Unit1 Text A Mr. Doherty Builds His Dream Life (1)
Unit1 Text B American Family Life: The Changing Picture (4)
Unit2 Text A The Freedom Givers (10)
Unit3 Text A The Land of the Lock (14)
Unit3 Text B Why I Bought A Gun (16)
Unit4 Text A Was Einstein a Space Alien? (21)
Unit5 Text A Writing Three Thank-You Letters (25)
Unit6 Text A The Last Leaf (28)
Unit7 Text A Life of a Salesman (33)
Unit7 Text B Bricklayer's Boy (41)
Unit8 Text A Human Cloning: A Scientist’s Story (47)
Unit8 Text B Second Thoughts on Cloning (50)
Unit1 Text A Mr. Doherty Builds His Dream Life
多尔蒂先生创建自己的理想生活吉姆·多尔蒂Jim Doherty 1 There are two things I have always wanted to do -- write and live on a farm. Today I'm doing both. I am not in E. B. White's class as a writer or in my neighbors' league as a farmer, but I'm getting by. And after years of frustration with city and suburban living, my wife Sandy and I have finally found contentment here in the country.
2 It's a self-reliant sort of life. We grow nearly all of our fruits and vegetables. Our hens keep us in eggs, with several dozen left over to sell each week. Our bees provide us with honey, and we cut enough wood to just about make it through the heating season.
3 It's a satisfying life too. In the summer we canoe on the river, go picnicking in the woods and take long bicycle rides. In the winter we ski and skate. We get excited about sunsets. We love the smell of the earth warming and the sound of cattle lowing. We watch for hawks in the sky and deer in the cornfields.
4 But the good life can get pretty tough. Three months ago when it was 30 below, we spent two miserable days hauling firewood up the river on a sled. Three months from now, it will be 9
5 above and we will be cultivating corn, weeding strawberries and killing chickens. Recently, Sandy and I had to retile the back roof. Soon Jim, 1
6 and Emily, 13, the youngest of our four children, will help me make some long-overdue improvements on the outdoor toilet that supplements our indoor plumbing when we are working outside. Later this month, we'll spray the orchard, paint the barn, plant the garden and clean the hen house before the new chicks arrive.
5 In between such chores, I manage to spend 50 to 60 hours a week at the typewriter or doing reporting for the freelance articles I sell to magazines and newspapers. Sandy, meanwhile, pursues her own demanding schedule. Besides the usual household routine, she oversees the garden and beehives, bakes bread, cans and freezes, drives the kids to their music lessons, practices with them, takes organ lessons on her own, does research and typing for me, writes an article herself now and then, tends the flower beds, stacks a little wood and delivers the eggs. There is, as the old saying goes, no rest for the wicked on a place like this -- and not much for the virtuous either. 在这些活计之间，我每周要抽空花五、六十个小时，不是打字撰文，就是为作为自由撰稿人投给报刊的文章进行采访。桑迪则有她自己繁忙的工作日程。除了日常的家务，她还照管菜园和蜂房，烘烤面包，将食品装罐、冷藏，开车送孩子学音乐，和他们一起练习，自己还要上风琴课，为我做些研究工作并打字，自己有时也写写文章，还要侍弄花圃，堆摞木柴、运送鸡蛋。正如老话说的那样，在这种情形之下，坏人不得闲――贤德之人也歇不了。
6 None of us will ever forget our first winter. We were buried under five feet of snow from December through March. While one storm after another blasted huge drifts up against the house and barn, we kept warm inside burning our own wood, eating our own apples and loving every minute of it.
7 When spring came, it brought two floods. First the river overflowed, covering much of our land for weeks. Then the growing season began, swamping us under wave after wave of produce. Our freezer filled up with cherries, raspberries, strawberries, asparagus, peas, beans and corn. Then our canned-goods shelves and cupboards began to grow with preserves, tomato juice, grape juice, plums, jams and jellies. Eventually, the basement floor disappeared under piles of potatoes, squash and pumpkins, and the barn began to fill with apples and pears. It was amazing.
