For a vegetarian pacifist, firing a gun was a changing experience


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Drizzt
April 10, 2003, 05:20 PM
Daily Advertiser (Lafayette, LA)

March 9, 2003 Sunday

SECTION: NEWS; Pg. 1A

LENGTH: 716 words

HEADLINE: A decision to shoot; For a vegetarian pacifist, firing a gun was a changing experience

BYLINE: Bethany White, bwhite@theadvertiser.com

BODY:
Editor's Note: Bethany White is the features designer at The Daily Advertiser. Her first experience with a gun was Feb. 12 at Barney's Firearms and Indoor Range in Lafayette. Here is her first-person account of the experience:

Bethany White

The target looks at me, and I look back. This could be any stranger trying to harm me.

There is a bright, orange blast and a noise so loud it feels as if someone is punching my rib cage. I can't tell which comes first.

A second later, the shell casing brushes against my hip.

It feels like a dance with mortality.

The gun -- a 9 mm semi-automatic -- smokes a thin, circling trail.

I shoot again. And again.

At 4 feet, I hit the bullseye -- dead square in the middle of the chest.

I shoot as fast as I can this time, and all in the clip land within the silhouette figure on the paper. Seven feet away.

An hour before I was supposed to shoot a gun for the first time, I was sick to my stomach, and wanted to find a way out. What had seemed like a good idea a week ago, now, well -- didn't.

The reason I was even there? Self-defense had been in the news for quite a while because of the serial killer. I volunteered to share my first-time gun experience.

Strength, confidence. Power. I wanted to get close to it, to know that if ever fear became reality, that I knew the force it took to defend.

"See ya, shooter," a co-worker called out before I left the office.

Shooter?

I have been, for the most part, a vegetarian pacifist since I was in high school. Chicken, only on occasion, fish is meat, guns are bad and don't ask me to kill. And never, ever, ask me to kill for pleasure.

Ten years ago, I argued with a boyfriend who insisted on owning a gun. Guns only provide the means to kill; they're evil, I told him. No house of mine would ever shelter any object constructed to kill, I thought. The possibilities of danger were simply too frightening.

Five years ago, I moved to Louisiana from Tennessee, by way of graduate school in Missouri. I started to eat chicken, occasionally. I started to watch the dark corners for predators when I was out at night, just in case.

And lately, the idea had started to cross my mind: Learn to shoot a gun.

You don't have to own one, I'd tell myself. Just learn, for now.

Experience it. Touch one. Learn, so if you ever have to use one, you can.

Somehow, over the past 10 years, guns had ceased to be evil. So, here I stand, hunting strength, confidence and power.

Required are both eye and hearing protection. Standard eyeglasses pass for eye protection; hearing protection consists of bright blue ear muffs that block out enough sound so that even my footsteps echo inside my head.

There's a small room between the shop and the firing range. A small room to adjust your ear protection, to get ready. I go through another door, and then another.

The paper target hangs on clips attached to a wire, which can be moved with a switch to the distance desired. Four feet.

Shell casings dot the floor like golden snow all around the carpet-lined room. The room is a long cavern, with eight stalls for target practice. I feel the shells under my feet, and a metallic smell finds its way to my nose. It smells like aluminum, even though I know it's gunpowder. I taste it, even though I am remotely sure it can't be tasted.

The room is totally enclosed, a world of its own.

The gun is heavier than I thought it'd be. The metal is rough. I know how loud it will be, yet I am not prepared for the blast. Or the recoil. Or the size of the hole the bullet will leave.

Or the words out of my mouth, which can't be printed here.

Or the thrill.

Seven feet. Then, 10 feet.

At 10 feet, my aim is the worst.

An hour with a trigger at my command, with metal that responded to my touch.

Strength? I learned I'm not strong enough -- yet -- to adjust for the recoil.

I learned that even a former vegetarian pacifist can successfully shoot a gun, and feel stronger for it.

Confidence? Facing fears always instills confidence.

Power? Oh yes. I don't plan on buying a gun. Yet, I do plan on remembering the power it took, the force it took, to send something ripping through flesh.

That will stay with me, and give me more power if ever I am forced to kick -- or, perhaps, bury a key in an eye socket.

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Chipperman
April 10, 2003, 05:32 PM
An interesting read, but I don't really feel at the end of the article that she has changed.

Maybe she just doesn't want to admit that she's ready to go out an buy an evil black gun now.

She is one of those "black and White" people. She talks about the power of sending something ripping through flesh. Does that mean that she can't enjoy shooting targets for fun? Does it have to be for defense only?

