"Sharing can be a way of healing. Grief and loss can isolate,
anger even alienate. Shared with others, emotions unite
as we see we aren't alone. We realize others weep with us."
~Susan Wittig Albert

Through our writing, we walk out of the darkness into the light
together, one small step at a time, recording history, educating
America, and we are healing.
~CJ/Todd Dierdorff

Sunday, October 26, 2014

A Nation Unwilling to Change: by Lance L. Pinamonte

Lance Lincoln Pinamonte
I am now an old man, with only memories of simpler times, when as a young boy, I was taken out on a Saturday afternoon for some target practice, shooting cans off of fence posts far out on the high plains with my Uncle.

The lessons passed down from generation to generation, the basics of gun safety, hunting, and responsibility still ring in my ears..

Then times changed.  At seventeen, taking the place of my Uncle, a Drill Sargent was screaming in my ear about the difference between a Gun and a Weapon! 

The same message was present: safety and responsibility, however, the hunting part had changed. We were now hunting humans. 

I could sugarcoat the message and say we were defending our country, but we were thousands of miles away from our country.  We were the front lines against Communism, a system we had been conditioned to dislike.  The truth was, most of us didn't even know the meaning of the word.. 

So, we pushed the child beggars away in the streets, gave them candy bars instead of meals, moved whole villages to the city slums, defoliated their landscape, and we put our chosen leaders in charge.

We also did good. We built schools, hospitals, and tried to promote freedom, introducing democracy to a people, who in many cases, could not understand what it meant. 

As we did these things, we were never far away from our firearms.  We slept, ate, and spent every day with a weapon by our side. We kept them clean and we kept several hundred rounds of ammunition close at hand.

Guns as a Security Blanket
These firearms were our closest companions, our security blankets -- but they were security blankets with bullet holes.  Most of us saw first-hand what these security blankets were capable of. 

Some of us held our friends while their blood ran into the Vietnamese soil. Many are still haunted by the faces and names of those who once laughed and lived and fought beside us. 

We held our weapons closer, kept them cleaner, but men still died. Everyone had a weapon and yet no one was safer ...

So this brings me to today. I own firearms and they are kept clean and secure. I do not shoot often and I do not hunt anymore. It is hard for me, because I know what it feels like to be hunted. 

The right granted by the Second Amendment of our Constitution comes with great responsibility. It is not there to back armed rebellion. We have a system that is capable of overthrowing governments. It is called the VOTE. The firearms we own are for protection of this system of democracy, our homes, our property, and our families.

All this being said, it is no longer the 1950's.  Many gun owners are not passing gun safety and responsibility along to their youth.  Mental health is paramount to responsible gun ownership, and our population has grown way beyond what our nation's founders could ever imagine. 

We have powerful organizations that promote gun ownership, and groups that promote the absence of guns. Both are acting like selfish children. Those in power are passing feel-good measures that do nothing to slow gun violence.  The other organizations are promoting more guns as a safe solution.

Change is always hard.  The solution is very plain -- but no one wants to back it. First we need to scrap all of the present gun laws on the books.  They amount to nothing more than putting a Bandaid on a bleeding artery. 

Licensing of gun owners:  you must have training on safety, responsibility, liability, as well as a mental/criminal background check. Once you have this license, you can carry open, or concealed, and own as many firearms as you want. These weapons can be sold, gifted, or passed on, but only to another licensed person. We must be trained and licensed to drive a car -- it should be much the same with firearms.

More guns is not the answer, but no guns is not the answer either. The security blanket of gun ownership is getting very ragged and it needs to be repaired ... 

God Bless America.

Lance Lincoln Pinamonte

Lance Lincoln Pinamonte
U.S. Army - 1967 to 1970
67N30 Crewchief/Doorgunner Helicopter Mech.
Champagne Flight

“I am only one, but I am one. I can't do everything, but I can do something. The something I ought to do, I can do, and by the grace of God, I will.” ~Everett Hale

Feel free to comment on this post. You are also invited to write about anything you want to share. Memoirs From Nam is YOUR blog. You are writing America's history.

