Thursday, November 20, 2014

3 Reasons Why Violent Video Games are Just Not Enough

Hello Blogga fans! Maleen's been holding up pretty well during Blog Month, but it's only fitting that some time during the month you get to hear from me, Tyler—the only man in the house.

So it is with no small deliberation that I have selected my topic for the evening. Of course, I could explain how I agonized over all the details and multiple storylines. I could go on about how I sifted through the carefully curated details of my life to find the perfect moment to share with you. I could profoundly expound all the measures I went through to select tonight's adventure...but I won't.

The fact is that my subject was selected for me by the Great Blogger Herself, the one whose stories you normally come here to read. She pointed to me and said, “You're blogging tonight.” I thought I heard, “or else...” muttered under her breath, but it may have been the wind. 

So, at long last and great length, I present to you: 3 Reasons Why Violent Video Games are Just Not Enough. 

Naturally, it took me a while to come up with the headline. I didn't want some lame headline bearing my story to the world. No, I wanted something grandiose, epic—if I could have it! But that's the best I came up with, so the story will have to do the rest.

Long ago, while yet in Idaho, I learned how to shoot. Now I've never been a hunter, right up until several weeks ago, when I singlehandedly, with the help of several guys, rid the world of a horde of vicious, tick-ridden, flea-infested, varmint jack a matter of public service. My Dad was a hunter from his youth. I'm told he used to take a shotgun with him on his walk to school and shoot pheasants for dinner on the way home. 

That led to a sort of natural honing of the shooting skills of safety and accuracy. When boys of his own came along, my father reminded us that he had rarely fired his rifle without hitting his mark. He boasts a record on a cruise ship in the Carribbean that allowed a guess to shoot skeet “until he missed.” That turned out a poor investment on the part of the cruise line. 

When it was time to introduce his young men to shooting, my father took great care to ensure we were not savages with firearms. He hammered into our minds the deadly effects of firepower. He also helped us hone our skill for shooting. My brothers both show an affinity for pistol shooting, which I enjoy as well. However, I have always loved the challenge of “reaching out” for hundreds of yards through precision shooting. Over the years I progressed from “couldn't hit the broad side of a barn” to “plinker” to “skeet deadly” to...well, that's classified.

Under the watchful tutelage of my father, I learned not only how to accurately select a target and wait for the appropriate moment to “send it,” but I also learned of the great responsibility presented to those who possess and use firearms. We spoke often of rights and privileges, the constitution, and enjoyed many fine hours quite literally “shooting the breeze.” 

It is natural to desire to share skills and talents with others. I have an instinctive firearms proselytizing drive to share firearms with people—especially people who know nothing about them. 

We have a story, oft told at shooting ranges, of a friend of mine who had never shot a firearm in his life. We took him along to introduce him to the ways of guns. It was with great pride that we unveiled an S&W 500, the largest revolver manufactured to date. For those in the know, they're drooling right now. For those not in the know, it's a handgun that shoots .50 caliber rounds—that's ½ an inch around. It comes with plenty of kick, and an impressive impact down range. It was our custom at the time to introduce the newbs to shooting with the biggest gun at the range, thus ensuring all other firearms fired that day are easier to shoot. We instructed our friend about safety and about proper technique to fire the man-making pistol. No sooner had we explained the safety procedures and instructed him how to properly support the weapon, my friend assumed an unsafe support posture, slacked his elbows, and squeezed the trigger on nearly 2000 feet per second (fps) of man joy. 

At this point you should remember that we start with the heavy-kicking guns first, and this was the heaviest at the range. For the non-physics majors, it's a poor idea to relax the biggest joint between 2000 fps and your forehead.

