Yesterday, my wife and I got involved in some gunplay. We went to a shooting range about ten miles from the house and fired a variety of weapons: 9mm Glock, a shotgun, and I fired an M4 carbine, though my wife did not. Though I’m not a fan of guns, I enjoyed learning a bit about how to shoot these particular weapons and I enjoyed the target practice. The cause for this foray into weaponry was the conclusion of my wife’s citizens’ police academy training course. I went to a similar program a year or two ago, but I did not go to the gun range. Yesterday, I joined her. We were among only six people who participated. At least one of the other people was a rabid Trump supporter. And I suspect most of the others were, as well, though they were not vocal and visual about their Trumpery. That notwithstanding, we enjoyed the experience. As it turned out, I am a pretty damn good shot with both a pistol and a rifle. And I’m not half-bad with a shotgun. I fired the shotgun using three different rounds: birdshot, buckshot, and slug. All of them are powerful ammunition, but the buckshot seems to me to be the most lethal. While the slug would be more lethal with a well-placed shot, the buckshot is more forgiving to the shooter and less forgiving for the target.
Now, why would a guy like me, who is about as far from a gun-afficionado as you’d find, want to go to a gun range? It’s a bit tough to explain, but I’ll try. I do not blame guns and ammo for the damage guns do; I blame people. That having been said, I am a supporter of extremely stiff gun registration laws; I do not want Trump supporters, for example, to have ready access to guns without first undergoing psychological evaluations. But continuing the discussion, I think it’s important for gun opponents to understand the draw of guns to their advocates and to try to appreciate the allure of weaponry. I really believe it’s generally about enjoyment of the game, just like people like to play chess; sure, I’m sure there are those who ejaculate to the sound of gunfire, but I don’t think they’re all that common. We gun control advocates ought to try to understand the motives of gun enthusiasts. They are not all the nutcases we might assume them to be.
Back to the matter at hand. Both of us enjoyed the experience. Aside from the unpleasant political undertones, the experience of being outside with people who really know guns and who know how to explain safety and firearm operations was a treat. I learned a lot. I could enjoy target shooting. I can’t imagine using a gun to kill another person, but I can imagine getting a thrill at hitting a target.
So, there you go. I love to expand my horizons. I consider my horizon expanded.