Too many people feel that you have to either hate guns entirely, or be a blood thirsty would-be-killer waiting for an opportunity to "cap" someone. :banghead:

Croyance
April 10, 2003, 05:48 PM
Why does every non-gunner think a gun gives power? As a group, they are way too Freudian.

Okiecruffler
April 10, 2003, 05:53 PM
It annoys me when people who eat "a little chicken" claim to be vegetarians.

The Wife was a liberal democrat when we first met, but She was just so darn cute that I forgave her. By the time we were married, only 9 months later, she had confenscated one of my pistols to tote with her. See, people can better themselves.

hksw
April 10, 2003, 06:08 PM
I think you have to take into consideration that this is her very first time out. The reason for her trip was her fear about those serial killings. I'm sure that that is the paramount thought stuck in her mind at this time and she is so focused on it and her handling of the gun that everthing else (the fun of shooting) is ignored. I'm also sure that if she continues to shoot for practice that eventually she will see the fun in the exercise.

I also think she could have used a better metaphor than, "Shell casings dot the floor like golden snow...", though.

cool45auto
April 10, 2003, 07:31 PM
Maybe she'll keep going and learn to enjoy it.

hksw: I agree, I think she was going for the Pulitzer with that one.

Jim March
April 10, 2003, 07:56 PM
Dunno 'bout her but personally, I go out of my way to avoid "golden snow".

:neener:

Waitone
April 10, 2003, 08:09 PM
Power? Oh yes. I don't plan on buying a gun. Yet, I do plan on remembering the power it took, the force it took, to send something ripping through flesh. She's the one who willingly allowed doubt to enter her world. Doubting one's assumptions is the beginning of change.

Navy joe
April 10, 2003, 08:21 PM
Jim :D That's mean.

I bet if me and this girl met it would be love at first bite...
l
l
l
V

blades67
April 10, 2003, 08:34 PM
I'm sure she has changed. Before, she was against all guns, but now she'll only be against the rest of us having guns.:rolleyes:


She claims to be a vegetarian, but eats "Chicken, only on occasion, fish is meat..."?:confused:

She thinks fish is meat, but chicken isn't? I hate it when they talk out of both sides of there face at the same time.:scrutiny: :barf:

Standing Wolf
April 10, 2003, 08:38 PM
That will stay with me, and give me more power if ever I am forced to kick -- or, perhaps, bury a key in an eye socket.

If push ever comes to shove, she'll wish she'd pocketed her car keys and packed a gun.

TallPine
April 10, 2003, 10:16 PM
I just don't understand people that would cut the heads off of innocent cabbages and cauliflowers, and separate baby peas from their mothers ...

What kind of an evil person would do such a thing?

:neener:

laynlow
April 10, 2003, 10:31 PM
M E L O D R A M A T I C

She's not strong enough to control the recoil of a 9mm? :rolleyes:

Learn to grip the pistol properly lady. :banghead:

Zundfolge
April 10, 2003, 10:31 PM
An hour before I was supposed to shoot a gun for the first time, I was sick to my stomach, and wanted to find a way out. What had seemed like a good idea a week ago, now, well -- didn't.

I just cannot comprehend how anyone can be afraid of a simple machine ... I can understand people who are afraid to be on the business end of one, but "sick to my stomach" fear of shooting one? :confused:

What a weird battle this is.

Shoeless
April 10, 2003, 10:37 PM
I just cannot comprehend how anyone can be afraid of a simple machine ... I can understand people who are afraid to be on the business end of one, but "sick to my stomach" fear of shooting one?

I'm with ya. I'm a woman, and even the very first time I ever shot a gun (I was about 28 at the time I think) I wasn't scared or intimidated or anything like that. I just don't get why there is so much hysteria surrounding the little machines. It's not like they're magic or something and they can fly around and point themselves at you.

Shoeless

Weimadog
April 10, 2003, 10:55 PM
Kinda settles the "9mm is not powerful enough" argument right there. :)

Weimadog

WilderBill
April 10, 2003, 11:02 PM
The good news is that she did take that first step and she will think back on it and realize it didn't hurt her and just might have been kinda fun.

She's hooked and dosen't knbow it yet! ;)

KarlG
April 10, 2003, 11:18 PM
HKSW,

"Shell casings dot the floor like golden snow..." is a simile which makes for a very bad metaphor.

S_O_Laban
April 11, 2003, 12:26 AM
Tall Pine LOL:D :D

WonderNine
April 11, 2003, 03:57 AM
Everything is a new life experience for leftists. They have so little experience with anything to begin with.

