Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about the gun-owning world and about my place inside that world. I’ve thought about the gun owners I’ve met at the range and the students I’ve met in class. I’ve thought about the people behind the counter at the gun stores and the people you run into at gun shows and shooting events. I’ve thought about the competitors, the trainers, the hunters, and the regular people who just enjoy plinking on a Saturday afternoon. And I’ve thought about what brings all these people together into one subculture.
It turns out, one core principle drives everything I do: I want to change the way we approach gun ownership in America in some very specific ways. Toward that end, today I’m starting a new series of blog posts: the “I have a dream…” series. It’s about gun culture – what’s good and beautiful about it, and what we need to celebrate, and what we need to change to make it even better. I hope you’ll enjoy reading this series as much as I enjoy writing it.
Just after Christmas, my friend and fellow firearms trainer Greg Ellifritz posted a wonderful, heart-warming story about a woman he met at the range one evening. Greg writes:
I find out she’s a single mom with two kids. Her house has been broken into three times in the last two months. The last burglary attempt occurred while she was in the house with her kids. She has never shot a gun, but she recognized that she had a duty to protect her family. She went to a gun show and bought a Jimenez Arms JA-9.
… She tells me that she has a bad feeling that the robbers are coming back tonight to get the x-mas presents she bought for her kids. She doesn’t know anything about guns and doesn’t know anyone who can teach her. She’s signed up for a CCW class, but no one teaches classes on the week of Christmas and she can’t find an opening until January. The problem is that she thinks the robbers are coming TONIGHT. A January class isn’t going to help.
… That’s why she was there by herself at the shooting range. It didn’t matter that she was by herself, that she was the only woman in the room, or that she knew nothing about guns. She had babies to protect and was going to figure out how to do it, come hell or high water.
Read the whole thing. Of course Greg stepped in to help her. The challenge: in exactly one hour, show a brand new gun owner how to use her gun so that she is better prepared to deal with an immediate challenge to her safety and her family’s safety. Could you do it?
Thinking about Greg’s story, I have a dream.
I dream that one day, every woman who goes to the gun range in time of need will meet a person there who has both the willingness and the skills to teach her what she immediately need to know, with the expectation that she will in time be prepared to turn around and help spread that knowledge to others.
Right now, we can celebrate that there are so many truly Good Guys (and gals!) at every range, people who’d be happy to help others learn. But right now, most of those Good Guys do not have the skills to get someone else up to speed in the most critical basics for self defense. Those who come in the range in time of crisis won’t often run into someone with that expertise unless we – as ordinary people, as shooters, as formal or informal instructors – work hard to learn what we need to know.
We can be the change we want to see in this world.
That’s my dream. What’s yours?