real bullets?

    You asked me if my parents used to have a gun. Honestly, I don’t really know! (I’ll ask my mother later.) I was only 5 to 8 when I lived in San Francisco, so I don’t think they would have told me even if they did. I don’t even know if it’s actually possible for just an employee assigned to an overseas branch (without a green card) to possess a gun, but amo’s story made me think that quite a few people might have had one.

    As for the hunters’ licensing system, it seems that they have many kinds of tests before they get one. However, the article didn’t mention any periodical checks. I really think they ought to revise the system if they don’t!

    Hi Fumie,

    I think it’s 子供用の銃を作る会社, too. Are they going to have trainings and tests to get a license? It’s really crazy, and also reminds me of the nuclear deterrent theory. If other people have guns, why not have your own?-It’s a real risky theory.

  11. Biwa
    Commented on
    2013/11/28 at 8:57

    Sorry, maybe the word “irrelevant” is not appropriate. Should I say “unrelated” instead?

  12. Tamami
    Commented on
    2013/11/28 at 9:27

    Hi, David &everyone. 

    I used a fake in the play I acted, but I have never seen nor touched a real one. 

    >apparently, both of the teachers presumed that the gun was a fake.
    >According to the article, the student thought that the gun was a fake.

    In Japan, everybody thinks so! amo said teachers should have been more careful, but I think no one expects that a real gun is in a classroom or the staffroom in Japan ! Another problem would be fake guns which look like real ones. Unfortunately fakes whose model is a real gun are sold on the Internet. And we can get them easily. This makes us regard real guns as fakes. 

    Hi, Fumie &Biwa.

    >Even for protection, children should not possess guns.

    I think so too. It’s very dangerous that children have a gun. In fact, some students killed others with a gun at high school ! That mustn’t occur ! So I think children must be forbidden to have a gun.

    This article reminds me of a story of 服部くん. Years ago he was a high school student in Aichi prefecture (, where I live ). When he went to the U.S to study, he was to join a Halloween party. But he visited a wrong house. A man came out and told 服部くん ‘Freeze.’ However he misunderstood it for ‘Please.’  Finally he moved and was shot dead. When I heard this story, I was really shocked and since then I’ve been afraid of guns.  But in the U.S, things like this (i mean incidents that someone is shot dead ) seem quite normal maybe because, as David mentioned, guns are a part of life in the U.S. And Americans think that being killed in this situation can’t be helped. 
    This is unbelievable and scary for me. I know guns are good tool to protect ourselves, but I wish they were prohibited all over the world in order not to lose someone’s life by accident. 

  13. Anne
    Commented on
    2013/11/28 at 4:00

    Hi David and everyone,

    Here are my thoughts concerning this week’s topic:

    *about a hunter who shot one of his friend—It’s really sad and tragic for both of the families.He shoud have been more careful before he shot the gun. I think you hear this kind of story several times this season every year.

    *the second story:—As you said, it was obvious that teachers thught it a fake one. Having said that, I wonder if in school, there wasn’t a rule rule to put something confiscated into a special box. I also think they should have considered the possibility that it could be the real gun. Anyway, teachers should have been more careful how to treat it.

    I myself haven’t had a chance to touch a gun in my life but have seen it once in the U.S. When I visisted the United Capital Hill in DC, at the entrance gate, a guard with a big gun was standing. I think I saw that kind of gun in the movie, but I couldn’t believe it was the real one. He was smiling and looked friendly, but I didn’t want to imagine it was used in a real situation!

    Hi ayano, Biwa and everyone,

    The former PM, Taro Aso, was once a representative in the Olympics in clay shooting. Of course, it’s a part of sports.

    Hi tamami,
    >This article reminds me of a story of 服部くん
    —-Yes, I do remember that incident. Actually it’s been 21 years since he was shot to death.
    Last year, his 20th anniversary was held at host family’s house. His mother answered the interview, “For the first ten years, it was just so sad and was difficult to accept the loss of my son, and now I somehow could face this.” His parents have been working hard appealing the strict gun control in the U.S after his death.
    It’s really sad to know that horrible incidents because of the gun still happen. I’m not meaning to say that all the Americans have guns, but thoses numbers are quite high.