8 The next year we grew even more food and managed to get through the winter on firewood that was mostly from our own trees and only 100 gallons of heating oil. At that point I began thinking seriously about quitting my job and starting to freelance. The timing was terrible. By then, Shawn and Amy, our oldest girls were attending expensive Ivy League schools and we had only a few thousand dollars in the bank. Yet we kept coming back to the same question: Will there ever be a better time? The answer, decidedly, was no, and so -- with my employer's blessings and half a year's pay in accumulated benefits in my pocket -- off I went.
9 There have been a few anxious moments since then, but on balance things have gone much better than we had any right to expect. For various stories of mine, I've crawled into black-bear dens for Sports Illustrated, hitched up dogsled racing teams for Smithsonian magazine, checked out the Lake Champlain "monster" for Science Digest, and canoed through the Boundary Waters wilderness area of Minnesota for Destinations.
10 I'm not making anywhere near as much money as I did when I was employed full time, but now we don't need as much either. I generate enough income to handle our $600-a-month mortgage payments plus the usual expenses for a family like ours. That includes everything from music lessons and dental bills to car repairs and college costs. When it comes to insurance, we have a poor man's major-medical policy. We have to pay the first $500 of any medical fees for each member of the family. It picks up 80% of the costs beyond that. Although we are stuck with paying minor expenses, our premium is low -- only $560 a year -- and we are covered against catastrophe. Aside from that and the policy on our two cars at $400 a year, we have no other insurance. But we are setting aside $2,000 a year in an IRA.
11 We've been able to make up the difference in income by cutting back without appreciably lowering our standard of living. We continue to dine out once or twice a month, but now we patronize local restaurants instead of more expensive places in the city. We still attend the opera and ballet in Milwaukee but only a few times a year. We eat less meat, drink cheaper wine and see
fewer movies. Extravagant Christmases are a memory, and we combine vacations with story assignments...
12 I suspect not everyone who loves the country would be happy living the way we do. It takes a couple of special qualities. One is a tolerance for solitude. Because we are so busy and on such a tight budget, we don't entertain much. During the growing season there is no time for socializing anyway. Jim and Emily are involved in school activities, but they too spend most of their time at home.
13 The other requirement is energy -- a lot of it. The way to make self-sufficiency work on a small scale is to resist the temptation to buy a tractor and other expensive laborsaving devices. Instead, you do the work yourself. The only machinery we own (not counting the lawn mower) is a little three-horsepower rotary cultivator and a 16-inch chain saw.
14 How much longer we'll have enough energy to stay on here is anybody's guess -- perhaps for quite a while, perhaps not. When the time comes, we'll leave with a feeling of sorrow but also with a sense of pride at what we've been able to accomplish. We should make a fair profit on the sale of the place, too. We've invested about $35,000 of our own money in it, and we could just about double that if we sold today. But this is not a good time to sell. Once economic conditions improve, however, demand for farms like ours should be strong again.
15 We didn't move here primarily to earn money though. We came because we wanted to improve the quality of our lives. When I watch Emily collecting eggs in the evening, fishing with Jim on the river or enjoying an old-fashioned picnic in the orchard with the entire family, I know we've found just what we were looking for.
Unit1 Text B American Family Life: The Changing Picture Donna Barron
1 It's another evening in an American household.
2 The door swings open at 5:30 sharp. "Hi, honey! I'm home!" In walks dear old Dad, hungry and tired after a
long day at the office. He is greeted by Mom in her apron, three happy children, and the aroma of a delicious pot
班肚子饿了人也累了。迎接他的是系着围裙的妈妈 3 个快乐的孩子以及炖肉诱人的香味。
3 After a leisurely meal together, Mom does the dishes. That, after all, is part of her job. The whole family
then moves to the living room. There everyone spends the evening playing Scrabble or watching TV.
4 Then everyone is off to bed. And the next morning Dad and the kids wake up to the sounds and smells of
Mom preparing pancakes and sausages for breakfast.
5 (1) What? You say that doesn't sound like life in your house? Well, you're not alone. In fact, you're probably
in the majority. 什么你说那听起来不像你府上的生活其实不仅仅是你一个人这么想。事实上
6 At one time in America, the above household might have been typical. You can still visit such a home -- on
television. Just watch reruns of old situation comedies. (2) Leave it to Beaver, for example, shows Mom doing
housework in pearls and high heels. Dad keeps his suit and tie on all weekend. But the families that operate like
Beaver Cleaver's are fewer and fewer. They're disappearing because three parts of our lives have changed: the way
we work, the way we eat, and the way we entertain ourselves. Becoming aware of the effects of those changes
may help us improve family life.
