Friday, May 2, 2008

Not shooting deer or elk.

Every time I go to the grocery store, the same guy is working the register. I finally asked him if he ever gets a day off, and he laughed and said "there's nothing else to do here". Which is probably true if you like shopping, going out for coffee, going to the movies, or any other activity that requires commercial buildings and businesses. But with millions of square acres of national forest, there's far from nothing to do.

One thing that's really cool about the forest is that there's maintained fire roads that you can drive for miles and miles on, through desolate burn areas and lush healthy forests, some juniper, some ponderosa, some I don't know yet, but all beautiful. It's like hiking for lazy people LOL. In fact, Mom and I made a 25 mile loop out there the other day, and I guess I would not shut up about the amazing scenery because when we got back she did an imitation of me for Potterman: "omg it's so beautiful, omg it's so beautiful, omg it's so beautiful". Hey, I couldn't help it.

Now, the other thing that bored locals do besides go four-bying in the forest is go SHOOTING in the forest. At first this scared me, I mean, what if I was just hiking along and I got shot? Then my neighbor borrowed a gun from his friend so that WE could go shooting in the forest. I'd done the off roading, it was time to delve deeper into local pastimes. I was even more scared then. I had never shot a gun, and the whole day we were out in the forest I kept putting off the experience. I was hoping it would get too dark by the time we found a good spot and set up our targets. Granted, it was only a .22 rifle, but still, it COULD kill some one. Then there was no more putting it off: we had an hour of sun left and dude wasn't going to borrow a gun to NOT shoot it.

Actually, setting up our "range" really eased my worries. First, we picked an area that had been burned for many acres, and you could see that there were no innocent hikers in danger. Second, we went down to a dry creek bed between two huge sloping hills, and set up our targets (hand drawn circles on cardboard and some tin cans) on the bank. So we would basically be aiming at a wall of earth. Then we picked our spot to shoot from. We used a fallen log to rest on, but I wish we could have gotten the truck down there to use the hood. Whenever I shot a BB gun, I always preferred to be upright rather than crouching or kneeling.

I was extremely careful to only point the gun at the ground or the target, and put the safety on between shots if I wanted to change positions. The log, being charred from the fire, blackened me from calf to shoulder on my right side, so I wasn't worried about getting more dirty as I tried for the best shot. At this point, the fear was gone, and I was just a little nervous about hearing the first bang. I knew it would be loud and I hate being startled. Dude went first, and yup, the first shot, no matter how much I tried to anticipate it, startled me. It wasn't too bad, though.

After he emptied the clip it was my turn. I knew the gun wouldn't kick and so I aimed, exhaled, and squeezed the trigger. Funny thing was, it wasn't as loud shooting it as it was when I was a spectator, and after the first shot all nervousness was gone. I took my ten more shots (and I gotta say, clearing the chamber, or whatever it's called, between bullets is really fun. It makes you feel pretty burly.) and I have no idea what the distance was but I made about two thirds of my shots. The target was only 8 by 10 inches, and, I'm terrible at distance, but we were between 200 and three hundred feet away. Haha, I know thats a big variation but I didn't exactly have my tape measure. After measuring the new garden to be, actually, I'd say it was closer to 200 feet. Pretty weak, but hey, it was my first time shooting a gun. 22 shots on a 22, lol.

It was fun. I would do it again, and I'd like to try something with a bigger caliber. But one thing I learned when I was shooting was how easy it would be to kill with a gun. Because the thing is, you're really far away from your target. You wouldn't see it bleeding, it's pain, it's terror, up close and personal. Probably by the time you walked up to the bird or rabbit or deer it would be dead, and finding a dead animal is a lot easier that being with one as it died, or as you killed it, getting it's blood on your hands. And so guns are probably a good thing for soldiers, who have the traumatizing job of killing fellow humans, be it for self defense, a nation's freedom, or maybe a less noble cause. I mean, let's face it, if all soldiers were good guys, there wouldn't be wars, right? We'd all be on the same side.

I guess what's funny, as a liberal and all, is that while I don't think all guns should be outlawed, I can understand why some people do think that. If it were up to me, it would be all bad PEOPLE that were outlawed, but since that's impossible, I can see why there's anti gun protesters. However... why not outlaw cigarettes and knives and cars, too? I know, I know, statistically places like Canada and England with their heavy firearm restrictions have less deaths by gun. Honestly, I don't know where the line between freedom and safety should be drawn. It would be great if every one was a good person, and even if there was a nuclear bomb available to the public it would never be detonated because every one lived in respectful harmony and no one wanted to commit murder.

So I'm not trying to take sides here. I much prefer ignorant bliss and naivety and dreams of world peace than trying to decide who should be allowed what. I think the only answer is acceptance. If everyone could accept each other's differences, black, white, mexican, japanese, muslim, atheist, mormon, buddhist, and treat each other the way the want to be treated, with courtesy and politeness and respect and love, we wouldn't have to worry about tech nine's and sub machine guns. Okay. I'll lay off the fluffy bunnies and rainbows now. I would shoot a gun again- as pure target practice it's a sport just like shooting hoops. Practicing hand eye coordination with the awesome gift of the bodies we were given. But I could not shoot a bird. Or a rabbit. Or a deer. And most definitely not a fellow human being. If no one else could shoot a human either, well, that would be spiffy.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

really enjoyed that one sweetie...

love mum