I have nothing against owning useless things. That’s why I have cats. Others own guns. The similarities…
We learned to shoot in high school.
It was the 1980s, and as an alternative to gym class, any student could, with minimal instruction, be blasting away with a .22 bolt-action rifle in the basement.
Once the rules were read, and some initial range-safety demonstrations given, we were off and shooting within a week. And, for the next few weeks after that. We shot so many rounds, in fact, that teenagers grew bored of it — bored of shooting (real) guns, having grown up shooting imaginary Russians with sticks.
Many of us became excellent shots by the time it was over — some even shooting bull’s-eyes from the hip when the instructor wasn’t looking.
It still seems ludicrous. I’ve often wondered about it as I recount this high school memory to a generation more familiar with metal detectors than the sounds of a platoon of fellow students blasting away.
For a brief moment following the shooting in Arizona, it really seemed like a consensus was forming within the liberal (and parts of the mainstream) media and blogosphere; that the violent rightwing rhetoric which has become standard feature of our political discourse had finally gone too far, and that we as a nation were finally due for some rhetorical climate change.