7 Let's look first at the changes in the way we work. Today the words "Hi, honey! I'm home!" might not be
spoken by dear old Dad. Dear old Mom is just as likely to be saying them. A generation ago, most households
could get along on one paycheck -- Dad's. Mom stayed home, at least until the children started school. But today,
over half the mothers with young children go to work. An even greater percentage of mothers of older children are
in the workforce. And the number of single-parent homes has mushroomed in the last thirty years.
8 These changes in work have affected children as well as parents. When only Dad went out to work, children
came home from school to Mom. (In TV situation comedies, they came home to Mom and home-baked cookies)
Today, we'll find them at an after-school program or a neighbor's house. Or they may come home to no one at all.
In every community, children are caring for themselves until their parents return from work. Are these children
missing out on an important part of childhood? Or are they developing a healthy sense
of self-reliance? These are
questions that Mrs. Cleaver never had to deal with.
9 In addition, Dad and now Mom are often gone from home longer than ever. Not too long ago, most men
worked close to home. The office or factory was just downtown. Dad often walked to work or hitched a ride with
a friendly neighbor. But no more.
10 Today's working men and women are commuters. They travel distances to work that would have made
their parents gasp. Commutes of forty-five minutes or an hour are common. Workers travel on buses, subways,
and crowded highways. Many leave their suburban homes at dawn and don't return until dark. No running home
for lunch for today's commuter.
11 And speaking of lunch, there's been a second big change in American family life. If both parents are away
from home for long hours, who's whipping up those delicious meals in the kitchen? The answer, more and more, is
12 These days, few people have time to shop for and prepare "home-style" meals. The Cleavers were used to
dinners of pot roast or chicken. Potatoes, salad, and vegetables went with the main course, with pie or cake for
dessert. But this kind of meal takes several hours to fix. People can't spend hours in
the kitchen if they get home at
13 So what do working families eat? They choose meals that are easy to prepare or are already prepared. Fast
food, takeout, and heat-and-serve dishes make up much of the modern American diet. Dad may arrive home with
a bag of Big Macs and shakes. Mom may phone out for Chinese food or ask the local
pizza parlor to deliver. And
more and more people rely on microwaves to thaw frozen food in minutes.
14 One consequence of these quickly prepared meals is that families spend less time dining together. And
classic fast foods, like hamburgers and fries, are meant to be eaten on the run, not slowly enjoyed at the dinner
table. The modern family no longer shares the evening meal. As a result, it no longer shares the day's news... or
the feeling of togetherness.
15 Finally, what about after dinner? Is the family evening at least something the
Cleavers could relate to?
16 Not a chance.
17 We don't have to look outside the home to see the changes. The modern American family entertains itself
in ways the Cleavers would never have dreamed of.
18 Thirty years ago, families gathered around a radio each evening. Later, television
took over. Most families
had just one set, which they watched together. Today, television and computers bring a dizzying array of
entertainment into the home. Cable television provides everything from aerobics classes to Shakespeare. VCRs
expand the choices even more. (3) If there's nothing good on network TV or cable, the video store offers the best
and worst of Hollywood: recent movies, cartoons, "adult" films, exercise programs, travel, sports, how-to tapes.
Computer games, which make viewers part of the action, also provide excitement. Players can compete in the
Olympics, search out aliens, or wipe out entire civilizations on their little screens.
19 With all these choices, it makes sense to own more than one television set. The
used to be rare. (4) Nowadays, Dad might want to rent an action movie when Mom's cable shopping service is on.
Or Junior is playing a let's-blow-up-Saturn video game while Sis wants to see The Simpsons. Why not invest in
several sets? Then each family member can enjoy himself or herself in peace.
20 What's wrong with this picture of today's family?
21 Only this. Today's Cleavers spend their evenings in front of their separate TV screens. Then they go to bed.
The next morning, they rush off to their separate jobs (work and school). They come home at separate times. They
eat separately. Finally, they return to their separate TV screens for another evening's entertainment. During all
these times, when do they talk to each other or even see each other? When are they a family?
