July 13, 2009

I Squeezed The Trigger (Jack Went Shooting)

When I sat down to write this post I thought of my blogging friend and Chevrusa, Rabbi Fleischmann. He is an elder of the Jblogosphere whose blog is described as Postings From An Eclectic Soul. I have to concur, but that is a good thing. I appreciate his ruminations and thoughtful remarks.

His style of writing is a bit different from mine, but I like the way he rambles and ambles on. It reminds me a bit of taking a tour of a museum. As you walk your guide provides the background on the art work and little nuggets of information that you won't find in the guide books.


A shooting range is an interesting place. Walk inside and you are truly among the people. It is a mix of classes and ethnicities. People of all shapes and sizes, ages and backgrounds converge inside. Some are in there because they want to shoot their demons and firing endless rounds of ammo is a good source of stress relief. Some are there because they want to feel impowered or powerful and some are there because they are a forty year old man who has never fired a real gun.

It doesn't really matter what the motivation or reason for being there is. I included it because I liked the way that it sounded. I am not antigun and didn't grow up in an antigun house. Can't say that I see the reason for owning assault rifles or fully automatic weapons, but I understand why someone would want to own a gun.

I don't have one and am not sure if I really want one in my house. I have mixed emotions about it. In part I just don't want to have to worry about it. Some of you might find that to be silly, but I know what it is to engage in a fist fight. I can tell you what it feels like to feel your fist smash into the side of a head, to break a nose or knock out teeth. I know what it is to be hit and to hurt.


I took aim and slowly squeezed the trigger. Again and again I fired, creating a pattern of dots on the target. After a while all of the clips were empty so I stopped to reload. My friend looked at the target and congratulated me on my aim. He explained that I haven't been shooting long enough to compensate for the recoil and had me switch from a 9mm to a revolver.

I took that .357 in my hands, and thought about Dirty Harry. I had been inside for more than an hour and was really beginning to enjoy it. Initially I had been a bit nervous. What if I did something stupid and hurt someone or me. I didn't want to be that guy, not the guy who shot himself in the foot.

He put a new target up. Instead of a big sheet of paper with black and white concentric circles it was a sheet of gray. On the paper there was the drawing of a male torso. It was sectioned off with point totals for hitting various parts of the body.

I listened as he explained why it was better to shoot at the torso, how these places offered a bigger target and would most likely disable the attacker. Then I put four shots through the head of the target.

Seriously, no exaggeration. He told me to switch to the body and I made a nice little pattern across the chest. Was it beginners luck? I don't know. I am not bad at the video games that require shooting skills.


In between rounds of shooting and watching I thought about it all and why I was there. When you are angry and in a physical altercation you don't think about what you are doing to the other guy. You are thankful that it is not you who is getting hurt, at least until it is all done. Because it is only later that you discover all the injuries to yourself.

But I took the guns more seriously. The potential for serious injury or worse is much higher and I thought about it. Regardless of whether I ever own a gun I want to be proficient with their use. There are plenty of reasons why, more than enough to make sense to me.

And from an entirely different perspective, it was a lot of fun. I enjoyed the challenge of hitting the targets. I appreciated the stress release. And I appreciated how while I was shooting the world became very quiet. For a brief moment in time, it was silent and there was a peaceful feeling.

Now that may sound barbaric to some of you. It may sound backwards or strange, but I seek out the things that bring me that sort of focus. I seek out that which allows me to shut out the noise and have that quiet.

That sort of quiet is far too important and far too rare.

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