Sunday, September 19, 2010

Shooting and a lesson learned

I wanted to post on the subject of shooting. I am blessed to have good neighbors. One of my neighbors is Lamar. He is one of the nicest people I have ever met. He is also sort of a gun collector. We, on occassion, go down to the Wakulla County Sheriffs shooting range. If you own a gun then the problem persists as to where are you ever going to shoot it. Lamar and I solved that by going 40 miles down to the country. The sheriff there is very kind in that he opens up his facility to the public. On one recent excursion I learned a lesson concerning contrasts.

While Lamar and I were shooting our handguns at some innocent little paper targets there were some deputies apparently being qualified on their new assault rifles. We stood and watched them shooting and were amazed at the amount of fire power they held in their hands. It was impressive seeing them handle and perform with those weapons.

Now these were AR15's. They hold 30 rounds of ammo and you could squeeze those rounds off in a matter of seconds. After they run empty you just slap in another magazine and repeat. The ammo is lethal. It is about 2..5 inches long and would be coming at you so fast that it would be nigh unto impossible to avoid being hit, if you were the target. You ask yourself why do Sheriff's deputies have to have such a sophisticated piece of firepower? The answer is quite simplistic. Because the bad guys have all got assault rifles and anything else you can imagine.

Now I have to introduce you to Keith, one of my other neighbors. He is a retired cop with FDLE. He is another nice guy. Lamar and I got to speaking with Keith and he invited us into his house to look at a couple of guns that he was proud of. They were turn of the 19th century powder and ball muskets. They were quite impressive. He took them down off the wall and allowed us to heft them and look at them. These guns were responsible for helping us, as a country, to win our independence from Great Britain.

These smooth bore muskets were quite heavy. As I held the one of them I could not help but contrast what we had seen earlier down at the WCSO shooting range. In every Revolutionary or Civil war movie I ever saw, I recalled two lines of enemies facing off at one another and firing these guns point blank at the other guy. They had to shoot and then reload, filling the powder receptacle with powder and then putting a lead ball down the muzzle with a rod for that purpose. To shoot 10 rounds took them about 15 minutes. Another part of the story is that from 100 yards or more the balls fired were terribly innacurate and ineffective. The damage came from the soldier charging you and working you over with the fixed bayonettes.

I am 65 years of age. Somtimes the progress of mankind just dumbfounds me. Early in my career, just after college, I was administered a test by IBM as to whether or not I had any data processing aptitude. Turned out that I did. This was about 1970. My company wanted me to go off and let IBM train me up on a new data processing system that they were going to implement. I had just finished 4 years of hard work getting that BS and had enough. I passed on the opportunity, electing to be a sales and marketing guy.

I remember that we cleared out a room for the equipment. It was a room about 18x20 feet. There was a key punch station, card sorter and printer. That equipment looked like farm equipment. The little Blackberry that I hold in my hand today is abut 1000 times more efficient and 1,000,000 times faster than that stuff was.

My point is simply this ( and it is no epiphany ): This age we live in is so fast paced that it is almost impossible to keep up with it all. Somedays I feel like a cave man trying to keep up. But I keep trying. If I don't keep trying, life will knock me flat as one of those rounds from that AR15.

There are some sweet sides of it as well. I got a picture sent to me by my son in law of my two granddaughters selling lemonade in their driveway. How did it come? In an envelope with a stamp? No, it came through the airways onto my smartphone, seconds after it was taken. I watched 11 hours of football yesterday. BYU-FSU; 'Bama-Duke; Bulldogs and Razorbacks; LSU-So Miss.; Auburn-Clemson. I never left my recliner, except to get a snack. I watched on digital cable with high definition. It was better than being there.

I love it! Don't you?

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