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NRA and Nashville
This is Sandy. Most of you that read this blog regularly are familiar with my husband Steven’s viewpoint... sometimes opinionated viewpoint... sometimes pig headed viewpoint on things.
This week, I wanted to give him a break and talk to you about an interesting experience I had over the past week at the NRA convention in Nashville Tennessee. A part of the country that I honestly had no interest in visiting.
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You see, in 1992… I was offered an awesome opportunity to head out to begin my career as an Investigative Reporter with the goal of one day moving into an anchor’s position… the only problem… it was in Kansas City. For those of you who have not met me… my skin color is decidedly more “yellow” than that of my husband’s. While I grew up here in California, I was born in Seoul Korea and immigrated to the USA at the age of two. I was naturalized by the time I was seven (7). At that time, I had no choice but to assimilate into the American culture as there were only a handful of Asians let alone Koreans in the area where I grew up. There were no ESL classes or submersion classes… I was immersed. As a child, I was often ridiculed for being different… I was often times embarrassed that I was different… but as I found my bearings… as my peers found that I was no different then they were… I was accepted and being a part of the American culture was one that I was proud to be… I found myself playing sports for my school and ended my senior year going to Prom and being a leader through my Song Squad. At my university… I was part of a sorority then became student body vice president (and was coined as being the first Asian American Female to hold such a position)… thus giving me an edge on my career… but the thought of moving to middle American… frankly scared me to death… as I didn’t want to go through the trials and tribulations of my childhood years again.
Today, in Orange County there is a large asian population… still you would be surprised at the number of times that fellow Americans would walk up to me… have a conversation with me… then commend me on how beautiful my ability to speak English is… I am sure this, in their mind is a compliment… as that is what our universities teach in our diversity classes. Which appalls me… why focus on how we are different…
We are all different… regardless of our race and heritage… just look at your significant other… don’t you wonder where they came from some times? I think focusing on how we are all the same makes better sense to me!
And that is what I experienced at the NRA Convention this year. Every year the National Rifle Association... (of which I am a member of as well as an instructor…) holds a convention for all of their members. This convention moves from city to city and this year Nashville won the bid.
As I mentioned earlier… (and now you understand why)… I had absolutely no interest in going…
We have also been extremely busy at Artemis, with our new membership drive, people learning about our services, the CCW training as well as fielding a ton of questions about CCW’s and it’s recent rulings.
That, as well as zero interest in going to Tennessee… or for that matter any state in the mid-west with a bunch of… okay, I’m going to say it… REDNECKS… left me uninterested in the idea of heading off for a few days… let alone a convention to boot.
Steven had suggested that at least one of us should go, but it took Chris Cheng, the competitive shooter and NRA contributor telling me over the phone that I NEED TO BE THERE that honestly pushed me over the edge.
Since Chaney was off of school for spring break, I figured I would make it a “mother-daughter” bonding trip.
So... with that, Chaney and I boarded a flight to Nashville. When we landed the two of us got off the plane and found ourselves in one of the most beautiful places on earth, surrounded by some of the nicest, friendliest down to earth people that I have ever met.
If any of them were taken aback by my ethnicity they sure didn’t show it. Each person that I met made no assumptions… they addressed me as if they were addressing any other American… and they certainly did not compliment me on my language skills. They took me at face value.
Then it was on to the NRA convention.
I was curious to see how this whole thing would shake out. For the last three years I have been attending the SHOT show in Vegas. That is a massive production with a diverse audience. The show is only intended for people in the industry (though that is a pretty broad category), still at a fundamental level the show is intended for corporate consumers.
The NRA Convention is more like a big club meeting.
What struck me instantly were the amount of women present… women not just “manning” the booths, but women who were there to see what the latest and greatest was. Easily a third of all those walking around and looking at booths were women. Women of all ages. From teenagers to grandmas there was definitely a pronounced female presence. I also realized I was not the only minority present.