Khornet
April 11, 2003, 06:48 AM
a turgid stew of steamy half-erotic metaphors. It's as if she was discovering her inner pervert.

Croyance
April 11, 2003, 07:23 AM
Well yes, the writing is obviously melodramatic and overwrought. Perhaps it is the influence of bad romance novels.
And it seems that these days a person can eat meat and still be a vegetarian. Chicken, fish, milk, and eggs are allowed. People tell me I am too hard line when I say that Vegans are the only true vegetarians, but they are the only ones who don't eat meat or meat byproducts. At least I can respect the vegan more.

griz
April 11, 2003, 10:02 AM
Learn, so if you ever have to use one, you can. Somehow, over the past 10 years, guns had ceased to be evil. So, here I stand, hunting strength, confidence and power.

I think she, like a lot of people, subconsciously equates her fear of something with the object being evil. Sounds like her rational side is begining to prevail. It's a good start.

4v50 Gary
April 11, 2003, 11:13 AM
What Standing Wolf says. Besides, a 9mm is a lot more authoritative and persuasive than a fistful of keys.

.45Ruger
April 11, 2003, 11:52 PM
I have to say that if she was having trouble handling the recoil of a 9mm maybe she should go for a .22 next time. They are cheap to shoot and very easy on recoil. I try to teach every new shooter on my Mark II first.

Zundfolge
April 12, 2003, 12:18 AM
At least I can respect the vegan more.
Until you have one come stay the weekend with you and you have to figure out what to feed the darn thing :p

Freedspeak
April 12, 2003, 01:41 AM
I know some vegans, we tell them BYOF, (your visiting us, we are not reponsiblle for your food) vegitarians aren't as unreasonable.:) :banghead:

nvrquit
April 12, 2003, 02:05 AM
... and relative rationalization that some individuals use.

IIRC there is a little thing called the Carbon Cycle that tends to dominate herbivores, carnivores and omnivores all, to a greater or lesser degree. Unless you ingest and digest/absorb your nutrients directly from the minerals of the earth, the air you breathe or directly from the sun, then you have to have consumed something that had to have been alive at one time or another. The outlook of the consumer is only a relative moral platitude. I've got no problem with another's outlook on their personal consumptive habits regarding food, just so long as they do not attempt to "force feed" their designs/desires upon the rest of us as a whole.

Uh-oh, RANT mode was left engaged for a little too long today!

Well, I hope the best comes from her experience.

LoneStranger
April 12, 2003, 02:09 AM
Tallpine;

I just don't understand people that would cut the heads off of innocent cabbages and cauliflowers, and separate baby peas from their mothers ...

Someone who has realized the primary rule for Humans!

If it moves, Kill It!
If it stands still, Eat It!

Shweboner
April 12, 2003, 02:17 AM
Well at least she's taken the first step. Slowly but surely she'll come around.

I emailed her and reccomended that she pursue the firearms thing, and that if she needed assistance in that, to stop by THR and see that gun people are nice:uhoh:

~Brian

general
April 12, 2003, 04:34 AM
a turgid stew of steamy half-erotic metaphors. It's as if she was discovering her inner pervert.
Is that really how some women feel re:bad old guns. If its bad it must be dirty also?
Gun=Bad=Dirty=Erotic?
I don't know. I won't speculate.
I recently took my girlfriend to the range for the first time....didn't notice any marked change in her except "the grin"!
Hope she does stop in for a visit, then decides to stick around with those who share her new interest in firearms!

Navy joe
April 12, 2003, 12:46 PM
I got vegans in the family, I just love to needle them. The way I see it, when you till the earth to plant your garden you're gonna kill worms, moles, etc. Then you're gonna kill bugs that eat your plants and such. What's the difference between a bug and a cow? Unless of course you ascribe to the Jain sect of Hinduism, at which point you don't even till the earth for fear of harming a living creature. Those guys would be more popular if they had enough food in them to sustain the energy to go door to door and walk around airports.

Back OT, why's a veggie need guns. Obviously in her twisted view of the world the campus stalker really isn't bad, just misunderstood. Peace and love can cure the worlds problem, why have a gun? Maybe she just wants it for spring brussel sprout season.

If God(or your preferred deity here____) had wanted us to eat only vegetables he woulda put our eyes on the side of our heads and given us all that mindless sheeple outlook that some now possess.

Kaylee
April 12, 2003, 04:42 PM
Obviously in her twisted view of the world the campus stalker really isn't bad, just misunderstood. Peace and love can cure the worlds problem, why have a gun?

