About Scott Spreier
Scott was born and raised in rural western Kansas. After serving in the U.S. Air Force during the Vietnam War, he attended the University of Kansas, earning a degree in journalism.
For more than two decades he worked as a writer and editor for a number of news organizations, including The Miami Herald, The Kansas City Star and The Dallas Times Herald.
Today, while continuing to write, he consults with and coaches executives, often using his understanding of narrative to help them rethink their self-image, focus and impact as leaders.
Scott has co-written two non-fiction works (Senior Leadership Teams, Harvard Business School Press; and People, Performance and Pay, Free Press). His work has also appeared in a number of business publications, including Harvard Business Review.
Resurrecting St. John the Rancher is his first work of fiction.
Scott lives in Dallas with his wife and dogs, Benji and Shiner. When not writing, Scott often returns to his boyhood home to wander the High Plains, hunting pheasant and quail.
Why I love guns – and why we need regulate them
Guns have been part of my life for 60 years.
I love them. I love their beauty and simple utility. I have spent many good days with them in the field, and find pleasure just putting a well-balanced shotgun to my shoulder.
But despite my passion, I believe it’s time we tightened the regulations on these lovely tools.
It saddens me, not because I believe the government wants to take them away – I don’t -- but because it signifies a shift in our culture and values has led to increased violence and a growing, almost tribal fear of the “other.”
In the small farming community in which I grew up, guns were viewed as utilitarian tools – useful for protecting livestock, killing varmints and occasional sport. Seldom were they carried for protection or used out of fear or hate. Many of the men in my community – the barber, my little league coach – had recently returned from WWII. They had used weapons for violent albeit noble ends and been the target of such weapons. They were through with gun violence.
The only violence use of guns I remember was when a respected farm family in the next county was murdered in cold blood by two small-time ex-cons. The crime was as incomprehensible to local folk as the elfish Truman Capote, who came to write about it.
By the time I was seven, most of my friends in our small farming community had air rifles. (My Daisy pump action still sits in my gun safe.) On summer days we would wander along the creek, blasting away at cans, bottles, and – although I was forbidden to shoot living things -- the occasional sparrow.
By nine, some friends had graduated to small-caliber rifles and shotguns, and hunted with their dads. My father didn’t hunt. The gentle son of a dirt farmer, for whom wild game was more affordable than store-bought groceries, he found it an unnecessary chore.
After high school, cars and coeds replaced my passion for guns. In the Air Force, which I joined to avoid combat, I only fired them twice, both badly, never earning a marksmanship ribbon.
After college I moved to the city, where hunting was considered barbaric, but killing people a common occurrence. Driving home from work one night, I found the street to my Miami neighborhood blocked by police. Moments earlier the driver of a Mercedes had been gunned down as he waited at a stoplight, another victim of the growing drug war.
In my 40s, when my family began returning the home place each fall, my desire returned to wander the fields, a fine over-and-under in my arms. I purchased one, and with my wife and kids, spent hours walking farmland and prairie in search of pheasant and quail.
I joined the NRA and became a certified instructor to teach my sons and their fellow Boy Scouts gun safety. But I soon cancelled my membership: Their training was excellent; their fear-fueled propaganda sick.
Now grown, my children and their spouses often hunt with us. We love to walk the High Plains, scanning the broad horizon, listening to the quiet, flushing the occasional bird. Barbaric as it sounds there’s something special about shooting, dressing, and eating your food. As for the killing, like most hunters, the older I get, the harder it is.
I still own a few shotguns, which I keep locked in a safe. To me they are not weapons, but functional art – well designed tools. I own no handguns or assault weapons. Never will. Designed for one purpose – killing people – they are impractical and dangerous. Besides, people like me, prone to depression, sometimes commit selfish, senseless acts.
Such weapons, I believe, should be carefully regulated. Call me misguided, but I’m enough of a realist to acknowledge the inevitability and necessity of stronger laws, and optimistic enough to believe that my government will never take my guns.
For many, however, guns have become talismans they believe will protect them from a society that is changing and a government they distrust. So long as they can touch the cold steel of a pistol in their pocket or an assault rifle under their bed, they feel safe from a world on which they are quickly losing their grasp.
Illogical? Of course. You can’t fight progress with an AR-15. But before you shake your head at their stubbornness, reflect on your own life and your reluctance to let go of old values, behaviors -- even objects -- that have shaped your life.
I’ll cherish my guns until I no longer have the strength and sanity to keep them. But I’ll also be mindful that my love for them is as irrational and irrelevant as the passion of my first, youthful romance.