Sure, there were not as many asians as you would see in Irvine, but still plenty to take notice. In fact, just about every color on the palette was in attendance.
This reminded me of an important point. The NRA, as well as other gun rights organizations are first and foremost Civil Rights organizations. Those rights are fundamental, and are recognized by our government... not sanctioned by them. This also means that they are not relegated to only one group either. We each have a fundamental right to self-defense, and by extension we all are protected by the Second Amendment. We as a society need to get beyond the basis of differences… and instead focus as a whole on our similarities and push together to reach a greater goal… not one that separates us into segments of society.
Oh… by the way… I now enjoy Country Western Music too.
Divide and Conquer.
Last week I posted on facebook a verbatim exchange I had with an OCSD background investigator regarding the status of CCW permits in Orange County.
I did this for two reasons:
1) He told me to.
2)I felt that it was important that people either with CCW’s or in the process of getting a CCW have the latest intel.
Our facebook post was copied and pasted to a popular shooting internet forum.
Then the fireworks started.
Almost immediately some members of the forum did their best to discredit the information.
Some chastised us at Artemis for being “Cheerleaders” for the sheriff.
(Disclaimer: We are contracted with the Sheriff for deputy training.... we also train LAPD, Border Patrol, Homeland Security, and a host of others.)
The pessimism of the forum participants was palpable... and to a degree understood. But that pessimism also created wedges. The gun community... like most communities is robust and full of opinionated personalities. Some hold their viewpoints based on deep ideological reasoning... others because they want to settle scores.... some because they feel once vested in a particular side of an argument they would rather see their opponent vilified then acknowledge the fallacy of their own position.
When we are divided we fall as a political force.
We see that playing out now.
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I have been a lawyer for almost 22 years now.
I have sat in and listened to appellate arguments and watched as my colleagues debated the tea leaves gleaned from oral arguments, certain they had found the key to how the justices were going to rule.
They were wrong as often as they were right.
Those of us that are members of the Bar take it upon ourselves to inform our clients of the potential outcomes of a particular argument or course of action.
Sometimes our prognostication is spot on.
Other times.... as Justice Holmes once stated so eloquently, “The matter of justice is just as important on what the Jurist had for breakfast as the arguments of the plaintiffs attorney.”
We simply don’t know all outcomes.
What we can do is inform of what we know.
Some on the forums seemed to feel that Artemis was created for the purpose of CCW training.
Those of you who have been with us from the beginning know the fallacy of that statement.
Our goal when we opened our doors was three fold:
1) to make the single most advanced simulator training available to legally armed citizens.
2) Provide a multi-simulator facility for law enforcement to train,
3) Introduce new members into the shooting community.
That last point was critically important to us.
Our community MUST be expanded if our rights our going to be secured.
We have historically done an abysmal job in securing that goal. Our dwindled numbers in California speak to our failure.
We wanted local ranges and local trainers to know we had...and continue to have, no intention of competing with them... quite the contrary... we seek to create new customers for them.
Don’t get me wrong though... we love training CCW holders.
We feel that training legally armed citizens to be prepared to survive an encounter with evil is almost a religious calling.
We also feel that the use of our simulators to enhance the training through stress inoculation is invaluable.
Each of our classes also ends with us telling our students to seek out training from other schools. We feel it is important that a students training be continual and not be exclusive to us.
We are a community, and as a community we must remain committed to an ideal... our ideal as stated in our lobby: You HAVE THE RIGHT TO BEAR ARMS.... you have the RESPONSIBILITY to train.
An addendum: You have the mandatory obligation to be involved, and to support the efforts of others that also choose to be involved.
When pessimism becomes the paradigm, and “chairborne rangers” cultivate a spirt of negativism, all of our endeavors become muted.
We can speculate as to the outcome of Peruta when the case is heard before the entire 9th circuit.
We can also speculate as to the outcome of a final Supreme Court review... but in the end it is just that... speculation.
