Now I'm not all that interested in guns. Not nearly as
interested as the males in my family are. But when I saw that the
author of Tommy: The Gun That Changed America is Karen Blumenthal I
had to snatch up that book. Her Bootleg: Murder, Moonshine, and the
Lawless Years of Prohibition had really brought the past to life.
Tommy is equally fascinating and reader worthy.
John Taliferro Thompson was a man with a mission. As an army
ordnance officer, he was convinced that the United States needed more
effective weapons and ammo--guns that could reload more rapidly, ammo
with more stopping power. "...a small machine gun, a gun that will
fire fifty to one hundred rounds, so light that a man can drag it with
him as he crawls on his belly from trench to trench and wipe out a
whole company single-handed." He agreed with Teddy Roosevelt "In
time of peace, prepare for war." (His NRA membership may have also
entered into his thinking.)
Thompson and a carefully chosen cadre worked tirelessly to
achieve this goal. Timing was not with them. They perfected it just
in time for World War I, then considered the war to end all wars, to
draw to a close.
Thompson also envisioned his guns being sold to those "on the
side of law and order" such as police. Ironically, the most
enthusiastic of their users turned out to be on the other side.
Outlaws such as John Dillinger, Pretty Boy Floyd, and Baby Face Nelson
utilized them in ways that has Thompson seeing red.
Tommy gives readers a fascinating glimpse into the evolution of
a weapon from conception to near obsolescence and the world in which
this all transpired.
On a personal note, with UMaine back in session from Thanksgiving
break, it's now a mad rush til finals and end of semester.
A great big shout out goes out to students, faculty, and others caught
up in this rush at UMaine and other fine educational institutions.
Julia Emily Hathaway
Sent from my iPod