As a child, when given the choice, I would always play cops and robbers rather than with baby dolls.  I liked the good guy/bad guy scenario—as long as the good guy prevailed, that is.  And in those early games, the good guy always won, just as he did in my favorite television show, The Wild, Wild West.

The triumph of law and order struck a chord with me.

I was in college when I finally touched a real gun.  I was dating another student, Doug, who was from a small mountain community where guns were a part of life.  We went out in the woods one winter to find mistletoe which, I was surprised to learn, had to be shot down from trees.  Doug fired his .22 rifle a couple times and got a few sprigs, but when I took aim and fired, a huge clump came tumbling down.

Beginner’s luck?

Perfect aim?

Who knows….

But when Doug later took me to shoot his .22 hand gun, I clearly hit a lot of the targets dead center.

I made a career as an Internal Revenue Agent which suited my desire to keep and enforce the law, but never touched a gun again until many years later, when I went through my town’s Citizens’ Police Academy.

The ten-week academy offered the opportunity to learn about local law enforcement but, even better, it gave me the chance to shoot guns at the police shooting range.

Unfortunately, my aim was not as good as it had once been.

My difficulty seemed to be in pulling the trigger, which is much harder to do with a Glock than with the guns I had previously used.  It took so much effort in fact, that I couldn’t hold the gun steady; plus, I squeezed my eyes shut from exertion.

Not ideal when aiming for a target.

Oh…and I also screamed a little with every shot, which my fellow shooters didn’t particularly appreciate.

Maybe I simply needed more practice.

My friend, Officer Amy, took me to a private outdoor range.  Officer Jeremy met us there with his entire personal collection, a collection so large it appeared we would be there for hours.

I still had trouble pulling the trigger on the Glock, and I didn’t do much better with revolvers.  Amy’s .22 automatic worked well for me, though, and I was content to practice with that.

But then Jeremy pulled out an assault rifle.


After a lot of encouragement, I picked up the big gun, but found it so heavy, I could scarcely lift it to my shoulder.

My friends urged me to shoot, but I declined out of concern that the rifle’s kick would either break or dislocate my shoulder, neither of which was an acceptable option.

I shot guns a couple times after that, but finally decided I was done.

Two important things were stressed in the Academy:

1)  If you have a gun you need regular practice with it, and

2)  You need to be willing to shoot to kill.

As much as it strained my fingers and hands, shooting guns at the range was not enjoyable for me.  My ears also didn’t appreciate the noise.

Not my pastime of choice.

And could I actually kill someone?  Hmmmmm….don’t think so….

Not real wild about blood.  Or hurting people.

I’ll obey the law and do my best to encourage others to do the same, but I think I’ll leave guns to the professional good guys.

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