We owe it to ourselves, and to those that prize freedom as divined by our Creator and only recognized by our government... not granted by it,... to push against those perceived transgressions through collective action.
To support indifference,... to council muted agitation,... or to dismiss the contributions of others, serves only the forces that would seek to strip us of our rights.
Vigilantibus et non dormantibus, juris serventium.
“To be, or not to be--that is the question:
Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to sufferThe slings and arrows of outrageous fortune
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles
And by opposing end them.”
This last weekend, I was inspired by sixteen ordinary citizens who made a decision to push forward against unknown odds.
Sixteen people who had decided that they were going to take responsibility for their own safety, and not be slaves to those who misguidedly feel that if good decent people remain unarmed, the evil that exists in our world will behave itself.
You see... if a criminal wants to carry a firearm in public they... well,... they just carry a firearm in public.
If a law abiding citizen wants to carry a firearm in public, they are required to jump through a multitude of hoops of bureaucratic regulations.
In then end, if they are not able to successfully navigate this byzantine regulatory scheme, they usually give up and remain unarmed.... or they have a revolution... but that is another story.
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Having a CCW in California has been close to impossible for most, for many years. The case of Peruta v. San Diego changed that... at least for residents of Orange County.
The Peruta decision stipulated that a “general interest in self defense” was sufficient good cause to receive a CCW. The Sheriff of Orange County immediately altered her CCW policy to reflect the change.
Virtually all other urban sheriffs refused to accept the dictates of Peruta claiming it was still unsettled law.
The flood gates opened and literally thousands of applicants in OC began to receive their CCW based on “a general interest in self defense”.
At Artemis, we had the honor of training over a hundred of them in our sanctioned CCW training classes.
Then on Thursday of last week Peruta was granted an En Banc review. (Basically a redo hearing in front of the entire 9th Circuit)
In the memorandum from the Court, the 9th Circuit... specifically stated that Peruta cannot be used as precedent until the final outcome has been adjudicated.
The OC Sheriff on Friday issued a statement seeming to reverse herself and go back to the original standard of “Good Cause”.
I was disgusted.
Not from an economic loss as our business model was developed well before CCW licensing ever was even a thought.
In my mind, the “bearing of arms” is a fundamental right.
Just like freedom of speech or religion... it can only be restricted at the most minimal of levels... and not by content... only “time, place and manner”.
If the bearing of arms through concealed carry is regulated through time place and manner than fine... as long as open carry is legal, I have no problem.
But open carry is not.
The ONLY way to legally carry a firearm in public is through the use of a CCW and if the burden to get a CCW is too high, than the State has usurped a fundamental right.... and when that happens, I get really really upset.
So... It’s now Saturday morning... and I find myself in front of 16 citizens that have done everything that they were told to do... and now were sitting before me to satisfy the training requirement set out by Orange County Sheriffs Department.
I must tell them... there is now a possibility that they will not be issued one.
I tell them what I suspect has taken place... and what the potential outcomes will be... but honestly, I didn’t know for sure. I had to tell them I didn’t know whether this action on the part of the Sheriff was a well thought out plan, or a “seat of the pants”, based on liability and/or political agenda.
I told them that I was at a loss for direction... as they stared at me for guidance.
The only certainty that I could guarantee them was that... should they decide to exit the process... that Artemis would refund them 100% without repercussions... I then gave them a 10 minute break... to figure what they wanted to do...
I had no idea what to expect...
What I got were 16 students.
Actually 17, one of them was me.
That day... I was taught something by these people:
To shirk in the face of adversity... especially when a right that is granted by a power far higher than the State is abrogated by that State is unacceptable.
To perceiver even against unknown odds is more than heroic... it is the definition of human.
These students were not prepared to go gently into that good night... they were prepared to fight for their natural rights and would do the work necessary to achieve it.
Later the next day at the range, I was introduced to a Sheriff Background Investigator that explained to me that the policy of the Sheriff had not really changed.