22 Certain realities of modern life cannot change. One is the need, in most families, for both parents to bring
home a paycheck. Another is the distance many of us must travel to work or to school. But must everything
change? And must we lose the family structure in the process?
23 No one is suggesting that we go back to the 1950s. The Cleaver household was a fantasy even then, not
reality. But we might borrow one important lesson from the Cleavers. It is that family life is just as important as
work or play. If we agree, we'll find ways of spending more time together. We'll find things to share. And then
there will be something right with the picture.
Unit2 Text A The Freedom Givers给人以自由者
Fergus M. Bordewich弗格斯·M·博得威奇1 A gentle breeze swept the Canadian plains as I stepped outside the small two-story house. Alongside me was a slender woman in a black dress, my guide back to a time when the surrounding settlement in Dresden, Ontario, was home to a hero in American history. As we walked toward a plain gray church, Barbara Carter spoke proudly of her great-great-grandfather, Josiah Henson. "He was confident that the Creator intended all men to be created equal. And he never gave up struggling for that freedom."
2 Carter's devotion to her ancestor is about more than personal pride: it is about family honor. For Josiah Henson has lived on through the character in American fiction that he helped inspire: Uncle Tom, the long-suffering slave in Harriet Beecher Stowe's Uncle Tom's Cabin. Ironically, that character has come to symbolize everything Henson was not. A racial sellout unwilling to stand up for himself? Carter gets angry at the thought. "Josiah Henson was a man of principle," she said firmly.
3 I had traveled here to Henson's last home -- now a historic site that Carter formerly directed -- to learn more about a man who was, in many ways, an African-American Moses. After winning his own freedom from slavery, Henson secretly helped hundreds of other slaves to escape north to Canada -- and liberty. Many settled here in Dresden with him.
4 Yet this stop was only part of a much larger mission for me. Josiah Henson is but one name on a long list of courageous men and women who together forged the Underground Railroad, a secret web of escape routes and safe houses that they used to liberate slaves from the American South. Between 1820 and 1860, as many as 100,000 slaves traveled the Railroad to freedom.
5 In October 2000, President Clinton authorized $1
6 million for the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center to honor this first great civil-rights struggle in the U. S. The center is scheduled to open in 2004 in Cincinnati. And it's about time. For the heroes of the Underground Railroad remain too little remembered, their exploits still largely unsung. I was intent on telling their stories. 2000年10月，克林顿总统批准拨款1600万美元建造全国“地下铁路”自由中心，以此纪念美国历史上第一次伟大的民权斗争。中心计划于2004年在辛辛那提州建成。真是该建立这样一个中心的时候了。因为地下铁路的英雄们依然默默无闻，他们的业绩依然少人颂扬。我要讲述他们的故事。
6 John Parker tensed when he heard the soft knock. Peering out his door into the night, he recognized the face of a trusted neighbor. "There's a party of escaped slaves hiding in the woods in Kentucky, twenty miles from the river," the man whispered urgently. Parker didn't hesitate. "I'll go," he said, pushing a pair of pistols into his pockets.
7 Born a slave two decades before, in the 1820s, Parker had been taken from his mother at age eight and forced to walk in chains from Virginia to Alabama, where he was sold on the slave market. Determined to live free someday, he managed to get trained in iron molding. Eventually he saved enough money working at this trade on the side to buy his freedom. Now, by day, Parker worked in an iron foundry in the Ohio port of Ripley. By night he was a "conductor" on the Underground Railroad, helping people slip by the slave hunters. In Kentucky, where he was now headed, there was a $1000 reward for his capture, dead or alive.
8 Crossing the Ohio River on that chilly night, Parker found ten fugitives frozen with fear. "Get your bundles and follow me, " he told them, leading the eight men and two women toward the river. They had almost reached shore when a watchman spotted them and raced off to spread the news.
9 Parker saw a small boat and, with a shout, pushed the escaping slaves into it. There was room for all but two. As the boat slid across the river, Parker watched helplessly as the pursuers closed in around the men he was forced to leave behind.
10 The others made it to the Ohio shore, where Parker hurriedly arranged for a wagon to take them to the next "station" on the Underground Railroad -- the first leg of their journey to safety in Canada. Over the course of his life, John Parker guided more than 400 slaves to safety.
