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Saturday, July 10, 2004

Tales Of The Gun

"The gun has played a critical role in history... An invention that has been praised and denounced... served hero and villain alike... and carries with it moral responsibility. To understand the gun is to better understand history."
- Prologue to The History Channel series 'Tales of the Gun'

"With great power comes great responsibility."
- Postmodern American Philosopher Stan Lee

A classmate expressed her realization of the power and responsibility of a gun when she held her brother's police-duty weapon for the first time. My thoughts were that is a good sentiment to have if you've never held a gun before or even if you have. Regardless of your position on guns, they are always a thing of great power and should always be treated with respect.

That being said, I was saddened by her desire to never want to even touch a gun again. Actually 'saddened' is too strong a word as I respect her decision to not want the responsibility. If it were a decisions solely based on fear, then I would be saddened. You may not conquer fear, but you can confront it to an extent.

I've had the pleasure of teaching numerous people, both male and female, proper firearms safety. I've had the classes to become a certified firearms safety instructor, but never turned in the paperwork and fee due to a bout of unemployment that occurred at the time. First and foremost throughout my lessons were the themes of responsibility and power. That shotgun, pistol, or rifle can inflict terrible damage if handled improperly aka you did something stupid. One reason why I never let a student near a gun for the first 30 minutes. We covered lots of other important things first as I didn't need a jittery person near the trigger regardless of the fact that nothing was loaded! My responsibility was to provide a proper, safe, and hopefully fun educational experience. Sending lead downrange is fun, and seeing an uncertain student realize that the mystery within an enigma isn't as complicated as they thought is fun for me.

Have all my students desired to accept the responsibility of so much power in their hands? Likely no. Have all my students realized the responsibility involved with such power? Yes. That is the best I can do.

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