It was now her position that she could not use the Peruta decision as controlling legal authority for issuance of CCW’s... that did not mean that she had to revert to the older almost insurmountable burden of “good cause”.
Quite the contrary...
This investigator told me that the Sheriff’s dept. is committed to the premise that those who want CCW’s should get them... they just need to articulate “something” other than a “general interest in self defense.”
This could be anything from “I come home late at night” to “I wear expensive jewelry.”
When our students heard this, they were both thrilled and relieved.
They had made the correct decision and continued to persevere.
They would all qualify with their weapons that day and will soon become our counties newest armed citizens.
We are all a little bit safer for it.
This last week we had the pleasure of hosting Lt. Col. Dave Grossman at Artemis.
This Pulitzer Prize nominated writer, speaker, and retired West Point Professor has educated, instructed, and motivated thousands of law enforcement officers, members of our military, and legally armed civilians throughout his career.
After speaking to over three hundred of Southern California’s law enforcement community in Pomona, Col. Grossman and I traveled down to Artemis for a little training.
During the drive the Colonel and I had the opportunity to talk about the development of training, and the overall mindset of the general public when it comes to firearms.
Col. Grossman is an unapologetic Second Amendment advocate.
He is also an academic historian... which means his understanding comes with a historical context.
As the two of us worked our way along the freeway towards Artemis he asked me what motivated Sandy and I to open up Artemis in the first place.
I told him we were passionate not only about gun safety, and increasing the chances of gun owners and law enforcement officers in surviving deadly force encounters with bad guys, but also in exposing new people to the gun community.
We feel now... as we felt back then... that our unique facility could be used to expose new shooters... even those that are anti-gun... to the gun culture in a safe environment.
Our hope was that a greater understanding of the gun, and the use firearms in a deadly force encounter would help others accept the awesome responsibility that goes with gun ownership as well as the tactics, physiological and psychological implications of use of force.
Grossman nodded in agreement, then he said something interesting to me:
“You know Steven... In Japan during the age of the Samurai they were the only ones that had the authority to use deadly force. Even for self protection. Regular Japanese were not allowed to use deadly force even to protect themselves. Today there are still places... even western democracies that essentially embrace this misguided way of thinking. We as a society have rejected that. Each one of us is empowered to use deadly force for our own self protection.”
“We also have our own Samurai. The Japanese revered... still revere... their awesome warrior class, but these are heroes that have been relegated to history. We still produce an American Samurai class. The Minuteman, Davy Crockett, Daniel Boone, Annie Oakley, Sgt. York, Audie Murphy, and Chris Kyle were all “Samurai".
"Our quintessentially American weapon is not the sword, but the firearm... and we are producing new Samurai with each generation.”
This elegant comparison stuck with me.
Those of you who have been through our CCW class know of the comparison I make of a magnificent Samurai warrior standing on a mountain working through his sword movements in one of his ceremonial practice sessions.
To watch him is a study in movement. His stances and manipulations are precise and exquisite.
Now replace the warrior with a fourteen year old boy holding a tube of cardboard from his mothers empty wrapping paper. He wails around with uncontrollable movements clumsily loosing his balance, but having a good time.
Most would want to think our weapons skills are closer in proximity to the Samurai, but must acknowledge we fall nearer to the fourteen year old boy.
Still heroes give us motivation.
They offer a comparison, and a goal.
I want to be like “that guy” Sgt. York. I want to shoot like Annie Oakley. I want to have the warrior mindset of Audie Murphy.
Perhaps I’m not their yet... but I know if he or she was able to get there... so can I.
The "Samurai" provided a standard.
Col. Grossman is right.... we do have our Samurai.
Why a “date night”?!?
“I’ve got a question for you.”
“This is a serious training facility, you guys spend a lot of time going over academic and legal ramifications of use of force, and you train a heck of a lot of cops.”