11 While black conductors were often motivated by their own painful experiences, whites were commonly driven by religious convictions. Levi Coffin, a Quaker raised in North Carolina, explained, "The Bible, in bidding us to feed the hungry and clothe the naked, said nothing about color."
12 In the 1820s Coffin moved west to Newport (now Fountain City), Indiana, where he opened a store. Word spread that fleeing slaves could always find refuge at the Coffin home. At times he sheltered as many as 17 fugitives at once, and he kept a team and wagon ready to convey them on the next leg of their journey. Eventually three principal routes converged at the Coffin house, which came to be the Grand Central Terminal of the Underground Railroad.
13 For his efforts, Coffin received frequent death threats and warnings that his store and home would be burned. Nearly every conductor faced similar risks -- or worse. In the North, a magistrate might have imposed a fine or a brief jail sentence for aiding those escaping. In the Southern states, whites were sentenced to months or even years in jail. One courageous Methodist minister, Calvin Fairbank, was imprisoned for more than 17 years in Kentucky, where he kept a log of his beatings: 35,105 stripes with the whip.
14 As for the slaves, escape meant a journey of hundreds of miles through unknown country, where they were usually easy to recognize. With no road signs and few maps, they had to put their trust in directions passed by word of mouth and in secret signs -- nails driven into trees, for
example -- that conductors used to mark the route north.
15 Many slaves traveled under cover of night, their faces sometimes caked with white powder. Quakers often dressed their "passengers," both male and female, in gray dresses, deep bonnets and full veils. On one occasion, Levi Coffin was transporting so many runaway slaves that he disguised them as a funeral procession.
16 Canada was the primary destination for many fugitives. Slavery had been abolished there in 1833, and Canadian authorities encouraged the runaways to settle their vast virgin land. Among them was Josiah Henson.
17 As a boy in Maryland, Henson watched as his entire family was sold to different buyers, and he saw his mother harshly beaten when she tried to keep him with her. Making the best of his lot, Henson worked diligently and rose far in his owner's regard.
18 Money problems eventually compelled his master to send Henson, his wife and children to
a brother in Kentucky. After laboring there for several years, Henson heard alarming news: the new master was planning to sell him for plantation work far away in the Deep South. The slave would be separated forever from his family.
19 There was only one answer: flight. "I knew the North Star," Henson wrote years later. "Like the star of Bethlehem, it announced where my salvation lay. "
20 At huge risk, Henson and his wife set off with their four children. Two weeks later, starving and exhausted, the family reached Cincinnati, where they made contact with members of the Underground Railroad. "Carefully they provided for our welfare, and then they set us thirty miles on our way by wagon."
21 The Hensons continued north, arriving at last in Buffalo, N. Y. There a friendly captain pointed across the Niagara River. "'Do you see those trees?' he said. 'They grow on free soil.'" He gave Henson a dollar and arranged for a boat, which carried the slave and his family across the river to Canada.
22 "I threw myself on the ground, rolled in the sand and danced around, till, in the eyes of several who were present, I passed for a madman. 'He's some crazy fellow,' said a Colonel Warren."
23 "'Oh, no! Don't you know? I'm free!'"
Unit3 Text A The Land of the Lock锁之国
鲍伯·格林Bob Greene 1 In the house where I grew up, it was our custom to leave the front door on the latch at night. I don't know if that was a local term or if it is universal; "on the latch" meant the door was closed but not locked. None of us carried keys; the last one in for the evening would close up, and that was it.
2 Those days are over. In rural areas as well as in cities, doors do not stay unlocked, even for part of an evening.
3 Suburbs and country areas are, in many ways, even more vulnerable than well-patroled urban streets. Statistics show the crime rate rising more dramatically in those allegedly tranquil areas than in cities. At any rate, the era of leaving the front door on the latch is over.
4 It has been replaced by dead-bolt locks, security chains, electronic alarm systems and trip wires hooked up to a police station or private guard firm. Many suburban families have sliding glass doors on their patios, with steel bars elegantly built in so no one can pry the doors open.
5 It is not uncommon, in the most pleasant of homes, to see pasted on the windows small notices announcing that the premises are under surveillance by this security force or that guard company. 在最温馨的居家，也常常看得到窗上贴着小小的告示，称本宅由某家安全机构或某个保安公司负责监管。
6 The lock is the new symbol of America. Indeed, a recent public-service advertisement by a large insurance company featured not charts showing how much at risk we are, but a picture of a child's bicycle with the now-usual padlock attached to it.
