Hello, Folks! This is Johnny Bullseye, your Second Amendment Reporter, bringing you another exciting interview from the annals of firearms history. Today I have the honor of interviewing the great Apache warrior, Geronimo.
“Greetings, Chief Geronimo. Thanks for taking the time to speak with me.”
“Greetings, Young John Who-Hits-Bull-in-the-Eye. I am pleased to powwow with you but I must correct how you addressed me right now. I was never a Chief of the Chiricahua Apaches. I was a Medicine Man and a War Party leader. Modern Americans should think of me as the Director of Homeland Security for the Apache nation.”
“Interesting, Geronimo. Can you tell me how you got your name?”
“Yes, my real name is Goyaale. In Apache it means One-Who-Yawns. However, whenever I attacked Mexican soldiers, they started praying to St. Jeromo. Eventually, Jeromo became Geronimo and stuck as my nom-de-guerre. Nevertheless, Goyaale is also appropriate because when you no longer fear your enemy, you might just as well yawn at him.”
“I see. Now is it true that you had many enemies?”
“You can bet your best buffalo hide on that. I fought with the Mexicans, with the Americans, with enemy tribes, and with some of my own Apaches.”
“Why all the warlike activity?”
“Well, with the Mexicans it was personal, since they wiped out my family. With the others, it was about having enough space to live the life of a real Apache. We were a nomadic people, not given to settling down in a fixed or constricted territory. We needed to roam for our own good health. One of your own Medicine Men, a certain Dr. Schwam, has written about this very subject. Anyway, we felt restricted by the Mexicans in the south, the Americans to the north, and by hostile Indian tribes everywhere else.”
“I get it. Can you tell me when you traded in your bow and arrow for a . . . a . . . gunstick?”
“Gunstick? Gunstick? You’re just lucky I’ve given up scalping, young Johnny. For your information, one of my early acquisitions was an 1873 trap door Springfield rifle in .45/70 caliber. Great for long range work. My 1876 Winchester repeating rifle was better for fast and close-in encounters. I also owned a .45 Colt six shooter. Naturally, I taught all of my tribesmen how to use guns wisely. In fact, all of us medicine men believed in responsible gun ownership.”
“Why was it so important to have these weapons?”
“Because young John, a person’s weapon meant life itself. In my day, you either had a weapon or you lived on a reservation or you were dead. Those were the only options. Of course, a reservation was just a large unwalled prison. You could get food but otherwise could make no real decision on your own. As you might guess, no weapons were allowed. In contrast, when we were free, we defended our territory so well that you Americans almost agreed to permanently leave Apache territory to the Apaches.”
“What if I told you that many modern American’s feel that they have no need to be personally armed? They only want the authorities to carry guns?”
“Ha, those fools of whom you speak don’t realize that they’re already living on a reservation but don’t know it! They will be cared for by crooked agents who will always be taking more than they give. Then, too late, they will understand that they’re completely helpless. Don’t they realize that the sages of America tried to protect them by adding the Second Amendment to your tribal laws?”
“Is that why you escaped from the reservation three times”?
“Yes, and if it was only me, they would never again have taken me back alive. However, in the end the Americans had me and my band completely surrounded. I was with thirty others and it would have been wrong to sacrifice their lives along with mine.”
“In view of the fact that American’s were once your enemy, what do think of paratroopers shouting your name as they jump into battle?”
“I like that! Let them use my name as a war cry. It will make them fearless.”
“Some American Indians don’t like their names used for sports teams or for military equipment. In the case of your tribe, how do you feel about the Apache Helicopter?”
“It has my approval. The Apache Helicopter is like a great winged war horse, a symbol of the Apache nation’s fighting heart. The Apache people and the American’s have now become brothers. May it always be so.”
“Thank you, Geronimo. This is Johnny Bullseye, saying ‘Goodbye, until next time.’”
—Wallace Schwam, MD is a retired internist with interests in geriatrics and pharmacology who trained at Duke University. He rated expert in marksmanship in the Army and continues to enjoy hunting and tactical training with handgun, rifle and shotgun.