What reason does Uncle Jack give for Atticus's unwillingness to teach the kids to shoot in To Kill a Mockingbird?

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bullgatortail eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Plotting together, the two Finch brothers managed to provide Jem and Scout with "what we had asked for" for Christmas: The air rifles were a gift from Atticus, purchased by Uncle Jack before leaving Boston for Maycomb. Atticus warned Jem and Scout not to " 'point them in the house,' " and then reminded Jack that it was his responsibility to teach the children all they needed to know about shooting. Jack knew about Atticus's youthful marksmanship skills, and he also knew about his brother's disdain for firearms. Keeping Atticus's nickname, "Ol' One-Shot" a secret from the children, Jack merely told them that "Atticus wasn't interested in guns." Atticus's only advice was to Jem:

"Shoot all the bluejays you want, if you can hit 'em, but remember it's a sin to kill a mockingbird."  (Chapter 10)

The children would soon learn of their father's great secret and how this skill had given him "an unfair advantage over most living things."

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To Kill a Mockingbird

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