Gun Play

Guns are popular around Casastrom which is largely due to The Boy. I’ve done some gun blogging before–click here or on the “weapons” tag–but if I’ve written about The Boy as a driving force here, I can’t find it.

Basically, I never had a toy gun until I started hanging out a lot with my friend who had a lot of toy guns, and I never held a real gun till I was about 30. And then only once. The Boy, however, loves weapons of all kinds, not least of all guns, so now we go shooting.

I’ve gotten worse over the years. I’m getting a little better over time, but I’m more subject to the whims of the day. (We go at night, so sometimes I’m tired when we get there.) The Boy, naturally, gets better and better. (With the occasional odd day where he’s way off, though not so much since he’s gotten his sugar under control.)

Last night, he selected a .22 pistol, which misfired like crazy–and it was the only .22 pistol around, so we swapped it for a .22 rifle. Rifles, of course, are easier to aim than pistols. Submitted for you scorn is my target:
The grouped ones, near-ish the center were done with the rifle. The wilder ones were the pistol.

And now, The Boy’s:
The green and yellow shots around the heart were from the pistol. The pinkish holes were from the pistol. And his paper was curling in while he was shooting. Despite this, he put his last few shots through Bambi’s head. The big holes in the heart come from shooting in the same place over and over again. The long streaky hole in the comes from the bullet’s trajectory matching the curl of the paper.

This is probably the best he’s ever done, which made me scratch my head a bit since we really haven’t gone much this year. But The Boy has himself some BB and air guns that he loves and shoots around the backyard, so I wonder if that’s part of the improvement.

Now I just have to figure out how to set him up a lane where he can practice with his throwing knives and such.

Guns and Roses

The roses are for you guys who have been taking the time to make such good comments in the posts these past few weeks. Much appreciated. Feels a lot less like I’m talking to myself.

The guns are in reference to this post, “Not Until You’re 12, Son”, which details a recent trip to the shooting range. That line, by the way, is from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. (Mike Teevee complains that his dad won’t let him have a gun.)

ChickenLittle–who, for the record, I have never once heard claim the sky is falling–mentioned that shooting is a family tradition (though he didn’t get the gun obsession gene) and mentioned how firing a BB gun is illegal in his town, which put a stop to a fun hobby his boy was enjoying.

So, for the record, we go to a place called The Firing Line. Lane rental costs $20, gun rental costs about $10, a bag of about 50 bullets runs about $15. (A year family membership costs $250, less if you’re a cop or soldier, and covers the cost of the lane and the gun rental, so the trip price goes down to $30. So it takes nine trips to come out ahead, not six like I posted there.)

I’ve heard some vague criticisms about the place, particularly in the store where we purchase our non-firearm firearms (i.e., BB guns, knives, swords, etc.) but we’ve never had any troubles, and the people there are very polite, and reasonably indulgent of tyros like ourselves. (We took our basic training/safety class there.) The Boy has noted that the people who deal in weapons–both guns and knives–tend to be very polite.

One thing I want to make clear, though, is that this whole gun thing is not my idea. You have to go back to my great-grandmother to find a marksman–she used to shoot prairie chickens for dinner, and win county competitions–and I never even had a toy gun until I started to hang with a friend who had a bunch of them. (I had a lot of toy cars and slot cars, which indicated absolutely nothing about my adult interests.)

We used to have these spring-loaded guns that shot out quarter-sized plastic disks that would curve if you knew how to shoot them. These were great toys and fun for playing tag with, though they would hurt if you took one point-blank–something we did pretty regularly because, hey, at the time, we were teenage boys. (Also, at least early on, the toy guns did not have those orange “I’m a toy!” safety tips.)

My parents never expressed an opinion one way or another on the subject of guns. But growing up when I did, there was an atmosphere of “guns are bad”. If you had to use one–no matter how righteous the cause–you could expect to feel horrible about it and need lots of unhelpful counseling. (Remember “Hill Street Blues”?)

I never so much as held a gun until I was past 30. As weird as it may sound, I’d feel far more comfortable defending myself in hand-to-hand combat than using a gun. My dad just suggested going to a shooting range out of the blue. I agreed mostly for two reasons: My father kept saying that most people couldn’t hit anything past 15 feet with a handgun when they needed to; it seemed like an experience I should have.

Well, I found myself able to hit a human-sized target at 60 feet pretty easily first time out (no instruction), so that resolved that. Also, I had the experience. (On the subject of experience, it’s interesting to note that when firing a rifle later on, I began to see that the notion that Lee Harvey Oswald could’ve fired the three shots during the assassination was really not far-fetched at all. There’s no substitute for going out and experiencing something for yourself.) But, frankly, I had mixed feelings about the “gun thing:.

