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I Was Just Thinking: Lost art of fighting – with hands

Remember when you got mad at Pooky during recess on the playground?

African American game hunters with regular rifles. Credit _ Pinterest - Copy
African American game hunters with regular rifles. Credit

By Norma Adams-Wade

Remember when you got mad at Pooky during recess on the playground?

“Meet we in the alley after school,” you whispered menacingly.

As the teacher approached, suspecting some mischief underway, the gathered crowd of classmate-onlookers dispersed. After school, you met and exchanged fist punches until cooler heads prevailed.

You both went home, bearing a few bruises, but less angry. Soon, you were friends again.


Like Demosthenes, the 4th Century BC Greek orator, you lived to fight another day – to find a different, silly beef to fight about, then make up and be friends yet again. The beat goes on.

Well, that was then. This is now.

Today, weapons trump fists. Beefs are fatal. There is no chance to make up.

I was just thinking…Our public streets and public places are our new war zones, and weapons of war rule the day.

Handguns and regular hunting rifles do not qualify as weapons of war. Frequent news reports of mass shootings usually mention AR-15-style or AK-47-style semi-automatic assault rifles. The reports add “style” because there are now so many variants of the original  AK-47 and AR-15 battlefield weapons.

Youths fighting with hands on city street. Photo: Pinterest
Youths fighting with hands on city street. Photo: Pinterest

Looking deeply into the history of those two high-powered firearms, I found that the war zone  popularity of one began toward the end of World War II in the late 1940s, and for the other during the nearly 20-year-long Viet Nam War era in the mid-1950s to the mid-1970s. On the streets of America, use of the AK-47 and AR-15 rifles – ( I will reframe from using the term “assault weapon” out of respect for pro-gun advocates who resent the term, even though I feel it is an apt description)  — rapidly increased after the end of the controversial 10-year assault weapons ban in effect from 1994 to 2004.

What are these weapons of war? What is their purpose? Who created them? Who distributes them? And why?

To be clear, owning a gun is not the problem. It is an American privilege and a right under our U. S. Constitution – the right to protect yourself, your home, your family, and to hunt in the woods, both for food and as a recreational sport.

Who should be allowed to own a weapon – and certainly what TYPE of weapon — is the giant elephant in the room.

And regulation – or the lack thereof – is the fiery, hot-button issue of the day.


My father, an army veteran, owned a rifle that he used for rabbit hunting.

Daddy kept his rifle in the very back of his closet.

We children knew our parents’ closets were off limits.

Mu’dear hid birthday and Christmas gifts – and the occasional secret shopping trip bounty – in hers.

So, the TYPES of guns freely owned in America today and how to obtain and regulate them is now our glaring, four-alarm, national emergency.


When you add semi-automatic power – such as the debated claim that anAK-47 can fire 600 rounds per minute, depending on how fast you can reload – hand combat and pistol power are practically inconsequential. So, which is best: Holding to a questionable Constitutional right to possess whatever weapon you want or the choice to save human lives and public safety?


Norma Adams-Wade, is a proud Dallas native, University of Texas at Austin journalism graduate and retired Dallas Morning News senior staff writer. She is a founder of the National Association of Black Journalists and was its first southwest regional director. She became The News’ first Black full-time reporter in 1974.

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