    Hi Fumie,
    I’m not sure if this article is related to what David mentioned or not, but anyway I found an article.
    Each picture on the top page is not the one you are happy with watching.
    http://usnews.nbcnews.com/_news/2013/05/03/18014902-guns-made-for-kids-how-young-is-too-young-to-shoot

  14. Anne
    Commented on
    2013/11/28 at 4:18

    it’s me again.
    “there wasn’t a rule rule” should be “there wasn’t a rule.”

  15. YU
    Commented on
    2013/11/28 at 7:54

    Hi Biwa,

    > You asked me if my parents used to have a gun. Honestly, I don’t really know! (I’ll ask my mother later.)

    My brother was assigned to the US for five years, too, but he’s never told me that he had a gun at home there.
    For the Japanese, possessing a gun is a very scary thing, but for most Americans, living without a gun seems to be almost suicidal.

    Hi Tamami,

    >I know guns are good tool to protect ourselves

    I think the idea is just a trick.
    If all guns were eliminated from this world, no one would shot to death in the first place. So, as Biwa mentioned, I think it’s the same as the nuclear deterrent theory.

  16. YU
    Commented on
    2013/11/28 at 8:00

    correction :

    > no one would shot to death in the first place

    ….no one would be shot to death….

  17. Fumie
    Commented on
    2013/11/29 at 5:48

    Hi Biwa, Tamami and Anne,

    Anne, thank you for the site.
    So what I was totally doubt actually happens in the US. I just can’t believe that! American society is so crazy in this respect.

    Here are some excerpts from the site Anne posted.
    >Under federal law, children under 18 cannot buy guns themselves. Regulations on how children access firearms and who can be held negligent for a child’s use of a gun is left to the states,
    >Kentucky has certain laws to prevent children from gaining access to handguns, but those laws don’t apply to rifles or shotguns
    >Almost 1,500 children under the age of 18 die every year as a result of shootings, according to the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio.

    So children can’t buy guns by themselves but they can have ones when their parents give them. And in Kentucky, they can get rifles or shotguns by themselves.
    Imagine, your child shot and killed another your child by accident. How tragic it is! I can’t blame the shooter one. If that happened, it’s parents’ fault.

  18. Biwa
    Commented on
    2013/11/29 at 8:16

    Hi Fumie, YU and everyone,

    >I can’t blame the shooter one. If that happened, it’s parents’ fault.

    I really think so!
    I called my mother last night and asked if she or any of her friends had a gun. She said “No. The word “gun” has never came up as a topic among our friends, including Americans. Of course it’s probably not a topic what you talk about to everyone at a gathering, so I might just not know.” My parents lived in San Francisco twice, in the early ’70s and in the late ’80s, totally for 8 years. That’s quite long ago and I’m sure situations must have changed a lot. I mean, it was a rather peaceful time, I think. She also said that people who lived in the countryside(farms, ranches or places where you hardly ever see other people around) or in real downtown(the really rough area) might have had guns, but living in an ordinary neighborhood, she never really thought she needed any. More to that, especially if you had little children, she said that she would worry a lot about where to keep it. You know, if you keep it somewhere like in a locked chest in the basement where the children would never touch, then it would be useless when you really need it. Anyway, these are just my mother’s personal ideas, so I’m sure other people have different ideas on this.
    Thinking this and that, amo, can I ask you some questions? I think you said your sister has children. How old are they? Do they know their father has a gun? Do they know where he keeps it?

  19. Anne
    Commented on
    2013/11/29 at 8:40

    Hi Fumie and everyone,

    Yes, as you mentioned, it’s parents(or adults) fault. I agree with you. The point is how adults keep guns at home safely if they have guns.

    In the U.S, the law concerning owning guns differs depending on each States and several States have called “Stand-your-ground law”(正当防衛). Also the ratio of people who have guns differs depending on each State.
    Here’s the link:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stand-your-ground_law

    In Japan, I guess most of the people who have guns hold them for hunting. I think education or training for hunters should be done a lot more and that is one of the solutions to avoid tragic incidents.

    *correction:
    I made a lot of mistakes besides grammatical ones…
    *in the movie—in the movies
    *teachers thught it —teachers thought it

  20. Biwa
    Commented on
    2013/11/29 at 8:25

    Hi amo,

    Sorry, I was an 大ボケ! You wrote in your comment that your nieces(nephews?) know that their father has a gun. ごめんなさい、よく確かめずに質問してしまいました。