7 The ad pointed out that, yes, it is the insurance companies that pay for stolen goods, but who is going to pay for what the new atmosphere of distrust and fear is doing to our way of life? Who is going to make the psychic payment for the transformation of America from the Land of the Free to the Land of the Lock?
8 For that is what has happened. We have become so used to defending ourselves against the new atmosphere of American life, so used to putting up barriers, that we have not had time to think about what it may mean.
9 For some reason we are satisfied when we think we are well-protected; it does not occur to us to ask ourselves: Why has this happened? Why are we having to barricade ourselves against our neighbors and fellow citizens, and when, exactly, did this start to take over our lives?
10 And it has taken over. If you work for a medium- to large-size company, chances are that you don't just wander in and out of work. You probably carry some kind of access card, electronic or otherwise, that allows you in and out of your place of work. Maybe the security guard at the front desk knows your face and will wave you in most days, but the fact remains that the business you work for feels threatened enough to keep outsiders away via these "keys."
11 It wasn't always like this. Even a decade ago, most private businesses had a policy of free access. It simply didn't occur to managers that the proper thing to do was to distrust people.
12 Look at the airports. Parents used to take children out to departure gates to watch planes land and take off. That's all gone. Airports are no longer a place of education and fun; they are the most sophisticated of security sites.
13 With electronic X-ray equipment, we seem finally to have figured out a way to hold the terrorists, real and imagined, at bay; it was such a relief to solve this problem that we did not think much about what such a state of affairs says about the quality of our lives. We now pass through these electronic friskers without so much as a sideways glance; the machines, and what they stand for, have won.
14 Our neighborhoods are bathed in high-intensity light; we do not want to afford ourselves even so much a luxury as a shadow.
15 Businessmen, in increasing numbers, are purchasing new machines that hook up to the telephone and analyze a caller's voice. The machines are supposed to tell the businessman, with a small margin of error, whether his friend or client is telling lies.
16 All this is being done in the name of "security"; that is what we tell ourselves. We are fearful, and so we devise ways to lock the fear out, and that, we decide, is what security means.
17 But no; with all this "security," we are perhaps the most insecure nation in the history of civilized man. What better word to describe the way in which we have been forced to live? What sadder reflection on all that we have become in this new and puzzling time?
18 We trust no one. Suburban housewives wear rape whistles on their station wagon key chains. We have become so smart about self-protection that, in the end, we have all outsmarted ourselves. We may have locked the evils out, but in so doing we have locked ourselves in.
19 That may be the legacy we remember best when we look back on this age: In dealing with the unseen horrors among us, we became prisoners of ourselves. All of us prisoners, in this time of our troubles.
Unit3 Text B Why I Bought A Gun我为什么买枪
Gail Buchalter盖尔?巴卡尔特1 I was raised in one of Manhattan's more desirable neighborhoods. My
upper-middle-class background never
involved guns. If my parents felt threatened, they simply put another lock on the door.
2 By high school, I had traded in my cashmere sweaters for a black arm band. I marched for Civil Rights,
shunned Civil Defense drills and protested the Vietnam war. It was easy being 18 and a peacenik. I wasn't raising
an 11-year-old child then.
南战争。作为妙龄18 的少女当一名反战分子真是轻松自在。那时我还没有一个11 岁的孩子要抚养。
3 (1) Today, I am typical of the women whom gun manufactures have been aiming at as potential buyers --
and one of the millions who have taken the plunge.
4 I began questioning my pacifist beliefs one Halloween night in Phoenix, where I had moved when I married.
I was almost home when another car nearly hit mine head-on. With the speed of a New York cabbie, I rolled down
my window and screamed curses as the driver passed. He instantly made a U-turn, almost climbing on my back
bumper. By now, he and his two friends were hanging out of the car windows, yelling
that they were going to rape,
cut and kill me.
5 I already had turned into our driveway when I realized my husband wasn't home. I was trapped. The car had
pulled in behind me. I drove up to the back porch and got into the kitchen, where our dogs stood waiting for me.
