17 April 2009

Can I just conceal carry a compound bow instead?

Back around the beginning of the year, Dr. Nate and I each had a background check, were approved by the Pennsylvania State Police, and received conceal carry firearms permits. The background checks came out fine other than that one incident where I tore up my social security card and holed up on top of an abandoned water tower and pledged allegiance to the government of Mongolia. But that was really all just a zany mix-up. Honestly.

So, without ever having fired a gun, I am now able to tote one around in a pocket or purse. Packing heat in the grocery store? You damn well better believe it.

At one point a few weeks ago, Dr. Nate thought it might be a nice idea to buy me a gun for my birthday. I don't want to hunt, I just want to plink at targets and such. Good practice for zombie defense and I'm sure that Tom Gresham, your host of Personal Defense Television, would be proud. So would my NRA-member dad. And Phil Spector.

So we went to the local gun shop/target range one Saturday. Talked to a nice man who gave us information about safety courses we could take. Showed us some guns. Encouraged us go to the shooting range and try out a .22. Said the folks down there would show us how to use it (they showed us how to put the bullets in. That was about it).

Okay, fine. Safety glasses on, ear muffs on, gun, bullets, target. Go into very large room where nearly every lane (aisle? booth? whatever you call the divisions at a shooting range) was full.

And then, it seemed every other lane/booth/aisle pulled out 9mms and .44s and started firing simultaneously. Shell casing from the lane/booth/aisle next to us were coming over the parition and landing in my hair. Guns are LOUD. I had no idea how loud. The concussion was overbearing.

I have a confession to make. I absolutely freaked the fu*k out. As in, I surprised even myself by this level of freak-out. I'd been under there impression thus far that I'm a fairly calm person under stress. I never flipped when I was doing SCUBA training. I've gone down 80ft in pitch black water by myself with no problem. Yeah, it does happen on occasion, but never like this. This was freak out on a scale heretofore unknown by me.

I have no idea what caused it. I assume it was the mixture of the concussive effects of gunfire in my noggin, a new, LOUD, environment, and general apprehension of messing with a deadly thing without any training. Total synapse shutdown.

Needless to say, we left without firing a shot. I did manage save my complete and utter meltdown until we got into the parking lot. Yay for that, I guess?

This leaves me to wonder if perhaps fireams are not my "thing." I don't think that's necessarily it, though. I do know I was woefully underprepared for the environment that is a target range and would probably be more comfortable in a lower-stress situation like plinking at a tree on someone's acerage. Either that or some training to be comfortable with the nature of shooting firearms. Thing is, even now that I know what the noise levels in a target range are like, I still don't think I could use one when it's that busy. I was probably in the range for no longer than 2 minutes and ended up with a headache that lasted the whole rest of the day.

Guns aren't that loud on t.v. (joke)

Either way, I'm a pathetic wimp. Maybe I could look at the deadly, but more silent art of bows and arrows. Good for not revealing your whereabouts during a zombie invasion, but not so easily concealed while walking the aisles of the grocery store.

Obviously Dr. Nate did not buy me a gun for my birthday. I got a far-less-deadly cordless immersion blender instead.

15 April 2009

Reading To-Do List

I've got a book backup at home, seeing as I spent far too long slogging through a biography of Werhner Von Braun and now I'm spending far too long slogging through a book about black holes. The Von Braun biography was good, but exhaustive in detail. The black hole book is good, too, but I put it down for a few days and then forget all the stuff I've already learned and need to go back and reread bits.

But oh what a stockpile of goodness awaits when I'm done! To wit:
  1. Two, count 'em TWO zombie books - "World War Z" by Max Brooks and "Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: The Classic Regency Romance - Now with Ultraviolent Zombie Mayhem!" by Jane Austen and Seth Grahame-Smith
  2. Anti-religious books: "Crazy for God" by Frank Schaeffer and "Why Evolution is True" by Jerry Coyne
  3. "The Pluto Files" by Neil deGrasse Tyson
Most excellent airport reading for upcoming work travel.

03 April 2009

Music for Tots

I was driving home from the gym this morning and the Beastie Boys' "Paul Revere" came on the radio. I've decided that the Beastie Boys would be great at writing children's music.