Friday, November 25

That's how we do it in the country

Yesterday morning, during a lull in the Macy's parade, I mentioned to my dad Memphis's prestigious danger ranking, and joked that mace makes a good stocking stuffer. He was like, I've got something better than that, and he and my brother proceeded to put their jackets on, dip into the big safe downstairs for metal and ammo, and coax me out into the backyard to teach me how to shoot a gun.

I wasn't crazy about the idea; I hate guns and am pretty scared of them — even when they're clearly unloaded — and tend to tense up when my brother even passes through the room holding one, fresh off a hunting trip. But I recognize that my fear is irrational (mostly) and puts me at a disadvantage if I'm ever in a situation where I need to use one to defend myself (like if I'm ever in a heist or if I get in a tussle with a convenience store clerk or something). So I decided to just go out there, let them teach me what I could, and get it over with.

They pinned up a paper target to a piece of old fence and showed me how to load three different kinds of handguns — two revolvers and a .40 caliber pistol, all with varying sizes and strengths of ammunition (the pistol being the most devastating; it's what most police forces use, I think).

It wasn't as hard as I thought it would be, which is truly scary. The pistol has a hair trigger and doesn't require anything other than a slight squeeze to blow a hole in you the size of a dime. It's anyone's guess what the size of the exit hole might be. Eeek. The small revolver has to be cocked, so you feel like a badass when you're aiming and you reach up with your thumb to pull the hammer back. And the big revolver can be cocked if you want, but I just squeezed it off without worrying about that; cocking messes up my aim. (Why did that last sentence sound so racy?)

I managed to hit the target pretty consistently — beginner's luck, I'm sure. Once you aim and pull the trigger, the gun kicks and there's a puff of smoke and unless you're trained to not wince at the noise and the kick, you have no idea where your bullet went. I had to have them spot the holes for me.

All three guns were as loud as you'd expect if you've ever heard a gunshot in the distance. My dad insisted that we wear earplugs, so that cut down on the noise. We don't really have many neighbors to worry about or any cops in town, so that kept us from worrying about getting in trouble. It sounded like a puny firing squad was catching up on some holiday executions.

Now my dad thinks it would be a good idea for me to take a gun safety course so he can give me one of the family guns. Now that I know that I can actually hold a gun and operate it without shooting off my toes, I'm thinking it might not be such a bad idea. If I'm going to live alone in one of the most dangerous areas in this country, I should think about being prepared to take care of myself. Despite how much of a peaceful hippie pacifist tree-hugger I'd like to try to be. Reality trumps that shit. I just won't shoot any trees.

5 Comments:

Blogger nashgirl said...

I poo poo that idea. Stick to the mace. Do you really want to be responsible for a gun? What if someone takes it and now there's another illegal weapon on the street. More than likely the thing will sit in your closet with dust settling for years, until a visiting cousin pulls it down and shoots his brother.
Shit like that happens all the time. I would recommend a non-lethal weapon, something that just hurts a lot.

Fri Nov 25, 02:58:00 PM  
Blogger theogeo said...

But you can't pose in silhouette with a can of mace and look cool and kitschy!

And really, it's all about the posing.

Fri Nov 25, 03:40:00 PM  
Blogger Brandonian said...

Wow, I didn't expect to see this post coming. Good for you. Gun's won't hurt you, unless of course, they're pointing at you. You'll join the ranks of us moderates yet...

Fri Nov 25, 06:31:00 PM  
Blogger Palm Tree said...

I didn't expect it, either. And if somebody broke into my house, there's no way I'd use a gun against them. I would never use a gun to harm another person, even if they tried to harm me first. Do you honestly think that you could shoot someone? For any reason at all?

Sun Nov 27, 03:11:00 PM  
Blogger theogeo said...

If some random stranger broke into my house and was trying to hurt me, I would have no moral qualms whatsoever with shooting him/her. Crackheads don't feel pain.

Sun Nov 27, 06:12:00 PM  

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