John Blickensderfer emigrated from Germany to St. Louis in 1850. He made rifles. George Blickensderfer, a distant American cousin, was born the same year. He lived in Stamford, Connecticut, where he designed and manufactured typewriters.
Through a flicker of genetic memory or blind coincidence, an amalgam of professional inclinations from both cousins wound up uniting in a delivery room of Jewish Hospital 133 years later. The family name, however, was anglicized to "Blickenstaff" somewhere along the line.
Despite my liberal upbringing, I recently stumbled enthusiastically into the world of gun ownership. And writing, as arduous and tedious as it is, seems to be the only thing I do well.
Combining the two seems a matter of genealogical predestination, as much as a way to pay the bills. St. Louis, love it or hate it, is a gun town
. At the least, it lies in a gun-lovin' state. Access to firearms is virtually unrestricted for those with unblemished backgrounds who are at least 18 years old. No license is needed to purchase or possess any firearm with the exception of fully automatic weapons. Citizens, if so inclined, can receive training and apply for a license to carry concealed firearms.
Perhaps these laws seem unreasonably strict to the most ardent NRA
attorney but in practical terms, most people can walk out of a gun
retailer in 30 minutes with anything from a .22 caliber pistol to a
semi-automatic AR-15 rifle.
Whether these laws have made St.
Louis the second most dangerous city in America, or have prevented it
from falling into the number one slot varies on who you ask. But don't
seek those answers here.
Removed from all political debate,
emotional weight and headline news, guns and the people clinging to
them are characters in themselves.