Send it to me in an e-mail and I will be proud to post it for you.


  1. I think all of us have a little bit of Lance Lincoln Pinamonte inside of us too. As I read this I too remember my childhood with my dad going hunting and fishing. The simple times of my life, only wishing one could go back as a kid again. Then one day you are faced with a decision to kill or be killed, only to come home to an ungrateful nation. Now we are too old to do anything about it. TOO SOON TOO OLD, TOO SMART TOO LATE. --Allen J. Folk

  2. Well said my friend. I grew up much the same way & experienced all the trauma, drama, responsibility as a young teen in a far away land. To this day I still refer to my arms as weapons & that's exactly what they are. Responsibility is definitely in the hands of the one behind the trigger. I quit hunting also when I came home. Guess the lessons taught us all what it's like to be on each end of a weapon pointed at someone or something. Thanks for what you & all of us had to do during those times & situations we were in causing us to make life & death choices.

  3. How refreshing to hear from a gun owner who understands the implications of safe, accountable weapons use. As we saw recently in Washington state, we've become a nation awash in guns, with little or no documentation or responsible training in their dangers. Scrapping gun laws and starting over may sound quixotic and rash, but it may indeed be the way forward. Such an initiative could be something Vietnam vets rally around, a legacy of our own for our kids and grandkids.

  4. Thank you all for the kind comments, let us hope that this great nation can move forward for the sake of future generations.. Lance

  5. I read with interest, Lance, then towards the end of your writing, my anxiety peaked.

    Just as I was going to formulate a reply, I read where you were a 67N. I regrouped my thoughts as I, too, was a 67N. I started out as the "67A1F" at Fort Rucker (Mother Rucker). I was a Centaur in RVN 70-72.

    Anyway, it's a fact that all those cities like Chicago and Detroit with the highest crime rate with guns also have very strict gun control and so, if we look carefully at your presentation, it can be said your are suggesting we make it safer for the honest people, but in fact, we're talking about criminals. The same criminals don't give a hoot about gun laws anyway. Still, I see your point of view. Thank you. -- Mike Wilbur

  6. Lance, thank you for your service and thank you for your sentiments on Democracy and the definition of right to bear arms. You will likely get a critical comment about using the word Democracy (I don't know why because for a couple of hundred years it was alright.

    I think it is like vintage wine or spirits, somethings improve with years, as I think it is the case with current Vietnam Era veterans. It is just some (not all) of the vets from the middle East conflicts that seem to have a problem with the term 'Democracy' or any mention of God. They already have in their minds a scenario where they will have to kill us in the majority, for not thinking like them, especially if legislation is passed to make gun ownership actually have responsibility and be safer. Most of the Vietnam era vets I run across don't want to shoot anything, not even hunt for sport as it does trigger some bad moments. I don't get it, must be the difference in Vintage.

    My brother was in the 1st Air Cav and spent two years in Vietnam as a helicopter Door Gunner/Crew Chief 1966-1968. His real name is Dale A. Fox nick named 'Bear', he made it home also and doesn't need to have an arsenal.

    I was a Navy Corpsman 1964-70 two years older than he. I have a pistol 9 mm, a permit, it is unloaded, in a safe place. I don't need it except for the people who may want to kill me for not following them.-- Frank Fox

  7. Lack of change isn't the problem. It's too much change, fundamental change. -- Jack Durish

  8. I have an ex who made my second ammendment choice by false accusation. When they came for my guns I was out of town and although they claim nutrallity their not and they force supposed Christian values like any false thing religiosity! I found in court how she feels about my and my family being DAV, it's all about the money! I never brought out a gun to threaten anyone but they found a way to force the issue thru traitorous deeds! If I had a choice it's gone now!


Feel free to comment.