Liberty is an inherently offensive lifestyle. Living in a free society guarantees that each one of us will see our most cherished principles and beliefs questioned and in some cases mocked. That psychic discomfort is the price we pay for basic civic peace. It's worth it. It's a pragmatic principle. Defend everyone else's rights, because if you don't there is no one to defend yours. -- MaxedOutMama

I don't just want gun rights... I want individual liberty, a culture of self-reliance....I want the whole bloody thing. -- Kim du Toit

The most glaring example of the cognitive dissonance on the left is the concept that human beings are inherently good, yet at the same time cannot be trusted with any kind of weapon, unless the magic fairy dust of government authority gets sprinkled upon them.-- Moshe Ben-David

The cult of the left believes that it is engaged in a great apocalyptic battle with corporations and industrialists for the ownership of the unthinking masses. Its acolytes see themselves as the individuals who have been "liberated" to think for themselves. They make choices. You however are just a member of the unthinking masses. You are not really a person, but only respond to the agendas of your corporate overlords. If you eat too much, it's because corporations make you eat. If you kill, it's because corporations encourage you to buy guns. You are not an individual. You are a social problem. -- Sultan Knish

All politics in this country now is just dress rehearsal for civil war. -- Billy Beck

Thursday, November 18, 2004

How do you Convert a Gun-Phobe? Put One in Her Hands!

Zendo Deb of .357 Magnum points to this OUTSTANDING Slate piece on a woman who takes up shooting as part of her job of, as she describes it, "human guinea pig." Emily Yoffe takes up challenges, and then reports on the results. As the invitation at the bottom of her column puts it,
Is there something you've always wanted to do but were too scared or embarrassed to try? Ask the Human Guinea Pig to do it for you.
This time it was shooting. Her piece is subtitled "How I Learned to Love Guns." It begins thus:
I pressed the Beretta AL391 Urika deep into my shoulder and against my cheek, as if gripping a shotgun stock were as natural as holding the strap of my purse. I said, "Pull," in a firm yet casual way, to convey that, sure I drove here in a Volvo, and the radio in the Volvo is tuned to NPR, but I'm actually the kind of woman who loves the smell of cordite in my hair. Two weeks ago I was so ignorant about firearms that I thought shotguns discharged bullets and I didn't know the difference between a revolver and a semiautomatic. But here I was shooting trap, in which clay disks, the moving target simulating a bird in flight, are released at unpredictable angles from a small trap house. As the "pigeon" flew on my command, I swung the shotgun to follow its arc and pulled the trigger. My instructor called out, "Oh, yeah!"

"What happened?" I asked.

"You hit it," he said.
If you're going to get an introduction to shooting, clay pigeons is a damned fine way to do it. Instant gratification when you hit!

I'm not going to reproduce the whole piece, but I do want to hit some of the more interesting highlights. Like this one:
So anathema are guns among my friends that when one learned I was doing this piece, he opened his wallet, silently pulled out an NRA membership card, then (after I recovered from the sight) asked me not to spread it around lest his son be kicked out of nursery school.
Want to know what it's like to be a second-class citizen? Own a gun in an extremely Blue state or area.

Then there's this:
Before I slinked back to my now-embarrassing Volvo, I stopped to watch two men shooting. They were fast and fluid and the targets shattered one after another. I am happily married, but I found myself thinking these two—whose faces I couldn't even make out—were awfully attractive. It brought to mind a newspaper article from a few years back. After the death of Hugh Culverhouse Sr., the owner of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, his various entanglements caused his widow to sue his estate. During the court proceedings, it was revealed that Culverhouse had an affair with the wife of a now-deceased television anchor. Culverhouse's son testified that the caretaker of his father's ranch told him that the caretaker would escort the anchor's wife and Culverhouse "into the woods and they would shoot guns and basically have sex." I thought the article was hilarious at the time. Now I understood.
Yet gun-phobes tell us that we have guns to compensate for a deficiency in our *cough* equipment.

Not hardly.

How about this?
After my trap-shooting triumph with the shotgun, Ricardo was going to teach me to shoot pistols. They terrified me.


A few days later I met Ricardo at the pistol range at the bucolic Izaak Walton League in Damascus, Md. Along to record the event was Dianna Douglas, a producer from NPR. I had asked her if she had any experience with guns, thinking she might want to do some shooting. "No, no, no, no, no," she replied with a laugh. "I'm not going to want to shoot any guns. No, no, no, no, no."

I stepped up to the line and looked at the target—a paper plate with a 3-inch black bull's-eye—Ricardo had stapled to a pole 21 feet away. A few days before I had taken a yoga class, and during the breathing I envisioned myself aligning the gun's front and back sights and slowly squeezing the trigger. Now I held the revolver, cocked the hammer, and shot. I hit the plate just southeast of dead center. Ricardo told me to keep going, and I start to punch a hole in the target. Maybe I could teach yoga at the NRA!

I switched to a Beretta 92FS 9 mm Parabellum semiautomatic and again I punched a decent hole. Ricardo then let me try his Sig Sauer P226 9 mm with the crimson trace laser-grip. With this gun, when you put your finger on the trigger a red laser dot illuminates your target. Ricardo had me load the magazine with 15 bullets. (From watching movies, I had thought magazines came already loaded, which I realized was like thinking candles came already lit.) After a few shots around the center of the plate, Ricardo told me to get in a faster rhythm, and I found myself hitting with greater accuracy. "Go ahead, paper plate, make my day."

After I emptied the semi, Dianna came up hesitantly. "Umm, how hard would it be for me to umm, shoot a few rounds?" she asked Ricardo. I said, "I told you so."

"Well, you look like such a badass doing it, I want to try," she explained.
Yes, yes, yes, yes, YES! Another convert! See?

Do us all a favor, take someone shooting this weekend who's never tried it before. Be low-pressure. Make it safe and fun for them. Chances are, next thing you know they'll be out buying a gun for themselves. And maybe they'll join the NRA.

UPDATE 11/19: HAH! I scooped Instapundit. Well, Zendo Deb did, actually, but Glenn picked one of the same excerpts I did. Still no Instalanche, though.


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