“So... what is this whole ‘Date Night’ thing? Doesn’t that kinda compromise your mission?”
“Fair question... let me put it this way: You carry a gun daily right?”
“Does your husband know how to use it... does he know how to shoot?”
“Well... he thinks he does, but I don’t think he’s picked up a handgun since he was kid with his uncle. When he realized how much potential danger I was in as a real estate agent he begrudgingly agreed that it was a good idea that I get a CCW, but he is definitely not a ‘gun guy’”
“That’s why we have date night... it is less for you and more for him.”
I’ve had this conversation many times.
One of the most critical things that a gun owner with a family needs to be aware of is their own limitations. Specifically when it comes to the survivability of their loved ones.
The more urban the society, the less aware its citizens are of some of the more fundamental aspects of life.
We turn over our food production to specialists and commoditize our protein.
We seek to do the same with interpersonal violence, satiated in the belief that law enforcement will prevent the harm that is yet to happen.
Unfortunately, this denial of nature has led to some of the most gruesome atrocities.
So we come to the “weapon”. The equalizing tool. A singular, specialized implement that has as its most basic function the saving of life... the users life... Yes... and the lives of those loved ones that the user seeks to protect.
Yet just as the gun owner has realized the futility in denying the presence of wolves in our society, so to is it folly to presuppose our own invincibility.
Sometimes, regardless of our training or our commitment, the bad guys win.
The most frightening image to me would be that my last conscience thought will be the realization that I have been successfully ambushed while with my family, and as I begin to perish I must go with the knowledge that on my bleeding body is a life saving tool that my family member can use to defeat and escape our enemy.... but I never told them how to properly use it.
This is the equivalent of never teaching my daughter how to drive a stick shift, and her finding herself in a situation where the only means of escape is in a vehicle with a manual transmission.
Still we get it... guns can be scary intimidating things.
Not all have lived in a “gun culture” and the introduction to the concept of the “way of the gun” needs to be managed.
We created “Date Night” so couples could begin to develop a conversation about gun ownership and gun use. This night was not designed to be a high intensity training experience... rather it was designed to be a vehicle where partners can begin to understand the the complexities of firearms use and judgmental use of force, while having a good time in a fun environment.
So... does the concept of “Date Night” compromise our mission?
Nope... not at all.
Oh well... it might not be realistic... but it should be fun.
Then my instructor Tom gave me the pre-scenario briefing.
Pena v. Cid (Lindley)
A number of months ago I wrote an article about the status of the California Handgun Roster and the challenge against it in the case of Pena v. Cid (…due to personnel changes at the California Dept. of Justice “Cid” was replaced with “Lindley”).
Thursday evening, the district court judge FINALLY issued her ruling.…
Not a good one!
Essentially, she said the roster is fine... “What is everyone complaining about?”
Well let’s take a look:
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California sought to eliminate “Saturday Night Specials”… inexpensive firearms... ones that would supposedly frequently malfunction, but banning a specific set of firearms was not to be in the cards.Instead they came up with a consumer protection scheme where gun makers would submit their firearms for a thorough testing…
They are loaded then dropped on the ground, before they would be allowed into California.
This was onerous... but not devastating for gun makers and gun buyers.
Then, it was thought “Since we have this thing in place anyway... why not add a few ‘extra’ security features?!”
So... California began adding the additional requirement that all new handguns sold to Californians be
1) Drop tested…
2) have a magazine disconnect safety (if their is a round in the chamber but no magazine in the well, the gun will not fire) and,
3) a loaded chamber indicator.
Again.. not the most onerous things... just kinda a pain.
If the gun you want does not have these features you could not outright buy them. There was the single shot exemption... a Kabukian dance around the regulation... but many were unaware of it... and at this point it is moot... the legislature closed off this pathway January 1st of this year.
Finally, the gunmakers had the last straw.
Our Attorney General stated that all new additions to the roster must also have micro stamping technology in place.
