Peter Makuck’s “The Trouble with Smitty” [December 1999] reminded me of an experience I had as a teenager. A youth with low self-esteem, I was convinced by my peers to borrow my father’s BB gun and join them for a Good Friday outing. I tagged along to an empty lot where the boys took turns shooting at targets.
I remember killing a robin at precisely 3 P.M., the time Catholics begin a period of reflection on the Crucifixion. An altar boy, I felt funny holding the dead robin and thinking about the figure of Christ on the cross. At home, I guiltily sneaked the gun back into my father’s secret room and vowed never to shoot another living creature.
Now, at age sixty, I am a naturalist teaching children respect for all life.