Shannon J. Allen Column

Shannon J. Allen

(Editor’s note: This column was originally published in the Jan. 3, 2009, edition of The Reporter.)

In the “Free state of Aroney,” all citizens are granted the right to bear arms.

Such a freedom is the only reason I can figure why Santa Claus left a .22-caliber rifle under the Christmas tree for my godson, Will Dooley, who is 9 years old.

Of course, Santa knows best or at least that’s what we’re taught to believe.

When I quizzed Will’s mother, Monica Dooley, the chief executive officer of Dooley Enterprises, about the rifle, she didn’t seem too excited.

I think this mother, the combination of entrepreneur/jewelry maker/jet-setting photographer, believes Santa got Will’s wish list mixed up with some other Will Dooley.

Maybe there’s another 9-year-old Will Dooley in some place like Aroney, Arizona, or Aroney, Alaska, who needs a weapon to help protect his family’s property from wild animals.

My godson doesn’t share his mom’s feelings about the rifle.

The gun was the first present he wanted to show his godfather when I dropped by the Dooley farm to see what Santa brought Will and his sister, Samantha.

When I learned about the rifle, I joked about fearing for my goddaughter’s safety. I said Will would use her for target practice, since Samantha believes her calling in life is to torment her brother.

Yes, I’m only kidding about the target practice. But, I’m not kidding about the torment.

I sometimes remind Samantha that when Will grows up and is much bigger and stronger than she is, he’s going to extract his revenge, and it won’t be pretty.

Will’s father, that great American, Sam Dooley, assured me Will wouldn’t be using the rifle unless he was present.

If Will becomes an expert with his rifle some day, maybe Monica and I can collaborate on a play.

Instead of, “Annie Get Your Gun,” it would be called, “Will Dooley Get Your Gun,” and Will would display his marksmanship skills while riding his motocross bike instead of a horse.

I’ve never owned a gun. Actually, I’ve never wanted one.

I’m not afraid of guns, but I don’t hunt and I’m not into shooting sports, so I don’t see the necessity of owning something I won’t use.

Before someone receives the wrong impression, I’m not anti-hunting or opposed to shooting sports.

Many of my friends and relatives count down the days to the various hunting seasons every year, and that’s great. I’m happy for them.

For me, I count down the days until Alabama’s first football game.

Santa also brought Will a pair of boxing gloves.

I hope Sam and Monica laid down the law about using those too.

If they didn’t, I can already envision bouts between the featherweight, Samantha, and light heavyweight, Will.

Shannon J. Allen is sports editor of The Sand Mountain Reporter. He can be contacted at

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