This would be the equivalent of saying that all new motorcycles sold in California must come with electro magnetic force fields that keep them from tipping over.
Gun makers declared that they would not be adding any new guns to the roster... and when the guns that were on the roster dropped off (they are only able to stay there for two years) they would not be renewed.
Apparently, this was fine with the judge.
A couple of things struck out at me in her decision though:
The buying of an off roster gun is not illegal, therefore the plaintiffs did not have standing to sue based on a failure to state a claim. Page 11 Lines 11-20:
Yeah... apparently it is not illegal to buy an off roster handgun... just to sell one.
The individual has nothing to fear! The evil gun store owner will go to jail. The fact that gun store owners don’t want to go to jail and therefore will not sell off roster guns is immaterial. If you can find one who will, you are legally allowed to buy a gun from him.
(Good luck in finding that guy)
There also does not seem to be a problem since 1.5 million guns were sold since the law suit was filed. Page 17 lines 11-12:
This is sophistry.
There are no distinctions made between “on roster” or “off roster” guns. The fact that the Single Shot Exemption was to be closed at the end of 2014 caused a massive run on gun shops.
Most of the firearms sold towards the end of 2014 were off roster because people knew that at least for a while there was no legitimate way to get the guns they would want. The fact that this even made it into her decision shows an utter lack of knowledge of the underlying problem with the roster.
The fact that on January 1 of 2016 there WILL BE NO GUNS ON THE ROSTER AT ALL only made a footnote mention Page 20 lines 23-28:
The judge did acknowledge that no one is willing or able to add new guns to the roster, but this did not seem to worry her. If this becomes a problem in the future, in her mind another litigant can bring forward a new claim.
Right now... any foreseeable harm is just speculative.
The law enforcement exemption may not be as solid as a lot of cops think.... and some gun stores that sell to law enforcement may now be wary since they are on the hook... not the cop! Page 27 lines 6-7:
Yeah... this is interesting. Most LEO’s... and for that matter most gun store owners have had an understanding that a badge allows you to buy an off roster gun. But she takes great pain in making sure everyone understands that the off roster gun is only to be used in furtherance of their official duties. Since the ownership of the gun does not make the LEO a criminal… (we already discussed that... it is the gun store owner who becomes the criminal if the weapon is not used in furtherance of their official duties).
Will gun store owners be willing to sign off on a transfer to an LEO?
If you want to be treated as an American, leave California... set up residency in another state... then come back... you can bring your off roster guns with you! Page 26 Lines 7-20:
OMG!!!! If you live in Arizona and decide to relocate to this utopia by the sea you can bring your guns with you. Of course? Why not? After all... it is your property.
So... if you are planning to move to California stock up on your “off roster guns” then move.
Better yet... if you have a home outside of Californian and declare that home your residency buy your guns and then just simply bring them back to your California address.
The fact that your neighbor does not have the means to engage in the same action that you do, prevents him from acquiring the gun he wants is irrelevant.
The next step is the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. After that the Supremes. It is going to be a long a winding road... and unless something happens fast...come January 1 a very quiet one for gun stores.
want to introduce you to a young man named Scott.
Scott first came to us about a year ago.
He had an interest in weapons training, but it was for him at the time somewhat of a vague concept.
He wanted to learn how to shoot a gun but two things were holding him back:
He was nervous about going to the range and shooting without instruction, and his budget limited him to the amount of ammunition he could afford.
He came into Artemis hoping to learn how to shoot, unaware just how deep of a journey he was about to undertake.
I was the first instructor to work with him.
We started on the VirTra 100 and realized early on that this was probably going to be his home for a while.
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To put it bluntly... Scott could barely get the firearm pointed in the general direction of the screen... let alone hit a target.
Scenarios would have to wait.
Scott needed to focus on learning fundamentals.
Each week Scott has become a fixture.
Every Saturday we can expect Scott to come in for his half hour training session.