The recoil from the S&W 500 instantly snapped his wrists up and back, transferring the majority of the energy down his forearms. The elbows absorb most of the recoil if they're locked, which the reader has already ascertained they were not. The elbows did the only thing they could do: snap backwards. The hammer of the 500 hit my friend right between the eyes, with a clean follow through. His glasses looked like they were salvageable, but they were sorely mangled. The resulting cut above his eye didn't produce a lot of blood, but it did produce a pair of blackened eyes. There were other effects as well, but in the interest of brevity (in which I am rarely interested), my friend, without a word, handed the firearm back, hiked down the hill from the range, and drove home. I doubt he should ever desire to handle another firearm ever in his life.

Subsequent expeditions to the range now start with the lightest recoil and work upwards. To this day, he is the only bleeding injury we have ever experienced at the range.

Needless to say, I select my firearms pupils much more carefully now. It's not enough to simply express the fact that you've never fired a firearm before. There's more to it than that. If you want to learn, not just shoot, I'll take you shooting. I'll share my firearms with you. I'll share my knowledge with you. And all with pride gleaming in my eyes.

So, it was with considerable consternation that I received the request from my sister in law to go shooting. She expressed that she had never before handled a firearm, let alone discharged one. She expressed a desire, and Maleen passed the desire on to me. Miranda (SIL) is an experienced gamer, so she's familiar with digital counterfeit of firearms. Many a violent video game has crossed her screen, and I was concerned that this may pose a barrier to handling real-world firearms, but ultimately I decided that she possessed the requisite desire to learn. 

With vivid memories of my friend's injury, I surveyed my current arsenal. I wanted something that would make a smooth, enjoyable introduction to firearms. A 9mm would be perfect. For the non indoctrinated, the 9mm is the standard-issue sidearm for the U.S. Military. It holds up to 16 rounds, fires a rapid, high-penetration, relatively light round, and is among the most stable, accurate pistols in service today. The typically next step up is a .40 caliber, followed by the ubiquitous .45, and then up to .50. 

Pistols would be a splendid introduction, but I also wanted to share the two other flavors of consumer firearms: shot and rifle. For the un-initiated: a pistol is a short-barreled handgun either semi-auto (uses a magazine or “clip”) or revolver (uses a cylinder); a shotgun has a much longer barrel than a pistol, typically has a butt-stock to stabilize the gun in your shoulder during discharge, and most-significantly, shoots a number of tiny BBs that spread out from the barrel; finally the rifle is a long-barreled firearm with a butt-stock, that shoots a single projectile through the barrel, which is “rifled” to ensure the bullet spins in the air—making it more accurate over much-longer range. 

I selected my recently purchased 20-gauge shotgun (my primary weapon in the epic battle against the jack rabbits), and my Mosin-Nagant 7.62x54R (basically a .308) rifle.

Miranda (SIL), June, and I headed west out to the BLM land on the west side of Utah Lake, and found ourselves a nice little shooting alley. 

We talked about safety, and ensured that everyone knew the commands. We talked about proper shooting position for pistols, for rifles, and for shotguns. We talked about how to hold a firearm, check it for safe, engaging and disengaging the safety, and about range commands. 

Everyone was safe, everyone shot all the guns, and everyone came home alive with no blood—it was a successful shooting outing!

I think that Miranda learned much about firearms, and I think she now has a healthy respect for what they do, how to treat them, and what it takes to be “good” with a gun.

To bring it full circle, then, the three reasons why violent video games are just not enough are these: 

  • 9mm
  • 20-gauge shotgun
  • 7.62x54R Mosin Nagant

If you don't get it, you'll just have to find me at the range to understand. 


meganmushrat said...

That was a fascinating description of how you got involved with guns and share it with others. However, the "English Teacher Mother" in me immediately picked up on a grammatical error. With elbows, it isn't "if THEIR locked" but "if THEY'RE locked" (as in 'they are'). However, it's not nearly as funny as Maleen's CORAL instead of CORRAL.

meganmushrat said...

I am so glad to see that the grammatical error was corrected. It is very heartening to see the youth listening to advice from their elders.