As an update, I was fortunately on vacation during the other Santa Monica shootings. I went to Vegas to see Pat Benatar and Cheap Trick. However I took the time to do something a bit different. Some of you may think its crazy but for some reason I had to confront the object of terror, the AR-15. so while I was in Vegas I booked an opportunity to learn about this weapon from a shooting range. apparently the parent type of this gun was developed since troops no longer needed to confront the enemy at a distance greater than 200m since other new weapons had been developed for that. so along came this shorter range weapon for such confrontations that occur at distances shorter than 200m. I explained to them about my experience in Santa Monica and they were very sympathetic and knowledgeable about the weapon used. I did find that it wasn't very easy to hit a target if it was in automatic. the kick nearly knocked me down after 3 rounds. the experience was very surreal, from the weight of this gun to sensation of how powerful it is. I was only shooting at a paper target but it did make me think about what it takes for someone to actually shoot someone. Could I actually shoot someone? I was a bit confused. if I shot someone in self defense could I deal with the consequences of having killed someone. What if I didn't feel anything by killing someone? does that make me sociopathic? Obviously questions most of us don't want to deal with yet we put these guns into the hands of soldiers that are often less than 1/2 my age and force these questions on them even if they are not questions they are ready to deal with. To many of them this represents an opportunity to a better life. a chance for a family, a home and the American Dream. Although Police officers don't typically carry these guns they are also forced to deal with these questions as well. The Famous FDR quote (or spiderman quote) "With Great power comes great responsibility" instantly popped into my mind.
On the other side of the experience this was geared up as a tourist attraction. you could purchase packages of gun 'experience' based on the weapon combos found in Various video games. Games I admit I started playing due to the Social Gaming Aspect of XBOX. normally I like adventure games but I started playing COD and other War style games because many of my friends played them and it gave me the opportunity to play online and chat. Up until this experience I had no desire to purchase a gun or shoot one. I still won't purchase one. Gaming never made me want to shoot a gun nor has it ever made feel angry or violent toward anyone. I've always felt those that do are typically withdrawn and antisocial. I could imagine however that people who do not play socially and stay in their rooms rather than having normal healthy interactions with people on a regular basis could be affected by this. The flyers listed it as a great place for kids as well as adults and even made pink weapons and targets for girls.
Anyway back to the guns. I shot several types of guns that were included in the package. each one had very special considerations about its operation. several could actually be fired once after the magazine is removed. a feature that the guide pointed out as a safety concern that most gun owners don't take the time to learn about. He let me know this is one of the leading causes of accidental gun death in the states, again suggesting the importance of gun safety and gun responsibility. He kept emphasizing the regular line that criminals will always be able to get weapons. Considering I was hear confronting a fear it seemed an odd talking point to me. I saw that as simply using fear to to drive purchases. It reminded me of a PBS article read about how Criminals get guns. I googled it and can post it hear now. Something to think about at least
according to this only 10-15% of guns obtained by criminals are from theft. which in a very scary sense tells us the importance of criminals buying guns through illegal sales from licensed dealers.
Although this gun range was a tourist attraction I did very much get the sense that they are pro gun safety ( i learned a lot about that from them) as well as gun responsibility ( my guide as well as many others there were veterans). with all the effort they made to help demystify and remove the fear of these weapons it came across loud and clear they promoted responsibility and ran their establishment with safety taken into consideration. Protective eyewear, protective earwear, huge double doors to prevent people from leaving with guns etc.
Much of this made me think about the NRA and who they really represent. At this point by their legal actions it would seem that they are not concerned about gun enthusiasts or gun safety or even responsibility. I really get the hint that the only thing the NRA is choosing to protect is the profits of gun manufacturers. claiming criminals will always get guns to drive sales while ensuring methods to sell weapons to criminals. that doesn't sound like gun responsibility or gun safety to me. The guys and gals at the Gun range were very serious about guns, proper use and making sure they don't get into the wrong hands. The NRA seems like its only concern is that anyone who wants to buy a gun should be able to. even if they have never had gun training or even know about the gun safety that I just learned by going to a range. It seems to me that if the NRA really supported these people they would support people being required to take gun safety lessons at a local range. I have to do this for boating or driving etc ( i Know boating and driving are privileges and not rights). And I know that in the history of my country there were times when it was legally required for men of a certain age to purchase a gun (sorry gals at that point in time your rights were limited to paying taxes). So then I looked up the text of the 2nd ammendment
"A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed."
doesn't 'well regulated' mean making sure people are trained in gun safety and responsibility before putting one in their hands or letting them purchase one?
anyway these are my thoughts and experiences after confronting the weapon that recently terrorized the area I work as well as many other areas across the nation recently. again I felt Confronting my fear, taking time to do something outside of my comfort zone and meeting and talking with people I most likely wouldn't meet on a daily basis helped dispel the fears and let me make rational thoughts about the issue. Agree or disagree this was my experience