Sunday, July 16, 2006

A dangerous obsession

I fear I brought something back with me from Hawaii besides a list of cool journalism Weblinks and a newfound appreciation for the Asian female form.

I got a kick out of surfing, and snorkeling ruled.

But what I can't stop thinking about is...


Remember the shooting range I went to? The one where I aced it with the Ruger 10/22 rifle?

I used to live near a shooting range. I drove past it all the time (it was on my commute from my old apartment). The other day, I stopped in. Fortunately or un, they were closed.

I've never owned a gun. Heck, until Hawaii, I'd never FIRED a gun. I played soldier all the time as a kid. I write stories and scripts with guns galore.

But frankly, the reason I never bought one (back before I knew you could, um, rent them at a shooting gallery) was simple: I always figured if I had a gun in the house, someday, I'd put it in my mouth and pull the trigger.

I'd like to think I'm well past that stage now, between something vaguely resembling maturity and, well, pharmaceuticals. But who ever knows.

That doesn't even take into account the ideas of a) accidentally shooting oneself; and b) children in the house. Not that there are any of those, really, but still. There was a kid in the paper the other day who blew away his little buddy playing around with one of his family's 98 guns.

But honest to God, I can't stop thinking about how good it felt to put that rifle to my shoulder, put something in the crosshairs and SQUEEZE THE FUCKING TRIGGER. It was amazing. No worries about recoil, weight (unlike those heavier, later pistols), my rotten vision (I was wearing my glasses), or anything. Just some seriously accurate shooting.

Now, I'm quite sure a .22 rifle couldn't bring down a charging dachshund, but it's hardly a toy. It's a freakin' gun. And I don't know the first thing about guns and ammo.

To what I'd like to think is my credit, I went to the gun range not to buy a Ruger or anything like that, but to inquire about safety courses and other general questions like that.

But that means I'm actually thinking about getting a gun. Because I'm assuming at a non-tourist gun range, you can't just pick one up and open fire, you've got to actually bring your own. And take care of it, and clean it (which to my way of thinking is when most people accidentally shoot themselves in the freakin' face), and whatever.

I've owned knives of the non-kitchen kind and I sometimes think about getting a nice Daisho samurai sword set for the mantel, despite the fact that I tried to cut my wrists once. But I honestly don't think I meant to do it, despite being thoroughly morose, brokenhearted and drunk as a skunk, because I couldn't break the skin with a Swiss Army knife that I can tell you for a fact cuts open boxes and sliced my sheets all the way to the mattress.

So bladed weapons don't really scare me. I've played D&D since I was 8, after all. But guns, guns do kind of make me wonder.

Two of my classmates committed suicide via firearm my senior year. One shot himself in the mouth with a .22 pistol. He died on the operating table and had an open-casket funeral. (If you've never seen a .22 bullet it looks like a flippin' toy. Really. It's that small.) His best friend, two weeks later, put a shotgun in his mouth. Needless to say, he didn't have an open-casket funeral.

Thing is, you wouldn't catch me buying a shotgun. Too big, too powerful, too unwieldy, to my way of thinking.

But that 10/22, that was just my size. And by God, I was good with it.

You know me, though. I'm starting to obsess. And I can see where this is going. And I can't say I like it. But I can't say I don't, either. What a rush that was. God, it felt so good. Must be my inner redneck coming out.

But some days, I find myself Googling "Ruger 10/22" and looking over the results. And thinking about scopes, and targets, and that feeling of power and adrenaline and God knows what else you don't get at a desk fixing typos.

It's frightening, in my head. In my gut, though, I want - literally - another shot. Every single day.

I'm glad that store isn't on my commute anymore. I'm finding excuses already not to go in.

"The 'funnest' little rifle ever built"
The Ruger site, which actually uses the word "varmint"
Evidently, it's the weapon of choice of Jews as well as "varmint" hunters
An old article on the Royal Hawaiian Shooting Club, to blame for my current state of mind
I understand almost none of this Wikipedia entry; that can't be good
Books like this scare me, too

Yes, I realize buying a rifle is probably also bad for my reputation, given said reputation as a bit of a psychotic to begin with. So many factors to weigh against THAT FEELING.


I hate having an addictive personality. Bad enough I spend all my money on DVDs, media guides and limited-edition horror books and still probably drink too much from time to time. Now this.

(Aside, another thing I'm left to ponder, post-Hawaii, is that whole personal essay thing. I'm still thinking of writing one, or more, and I might post them here eventually, which violates my whole no-editing rule, but I don't really feel up to pitching them to the paper, assuming I even write them.)


jin said...

Oh, wow!
I came here expecting to get something light!
But I did read EVERY word, you're a very good writer.
So, serious post = serious comment.

Ok, should I just say it?
Well, I usually do (some people like my honesty, some kind of don't! LOL).

Don't buy a gun.
Esp. if you still drink...'cuz even if you don't mean to do anything accidents happen with alcohol around.

Nothing wrong with fantacizing about it or researching it via the net. Just don't impulse buy. Ok?

BTW, anytime you need cheering up you just pop on over for cake! One of these days I'll have to do a munkee just for you & post a pic.

Be well! :-)

Freak Magnet said...

Don't get a gun - you'll shoot yer eye out, kid!

Stewie said...

You are the best person to determine whether or not you are ready for a gun.

Don't listen to anyone who offers their opinion on this.

Only listen to your own because you probably already know the answer.

Lesley said...

Stewie makes a good point -- the only one who knows is you. And being in the fair Garden State prevents any impulse-buying. Yay, gun control!

Freak Magnet said...

I'm with them on making your decision on your own.

Just remind me not to piss you off.

Aric Blue said...

Dude, it's a .22--you might as well ponder whether you wanna buy a BB gun. 'Cause a .22 is not a very scary weapon.

So go ahead and buy it if you like to shoot it.