This past weekend I took a break from exercising my first amendment rights and instead focused on something far more important: exercising my second amendment rights. The right to keep and bear arms is an indispensable part of the American experience. Sure, I made it through most of my first 27 years of being an American without ever using a gun. But, as I write this, a scant two hours after last firing a piece (as I like to call them), each second that I’m not shooting a gun feels like an excruciating eternity.
Because this is the Internet, and not a gun range, which is where I belong, I will explain my gun experience via a numbered list. Numbered lists are a universal language (like math), so all those Chinese readers I somehow get will be able to understand this post. Here’s what I learned by shooting guns:
1. I am God
The power … the power to shoot thunder from your own hand, in quantities of six, or sometimes five when the thunder doesn’t go off right or gets stuck in the thundertube … is awe-inspiring. More importantly, it has been made my power, and thus I am awe-inspiring. Tomorrow, I will attempt to create matter from a vacuum. Science tells me this is impossible. But I am more powerful than science now.
2. Big bullets > small bullets
I popped my cherry on a .22 caliber Ruger pistol. If you aren’t like me and didn’t learn several things about guns a few hours ago, then here’s a little secret: .22 caliber rounds are actually baby teeth packed with cordite. Legend has it that when Hemingway first attempted suicide, he put a .22 in his mouth and pulled the trigger. After that, he wrote The Dangerous Summer for Scribner, then he got serious and used a shotgun. A .38 or .45, however, will put a 3-ring binder size hole in the target paper, which is perfect for my scrap-booking.
3. Revolvers are cooler than the other kind of gun
In all the modern action movies, Jeremy Renner has a “pistol” (which is the other kind of gun). For the lay person, the pistol is the one without the revolving cylinder thing where the bullets go in. The revolver is the other one that Clint Eastwood uses in westerns. I preferred this one for obvious (apolitical) reasons, but also because it was more accurate and didn’t jam up all the time. OK, the real reason I prefered the revolver is because I hit the bullseye with it the most, and I like anything I’m immediately good at. Another reason I liked the revolver is that …
4. Revolvers cure the common cold
For centuries, aboriginal peoples have known of this homeopathic remedy. But I only just learned it today. I showed up to the range with a bad cold and very shaky hands, which is a great way to try shooting a gun for the first time in your life. But, by the time I wrapped my hands around that sweet, warm steel and released my wrath upon a piece of construction paper, my illness had apparently vanished. It was as if the cold virus saw the holes in that paper target and heard the words, “you’re next!” in cold-virus language, which sounds like blowing bubbles into chocolate milk, I imagine.
5. The Beatles were right about happiness
I have some circulation problems, which often leaves my hands chilled during the cold months, which makes me very sad. Wrapping them around a warm gun however, even in January, made my hands warm. That made me happy. John Lennon must have had a similar problem with digital heat regulation. Happiness is, in fact, a warm gun.
While I have no desire to train a firearm on any living thing besides stray cats, the appeal of target shooting was undeniable. The experience was simultaneously empowering, humbling and terrifying. It left me feeling that A) no human being should have such power within their hands, and B) I want to have that power within my hands. And of course, the clash of cultures over the gun control debate was forefront in my mind.
Forefront on my iPhone, however, was a Safari window showing prices for revolvers. That’s when I realized there’s a different kind of gun control that nobody talks about on the news: the fact that they cost upwards of two grand.
That’s more expensive than the down payment on my car.