He has a standing appointment with us.
Over the months he has been with us he has worked with just about every instructor we have in the shop. Shane, Kavon, Madison, Katie, Kyle... and yes even Sandy, Chaney and myself from time to time take turns focusing and modifying Scotts shooting style and skill at arms.
Some of our instruction has had to be a little unorthodox at times. From making Scott do push ups or burpies, to having him listen to metal rock and Mozart while shooting, we have all worked hard to help Scott.
None has worked as hard as Scott himself though.
Scott will wear his GoPro camera during his sessions so he can review what we have done during the week and dry fire practice at home.
Some sessions are better than others.
Sometimes he hits the steel target like a master....Other days... well not so much.
Each session ends with him asking the same question, “What should I work on... what can I do better?”
The journey is about process though, not product... at least not until today.
Today Scott shined.
Scott decided to forgo his regular session and instead joined our monthly defensive tactics class.
This class is made up of some fairly experienced shooters, many of them current CCW holders.
We end the class with our traditional shoot off. Each student getting the opportunity to draw from the holster and fire one round against another student at a digital steel target. The student that strikes steel first moves into the winners circle and fights off against all the winners.
Ultimately a single student is left standing.
That day’s “top shot”.
Scott... this student, that a number of months ago could barely hit the screen let alone a target... flat out smoked it.... he earned his position as todays “top shot”.
In the lobby he beamed with pride and before he left he wanted to show me pictures of his targets from a recent trip to the range.
He is a proud of his accomplishments... as well as he should be... and as he left our building he wanted me to confirm that he his standing appointment is still set for next week.
Scotts journey is far from over... it never really is... but along the way we need to stop and look back at how far we have come.
Scott... you have without a doubt come a very very long way.
All of us at Artemis are extremely proud of you!
See you next week!
How to Win Friends and Influence People.
I expect to see bad behavior from anti-gunners.
I expect to see arrogance and hyperbole from those that “know what is best for us”.
I expect to see elitism on display amongst the ranks of our self appointed betters.
What I am really upset by is bad behavior from our own ranks.
We are each ambassadors as well as advocates. We represent not only ourselves but our community as a whole. We need to be aware of the ripple effect our actions can have.
Today I had a private client who that needed to get his CCW training completed.
Normally our classes are run on Saturday and Sunday, but this guy is a pastor, and he sort of has a standing conflict on Sundays.
To qualify on his pistols we went to one of our local indoor ranges.
The place was fairly busy, but we were quickly able to get a lane.
We found ourselves sandwiched between a Range Safety Officer / Instructor that works for this range teaching a student on our lane to our left, and a family shooting on the lane to our right.
The “Dad” of this family looked to be in his mid forties, and I would guess his daughter was somewhere in the fourteen to fifteen year range, with a son that was around ten or so.
I could hear the directions that the instructor was giving to his student, and they seemed sound enough... sound enough that frankly I stopped paying attention to him.
While my student was loading his magazines the father and daughter left their bay and walked over to the back bench where their range bag was sitting.
The father reached into the range bag and picked up a handgun, (it looked like a beretta, but I’m not 100%... what I could see was that it had its slide locked to the rear and a safety cable was still locked in it).
He reached deeper in the bag and picked up what I think was a box of ammo.
While placing the gun back into the bag the RSO/Instructor pushed past me and went up to the father:
“DO NOT EVER TOUCH A GUN OUTSIDE THE SHOOTING BAY! IF I SEE YOU TOUCH A GUN AGAIN BACK HERE I WILL THROW YOUR ASS OFF THIS RANGE!!!”
The dad was frozen in fear and left humiliated in front of his two children as the “Instructor” turned and went back to his student.
As soon as he had returned to his student he began speaking to her again in a normal, even tempered voice.
This guy was not really angry at the father... he was “acting”.
He was going to be the Alpha, and bark at the beta... he was going to let the dad know who the boss was.
