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A Child’s Letter about Guns

By Patricia Rust

Dear Friend,

I thought I knew all about love. My mommy worked two jobs and had no car, but she worked hard because that is what love is all about — caring for people, right?

My daddy called me his princess and let me tickle his moustache and I thought that was love, too. He rode the train to work with my mother.

I loved hearing stories with funny words like "itch" and "scratch." I loved to play hopscotch in the bright sun. And, I loved puppies and hugs and I don’t know which I loved the most of all the things and people to love in life. Maybe I liked spaghetti the most of all. Spaghetti is like love, all wonderful!

I especially loved my teacher, Mrs. Linville. She made me want to come to school. I really, really, really loved the stories she told and wanted to grow up and write stories to share with my friends and family.

I didn’t expect to be telling you a story so soon, but this is what really happened. Our class took a trip to the library where we could touch the books and pick the ones we wanted for Mrs. Linville to read to us. I wore my favorite dress, which I saved for my favorite days. It’s pink.

Everyone chose a different book and soon teacher said, "There are so many stories and so little time!" The clock on the wall was tickling loudly, but we couldn’t wait to hear as many books as she could read on that day.

She put her glasses way down on her nose, and when she read her eyebrows would dance up and down as we laughed and enjoyed the stories. She called one book "a classic." It was called "A Little Princess." I think she knew that it was the one I picked because she looked right at me as she began to read:

"It was just at this minute that something happened at the

skylight which neither of them saw. If either of them had chanced

to turn and look, she would have been startled by the sight of a

face which peered cautiously into the room and disappeared as

quickly and almost as silently as it appeared. Not quite as silently, however..."

Then, from out of nowhere, everything changed in one exact second for in that one exact second a sound rang out, thundering loudly throughout the school. We did not know what the sound was because we had never heard it before and I hope no one ever hears it again.

I cannot describe the sound because it was so full of power and so loud and scary that everyone jumped…everyone except me. I fell over. The sound was a bullet firing and it had hit me and knocked me over.

Everything was very quiet, though I could see people around me and I could see their mouths moving. They were probably saying, "Call 911," but I don’t know for sure. I felt very, very cold.

I called out for my mommy. Then my daddy. Then, the room started to grow dark, but I think I saw a hand reaching to me. I took it. That’s all I remember.

Then, it’s as if I were floating above everyone and could look down and see below. I could see a little girl who looked just like me lying on the library floor. Next to her were my classmates and teacher and a little boy who had a gun in his hand.

What was a little boy doing with a gun in his hand? It did not look like a water gun, but like a real gun, the kind we kids should never see. I knew guns were not toys, but maybe this little boy had not learned that.

That is what happened. I remember thinking that I was taught to call a grown-up if ever I saw a gun and to never touch it nor go near it because it could go off. I guess that’s what happened to the little boy and why a little girl who looked like me was lying on the floor of our school library.

This story comes to you from heaven because now I must be an angel. Maybe I can fly by and remind you never to go close to a gun and to call a grown-up if you ever see one.

There are no guns here. Just a lot of love and spaghetti. And I still love all children, even the little boy who didn’t know that the gun not was a toy. Love is very powerful and I hope you will let me love you from up here for a long time. And, I will keep reminding you that sometimes grown-ups goof and might leave a gun out that can take a life.

Not all stories are funny. Not all stories are true. This one is true and I thank you for letting me tell it to you. It’s part of what love is all about.

I’m not sure that I will ever understand guns. They can be used to put food on the table, but they should never be used to shoot a child in school. That should be the rule. Please remember it and me from up here. And, if you ever meet my mommy or daddy, please give them a big hug for me. I miss them.

Ever yours,


All text on this website copyright
Patricia Rust Productions (December 2002)

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