I'd not go that far. After all, she *was* talking about gouging out the eyes of a potential attacker. Sure, it ain't as effective as a 9mm JHP, but ya gotta start somewhere, right? :p

I look at it this way -- she took a step that's no doubt difficult for her, especially considering her upbringing and likely her social circle. Knocking her is the LAST thing we should do.. rather, encourage her. Remember Miss Demeanors? And WyldOne?

Jeez guys... this kinda cliquish snobbery is what DRIVES OFF a lot of women and others from "the gun culture." We need all the help we can get here folks.. unless that is ya'll WANT the MMM to keep getting members thinking we're all Neadrathal rednecks that is.

Let's at least try and welcome aboard the ones that take their own time and money to challenge their upbringings, eh?

-K

Okiecruffler
April 12, 2003, 06:05 PM
There are many vegetarians in the world, such as myself, who simply oppose unneeded cruelty to animals. The most vocal and public of these are those who are at the far extreme of the spectrum. (think of the bubbas that the media pulls out from under rocks when they want to show "gun enthusist") They are the fruitcakes from PETA who get off on throwing paint at fur coat wearing super models. Once again, the extremists. There are many more like myself who just want the animals to be threated well. And before the flame throwers come out, I'm not some pot smoking hippy who read an article about cosmetic testing once. My first degree was in livestock and agricultural science. I've seen the commercial meat farms, I know how they can afford to sell you your chicken at 90cents a pound. I actually stopped eating commercial meat 3 years before I stopped hunting. Never could understand those anti-hunters who stopped by McD's on their way to their meetings. Sorry, a little long, but I've been attacked more often for being a vegetarian than I have for being a gun owner. I've never told anyone what they should or shouldn't eat, I believe to each their own in all aspects of life, but that doesn't keep people from giving me their opinion of what a shmuck I am for my beliefs.

As far as the writer goes, anytime someone in the media says "hey, guns aren't demonicly possessed machines of death" I applaud. She's still no vegetarian tho'

Navy joe
April 12, 2003, 07:41 PM
I agree, I'm just having fun, my main problem with the vegans is they screw up the grill with their grilled ****take mushrooms and that makes my steak taste funny.

The viewpoints are not mutually exclusive, I eat meat like mad but know for a fact I care more about animals than the whackjobs down the street at PETA. You get a little hardened living in such close quarters with such fruitcakes.

P.S. lady, don't eat the golden snow.

rick458
April 12, 2003, 07:47 PM
I dont think I know anybody, who purposely hurts or injures animals, granted some of the stock ranches etc.. could do a little better for the animals.
but as for the hunting , The last deer I shot was happily eating lunch one second and was ready for skinning the next. as it collapsed I thought to myself I should be so lucky as to die that way.

Sheslinger
April 12, 2003, 10:30 PM
She'll come around. At least she is trying.

Shoeless, I know exactly what you're saying - I have only been shooting for a couple of years but I never felt like the gun I was shooting was going to jump out of my hand and go on a killing rampage. However, we do have a friend who nearly fainted a couple of times we had guns nearby.

All kinds of people out there, but we certainly should encourage the ones who are trying to discover for themselves what all the myths and the hype are about.

Sheslinger

Bergeron
April 13, 2003, 01:09 AM
I'm curious as to when she visited Barney's. Considering that she was from the media, they might have had a one-on-one complementary session with her, but if she visited on Wensday night, Ladies Night, she should have gotten free everything to shoot along with many other women.

I was present for part of the first Ladies Night since the NRA grant was refunded, and there were two ladies who were identified to me as being from the local campus paper, the Vermillion. I haven't seen an article on it yet, but hope prevails.

Also, about that "golden shower of brass", I find Barney's to be the cleanest, most professional, and nicest indoor range in Louisiana that I have experienced.

If they really wanted to experince new things in the world of guns, a rental MP5 would have made for an eye-poping experince.

I find it curious that someone who is a pacifist and vegan would seem to feel that an intrest in guns would be not in keeping with those beliefs. Shooting, pure shooting, need never involve hunting if one does not wish to kill an animal, and I have never used a firearm in any kind of violent scenario, nor do I wish to. Also, despite having guns very suitable for self-defense, self defense has not yet been a motivating concern for my any of my gun purchases. My most pleasureable and relaxing shooting experience came from shooting my mom's Smith 41 and seeing just how small of a group I could make offhand at ~15 yards. Nothing died, and no violence was present.

If the author does visit this board, and would like to continue shooting, I would like to invite her to send me a personal message. I'm always on the lookout for people to go to the shooting range with.

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