Sunday, June 2, 2013

A Bunker Summer Ahead?

Teaching civilians the skill of marksmanship as a sport will encourage them to train in the safe use of firearms from the perspective of a praiseworthy result. Spectator-friendly marksmanship competition should be restored to the public sector to encourage familiarity with this traditional pastime to the level of golf, tennis, or any other solo skill endeavor. Until people lose their fear of firearms through familiarity, fear will always be attached to guns and can be used as a tool by the extremists on both sides of the issue.

What with the NRA and Gun Control Ideologues at each other seeing who can deliver the most improbable scenarios for an apocalyptic collision of good and evil -- and a do-nothing Congress mired in self-serving political back-biting, that old 1950s idea of a back yard bunker takes on new appeal.

Instead of fearing a nuclear blast, the average tax-paying working stiff looking for his or her share of the American Dream can fort up in some modest concrete construction like an old missile silo and peer out at the rest of this self-destructive world through a periscope, and Comcast cable. If you can develop a taste for indestructible garbanzo beans and a 55 gallon drum of Tobasco Sauce, you can watch the world beat on itself with a computer tablet and keep up with Game of Thrones on HBO for an eternity.

Or you can sit in your office, pick a particularly grating issue and Blog. You can buy a battery-powered megaphone and stand on a street corner, hopping from one foot to the other excoriating, bloviating and expostulating the diminishing respect for a sport that was once an American tradition. You can watch the NRA further destroy its credibility by drumming up greater levels of  "Stand Up and Fight" violent over-reaction by members and supporters who have no regard for anything but their personal agendas of power, greed and a messianic spread of fear and distrust.

The extreme gun control advocates are no less culpable in their brilliantly blazing ignorance advanced as though it was holy writ. They peer at fleas with magnifying glasses and then recoil in fear at the monsters they discover.

It's like neither of these sides of the issue of firearms ownership actually hear themselves, nor do they have any respect for the intelligence of the American people to sort out the exaggerations and support the simple realities.

Marksmanship is a sport that requires practice, skill and a certain dedication to maintain a competitive --- or at least a self-satisfactory result. From entertainment, the media and the military, today's public makes little distinction between the sport of marksmanship and killing our fellow man. Far too much emphasis has been placed on the firearm as strictly a weapon. Since a weapon conveys to its owner a sense of power, that domination becomes an addiction. Sport shooting is a discipline, wielding a weapon in an execution is subject to the emotion of the moment and results often in random bloodshed. Weapons are for the police and military who understand the expectations and are trained to use their weapons in defense of their objectives.

I'm not ready to pour concrete yet, but my respect for my fellow man is teetering as long as we let issues such as gun control be dictated by deep pockets, big mouths and small brains. 

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