I could feel my blood beginning to boil.
I turned and looked at the father and he and his kids were no longer smiling. They were packing up their gear and leaving.
Did the dad do something wrong?
Handling the gun at the benches is a flat out breech of safety.
Could the RSO have come up to him and said, “Hey... please remember you can’t handle your firearms back here even in a limited capacity”. ?
Yes.... and that would have been far more effective.
I don’t know the dad. I don’t know how he might have reacted to that more professional approach. I would like to think he would have acknowledged his error, thanked the RSO for pointing it out, and had an opportunity to instruct his own children on etiquette and safety.
Instead that moment was lost.
I have no idea how his children will ultimately be effected.
Will this event become a distant memory?
Did one moronic RSO just snuff out the passion for shooting in two members of the next generation?
I hope not... but it is entirely possible.
The anti’s like to parade around a notion that since we own guns we are somehow insecure broken creatures that use a firearm as a crutch for our own inadequacies.
We should not tolerate behavior among our own that feeds into this caricature.
“When you’ve been in the jungle as long as I have you begin to smell...... danger!... you, uh,... begin to smell danger!”
Years ago... (well actually, it feels like a lifetime ago), I was a Jungle Cruise skipper at Disneyland.
Yep... those were the days.Taking tourists through an artificial jungle and when necessary defending my defenseless crew from marauding fiberglass hippos.... with a .38 Smith and Wesson K frame revolver.
Yeah... two imaginary tons of water born death, advancing with steely glass eyes... the number one killer in Africa... and I have a .38 revolver.
Not good odds... but miraculously each time the “hippos” would submerge “terrified” from my clearly missed shots... (We were instructed to “scare” the plastic hippos... not aim and try to kill them).
What I found so interesting was our instructions regarding the next part of our eight minute journey.
As we would leave the hippo pool, we would pass by a canoe filled with human skulls.
Clearly a foreboding sight... and meant as an obvious warning to those who traveled down the river.
Soon the sounds of celebration could be heard and my crew were treated to the visual spectacle of natives dancing around a dead lion hung upside down.
We had been instructed to let our guests know that this evil lion had been terrorizing this village and now the villagers were safe.
(I guess this means they could now go back to filling the canoe with new skulls,.. but I digress...)
Then as we basked in the glow of these now “peaceful” natives, we were ambushed from a group of not so peaceful natives from our port side.
Even though we had a perfectly good revolver with us our choice form of defense was to “duck” and power down the river.
Ok... Disneyland is a fairly sterile environment and in fairness not one that should scare the little ones... at least not too much.
Still... messages can have far deeper implications. Especially when they are subtle.
Disneyland... hell, the whole Disney empire is replete with violence.
From the purely biological of animals wanting to feed on one another to the vilification of the noble hunter.
Yeah... Bambi’s mother was killed by someone... and that someone was a big bad dude who hunted for sport.
So children grow up with an anti-hunting agenda floating around their media worlds, and when they see guns in real life... (if a day at Disneyland could be considered “real life”), they see those guns being shot into the air rather than at advancing hippos... and never never never at headhunters that are threatening to throw spears at you and add another layer to their trophy canoe.
Interestingly, it was not always like this.
Disney used to have a real air powered pellet gun shooting arcade, and the stores in Frontierland used to sell firearm replicas that looked like actual flintlocks... and even the plastic Lone Ranger plastic six shooter cap guns were available for young “Frontiersmen”.
During this time, there were no school shootings... the concept of the “Active Shooter” was someone who went to the range regularly, and the most likely interaction someone growing up had with violence was mixing it up with a neighborhood bully who in the end could wind up being a close friend.
Now, we have a neutered saccharine playground.
There are no replica guns for sale in Frontierland.
The pellet guns have been replaced with “laser” guns... and we have been introduced to a new version of the “Active Shooter” ... a monster that preys on the innocent......
and we shoot in the sky when plastic hippos charge our boats.
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