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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It's Uncle Jack who instructs Scout and Jem in the rudiments of shooting with air rifles. Normally, one would expect Atticus to do this. But Jack tells Scout and Jem that Atticus just isn't interested in guns. This merely adds to the children's growing conviction that Atticus isn't like other...

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It's Uncle Jack who instructs Scout and Jem in the rudiments of shooting with air rifles. Normally, one would expect Atticus to do this. But Jack tells Scout and Jem that Atticus just isn't interested in guns. This merely adds to the children's growing conviction that Atticus isn't like other dads, and not in a good way, either. He's getting old and feeble; he wears glasses and reads in the living room; he doesn't play poker or go fishing like other dads. Overall, Atticus doesn't present a particularly impressive figure.

But Jack's not telling the truth. Atticus "Ol' One-Shot" Finch is actually a real sharpshooter. But as Atticus is so incredibly modest, he's never once told the children about his special skill with a gun. Jack knows that his brother doesn't like to brag about his exceptional shooting ability, which is why he makes up a story about Atticus not being interested in guns. In fact, no one will actually tell Scout and Jem just how much of a good shot their old man really is; they'll be able to see it for themselves when Atticus reluctantly, but expertly, puts poor old Tim Johnson (the dog) out of his misery.

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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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