The three men spilled out of their car and into our yard. 我开进车道才想起丈夫不在家。这下我进退两
6 My heart was pumping. I grabbed the collars of Jack, our 200-pound Irish wolfhound, and his 140-pound
malamute buddy, Slush. Then I kicked open the back door -- I was so scared that I became aggressive -- and
actually dared the three creeps to keep coming. With the dogs, the odds had changed in my favor, and the men ran
back to the safety of their car, yelling that they'd be back the next day to blow me away. Fortunately, they never
7 A few years and one divorce later, I headed for Los Angeles with my 3-year-old son, Jordan (the dogs had
since departed). When I put him in preschool a few weeks later, the headmistress noted that I was a single parent
and immediately warned me that there was a rapist in my new neighborhood.
8 I called the police, who confirmed this fact. The rapist followed no particular pattern. Sometimes he would
be waiting in his victim's house; other times he would break in while the person was asleep. Although it was
summer, I would carefully lock my windows at night and then lie there and sweat in fear. Thankfully, the rapist
was caught, but not before he had attacked two more women.
9 Soon the papers were telling yet another tale of senseless horror. Richard Bamirez, who became known as
"The Walk-In Killer," spent months crippling and killing before he was caught. (2) His alleged crimes were so
brutal, his desire to inflict pain so intense, that I began to question my beliefs about not taking human life under
any circumstances. The thought of taking a human life disgusts me, but the idea of being someone's victim is
worse. And how, I began to ask myself, do you talk pacifism to a murderer or a rapist? 不久报纸上又报道起另一个丧心病狂的恐怖人物的事来。此人名叫理查德?巴米里人称“入室
10 Finally, I decided that I would defend myself, even if it meant killing another person. (3)
I realized that the
one-sided pacifism I once so strongly had advocated could backfire on me and worse, on my son. Reluctantly, I
concluded that I had to insure the best option for our survival. My choices: to count on a cop or to own a pistol.
11 I called a man I had met a while ago who, I remembered, owned several guns. He told me he had a Smith
& Wesson 38 Special for sale and recommended it, since it was small enough for me to handle yet had the
necessary stopping power.
12 I bought the gun. That same day, I got six rounds of special ammunition with plastic tips that explode on
impact. These are not for target practice; these are for protection.
13 For about $50, I also picked up a metal safety box. Its push-button lock opens with a touch if you know the
proper combination, possibly taking only a second or two longer than it does to reach into a night-table drawer.
Now I knew that my son, Jordan, couldn't get his hands on it while I still could.
14 When I brought the gun home, Jordan was fascinated by it. He kept picking it up, while I nervously
watched. But knowledge, I believe, is still our greatest defense. And since I'm in favor of education for sex, AIDS
and learning to drive, I couldn't draw the line at teaching my son about guns.
15 Next, I took the pistol and my son to the target range. I rented a 22-caliber pistol for Jordan. (A .38 was too
much gun for him to handle.) I was relieved when he put it down after 10 minutes -- he
didn't like the feel of it.
随后我携枪带儿子去射击场。我给乔丹租了一支0.22 口径的手枪。0.38 口径的他摆弄不了。10
16 But that didn't prevent him from asking me if he should use the gun if someone broke into our house while
I wasn't home. I shouted "no!" so loud, we both jumped. I explained that, if someone ever broke in, he's young and
agile enough to leap out the window and run for his life.
17 Today he couldn't care less about the gun. Every so often, when were watching television in my room, I
practice opening the safety box, and Jordan times me. I'm down to three seconds. I'll ask him what's the first thing
you do when you handle a gun, and he looks at me like I'm stupid, saying: "Make sure it's unloaded. But I'm not to
touch it or tell my friends about it." Jordan's already bored with it all.
18 I, on the other hand, look forward to Mondays -- "Ladies' Night" at the target range -- when I get to shoot
for free. I buy a box of bullets and some targets from the guy behind the counter, put on the protective eye and ear
coverings and walk through the double doors to the firing lines.
19 Once there, I load my gun, look down the sights of the barrel and adjust my aim. I fire six rounds into the
chest of a life-sized target hanging 25 feet away. As each bullet rips a hole through the figure drawn there, I realize
I'm getting used to owning a gun and no longer feeling faint when I pick it up. The weight of it has become
comfortable in my hand. And I am keeping my promise to practice. Too many people are killed by their own guns
because they don't know how to use them.