Monday, November 8, 2010

What qualifies you? who put you in charge?

Somewhere in the world, my father and mother decided to marry - they met all the requirements of the local law enforcers - and I am certain that Dad paid a fee for the official sanction - so there is a certified copy somewhere. No test, no school for developing married bliss or other, no renewal like there is for a drivers license, no coaches or mentors assigned, one of my mother's uncles married them. My father didn't have to have a job nor income for the position - he didn't have to submit a plan of their future for anyone to look over - probably got by with my mother's nod of approval to some vague proposal for marriage and living happily ever after, the only portion she would have looked at was the marriage part, she was already happily ever after. Well, the world was pretty fortunate - that marriage worked, at least until Dad died.

There is something called the TEA Party out there - and it came to the attention of the media and immediately it had to be classified, identified and made some kind of official something. So it could be handled properly... sigh. Since some of the ideas of the groups look conservative - the Republicans looked at adopting it (or so the media would want you to think) but THE REPUBLICANS (who probably wouldn't want a wrastlin' log splitting Abe in their hallowed chambers) didn't really want some of 'those' people around spouting their wild ideas. Have you ever heard the one about - "doesn't have the experience for the job"? I think that was always General Gates' reason that he would be such a better Commander of the Continental Army than George Washington. It does get thrown around more now days than long ago.

I belong to a few organizations, how that happened I don't really know since I am not much of a joiner. I am a member of the 82nd Airborne Association, a Life Member of the National Rifle Association and a five year member of the Revolutionary War Veterans Association (going on my third year of the current five years). And I like to shoot, don't do it perfectly, but enjoy the challenge and the moment. Most of my work with the RWVA has centered around the two day Appleseed, but they are taking something that works so well and reforming it to a bigger, brighter and more perfect organization that can't be looked down upon by REAL shooters. More experts, more qualifications, more challenges and chest thumping real shooting to come. I do wish them well, really, I hope that they do very, very well.

It won't be the kind of organization I would join again when they get done with it. I was a real Rifleman, 11B, in August of 1967 part of an Army that could move, shoot and communicate. I like the idea of a Nation of Riflemen, and everyone of us able to handle firearms safely and effectively -- yes, I said EVERYONE. I liked being part of the RWVA and earning my RIFLEMAN patch (really a cool patch on a Marine shooting jacket), I loved helping others to learn the skills, telling the stories of the beginning of our American Independence. I volunteered my time, talents and money to help spread the word, hire more help (since we pay so much)and have successful Appleseeds and find new Riflemen and instructors for the cause. But, I don't want to become one of the country club set. There are shooting clubs, some really nice facilities, and some excellent shots and shooting events and competitions - but that isn't where you will find Earl, probably why he doesn't play golf either.

When the Revolutionary War Veterans Association gets locked into the big boys' game of shooting they will be as effective as the National Rifle Association is in teaching new shooters and spreading the heritage. I will wish them all well, and long for the return to the day of an adult taking one or two youth out to learn new skills with their rifle or shotgun or pistol or revolver. I have in the early almost but not entirely un-scripted Appleseed Shoots, taught more shooters their skills and sharpened them up than I did anywhere except in the Army as a Drill Sergeant. I have really loved watching the pride in parents and off spring as they grow and share the experiences found on the range. Lots of great people out there getting on with their lives just a bit better prepared for the future. I am pretty sure none of them are going to duck back into the darkness if I show up somewhere, I might even get a smile and a fine hello and a slap on the back. That is worth more than gold, folks.

So, the only people that are qualified are those that did what? when, where and for whom? Or are they only qualified that stepped up, and did the very best they could for all that they loved and held dear? See, I did get back to my parents - don't really blame them for all my faults for I hold them the most qualified I could have ever had and hope I did them mostly proud.

1 comment:

Old NFO said...

Good job Earl! You Sir, are VERY well qualified to teach those new shooters!