But that didn’t matter much, because there was The Boy. And The Boy, though quite young, was (and remains) fascinated with all things weapons. And when The Boy learned there were guns and shooting, the next thing he wanted to learn was when he could engage in shooting said guns.

Well, life goes on, and we actually didn’t get around to it until he was ten or eleven, or maybe just barely twelve. I’ve come, in the space of that time, to regard shooting as an important skill. That is, one should be comfortable and familiar with guns, so as not to fall prey to any ideas of their mystical power. (Turns out, e.g., they actually don’t kill people.) So, when we’re in the groove, we go about twice a month to the range.

I’ve told The Boy that if he adheres to this new program well, we’ll go to one of these Appleseed Rifle Camps. There’s one within driving range, and they’re not terribly expensive. Though we’ll have to actually bring some rifles. Buying guns with a Dem in the White House seems fiscally imprudent, but with luck, they won’t have passed any really price-hiking legislation by the time I get around to it.

As a parent, you often think you’re going to pass things down to your kid. (I’ve so far been unable to get one kid really interested in music.) But this is one of those things that the kid has really passed back up to me.

“Not Until You’re Twelve, Son”

We went shooting last night, for the first time in a while. We have a membership but sort of ironically, we haven’t been since they printed our card. It was still sitting there in the box.

Just got busy, I guess. Plus, the last couple of times I had felt really tired and I was having trouble focusing on the target. That’s something that’s definitely changed. And it’s okay, since you only have to visit about 69 times in toto to make the membership cheaper than doing a pay-as-you-go. We’ll probably get in a few more than that.

As we were leaving, I asked one of the guys working at the front if business had picked up lately, and he gave me an earful. You know, you hear about the uptick in gun sales and the like, but you don’t really know if it’s true.

He was having trouble buying certain types of guns, and all kinds of ammo. Since he shoots thousands of rounds a month, he makes his own and was having trouble getting the supplies for that. A lot of his biggest suppliers simply closed their websites, no backordering–nothing.

We also were there late at night in the middle of the week, and there were plenty of people.

They had a shotgun there, and they do actually allow you to shoot one but you have to buy their ammo ($20/25 shells, so pretty expensive). It also turned out that it was a customer’s shotgun and you had to bring your own. I checked on Google for prices and the first three places that turned up were sold out.

He said it had started with the economy and then gone ever crazier after the election and inauguration.

So, there’s your man-on-the-street reporting for the day.

Oh, and I sucked. I mean, I hit the target 95% of the time, but with my aim, I have to hope any attacker is a wimp, deterred by a series of flesh wounds.

New Link To Horror Comix Site

S. Weasel (already in my sidebar, and quite possibly in my trousers–one never knows with weasels) used an graphic for her run-in with customs. Apparently, there are arcane rules about air guns in Pifferdous Albuyin (or whatever he calls England) and even though she hadn’t actually gone afoul of those rules, that was of no interest to the bureaucrat running the show.

That led me to a site where pre-code horror comics are uploaded daily. It’s called The Horrors Of It All, and looks pretty cool.

I’ve often noted how each adult generation is just sure the youth are going to hell, and what they latch on to as “proof”, and how different things were when they did more or less the same crap as kids. Horror comics–those innocuous, occasionally campy, crudely drawn, four color books were targeted in the ‘50s.

What the big publishers (like DC) managed to do, of course, was drive the smaller publisher (like EC) out of business by setting up a “code” and controlling it. The movie industry set up a similar barrier in the Hays Code and (to a lesser extent these days) the MPAA>

One of the things that cracks me up about the socialist/communist/radical left types is how they talk about big corporations not wanting to be regulated by the government. But of course, big corporations LOVE big government because it absolutely strangles any smaller competition: And the little guys with the ideas are the ones that kill.

And since they can influence the government, the more power it has, the more power they have.

I mean, if you want to join me on the radical fringe, you can just fight every expansion of government power you run across. I haven’t worked out how that fight should go, exactly. But it needs to be an idea out there with a real champion.

Any how, this all crosses over nicely The Boy’s brush with Johnny Law. Isn’t it interesting how all the anti-second amendment right folk talk all the time about how the Founding Fathers couldn’t possibly have imagined the devastating weapons available today? We know from history that private citizens owned the weapons that were used to fight America’s early wars, including cannons and even frigates.

But even allowing that argument, on what basis should the government be allowed to restrict ownership of what are basically primitive weapons, like knives? Or shurikens! Shurikens are expressly not allowed by law!

The excuse usually given relates to gang violence. And we all know how respectful gangs are of the law, and how effective these laws are at curbing gang violence.

See, this is the main problem with government: Just because something is stupid, and everybody knows it’s gone to hell, doesn’t mean you can stop doing the stupid thing.