It is by sheer coincidence that Jon M. lives across town from me in Knoxville. This morning we were able to line up our schedules and take a trip to the Oak Ridge Sportsman’s Association shooting sports complex. I have been a member for a little under a year, and Jon had long wanted to check out this pretty fantastic facility. I will write more on our outing in a minute.
While Jon and I were chatting during a “Range Cold” period, a thought crystallized for me that I wanted to share. We had been socializing and sharing weapons with the other folks on the plinking range and it dawned on me how unfortunate this scene of actual “gun culture” gets such little play in the media. It was a family atmosphere with dads teaching sons and daughters, a couple college-age buddies were trying out Christmas presents, ages ranged from about 10 to 60. Hardly the bigoted stereotype the media is so in love with.
I don’t need to rehash the whole gun-control debate, but I wanted to draw a comparison to the knife-prohibition movement in England where the wrong “culture” is in the hoplophobes cross-hairs.
We have written about the hoplophobic British knife laws, and there is a serious movement across the pond to prohibit all carry (even of non-lock blades). One group spearheading this effort is Anti-Knife UK (Twitter @antiknifeuk). I have shared a bit of friendly back and forth on Twitter with the group’s leader, and he seems like a nice enough chap, but like anyone who sees an object instead of an actor he is misguided.
There is “Gun Culture” just as there is “Knife Culture”. Gangsters and criminals are not a part of gun culture as it is represented by millions of ordinary Americans engaging in recreation and enjoyment of firearms as we were this morning. Likewise, those of us who have a shared interest in edged tools have a respect for blades and their use and have nothing in common with the British “culture” of street thugs who prey upon a disarmed populace. The media and disarmament movement want to focus on the tools used by individuals who do not have respect for the social contract. Rational beings recognize that a deviant individual can do immeasurable harm with any object, banned or not, and that it doesn’t matter the perpetrator’s choice of tool.
Stepping down from my soap box, I want to thank Jon for a great time. Not only was it great to finally meet the person who so generously donated knives from his collection for our Jack-o-Lantern contest and has expressed an interest in becoming a regular contributor – Jon came bearing some fun toys.
I have a respectable assortment of firearms, but Jon’s is on the next level. I had the chance to put a bunch of rounds through several new firearms. Jon brought along a Browning HiPower, an AR-7, and an AK, none of which I have had the opportunity to shoot. Among the guns I brought was my new 10-.22 Takedown, and I had a chance to compare it to another fellow’s bullpup conversion. There was much noise and thrown lead over the course of our 3 hours of range time.
We split our morning between the 200 yard range and the pistol-caliber plinking range. The ORSA facility also includes a 1000 yard range, indoor pistol, competition pistol, archery, and multiple skeet and trap ranges. I am lucky to have such a great facility to call my home range(s). I am blessed to live in a country where the God-given right to bear whatever tool we chose has been enshrined and largely protected by our Founding Fathers. I thank those who have sacrificed to protect this right.
I look forward to getting to know Jon better, and to his contributions to TTAK. I feel like we are building a community here, and I thank everyone for what they bring to the table to share. You all are what make TTAK what it is. Otherwise it is just me banging away on a keyboard in my shop.