Monday, December 5, 2011
More of something I know nothing about...
Have mentioned that I am not a social person, touching is taboo.
So, I go to shoot and someone thinks they can help me. Talk to me gently and catch my attention first -- I came to place bullets on target and everything behind me (including the Commander in Chief and Lady GaGa) are only distractions. I have six steps to making that shot, and don't want your interruption. A good time to tell me I am a fool, have a happy finger or could do with a little tightening of the sling which is no longer snug -- is after I clear my firearm and have placed it on safe. There are another six steps to making my rifle safe (if you are seven years old and have been to an Appleseed you know them by heart - if you are seventeen you will try and bluff your way through it).
Now if I am accepting of your coaching, you can almost whisper in my ear your observations - I can't hear well with hearing protection and the entire high frequency range is no longer registering - but that is the point where we are working as a team to make that shot. If you are a man, and a young man at that - you might call me something jokingly terrible that my mother should never have heard in relation with me -- don't forget I am an old man, my mother is watching from Heaven, and you might get marked by your foolishness - which take a lot good deeds to erase. If you are of the finer gender, treat me like an old piece of china - drop me and I break, shattering my ego all over the place. Remember I think I am forty years younger than I act.
I once was a Drill Sergeant, and I adjusted a lot of attitude and equipment on other soldiers learning to be better than I, it is better to ask or demand permission to fix something by touching than to touch and set off the bomb inside of a frightened or paranoid human in a stressful environment. No one is prepared for that. As an instructor on the firing ranges I have tried to make sure everyone around me understood that touching is a LAST resort, and should be done only when the shooter is prepared for assistance.
Help clean up before you shoot, clean up after you shoot and keep smiling confidently and others will think you are nice or nuts, but will certainly treat you better. Bring more manners than you have to to every interaction with other people. Although Heinlein said an Armed Society is a Polite Society, he grew old when manners were fraying already - and go with the more manners than necessary.
This rambling is brought to you because someone somewhere touched someone on a range, and many places I haven't been are dirty and not nice to shoot areas now that the savages have done their little war dance. The First People had more appreciation for the ceremonies of passage.