One day our tech instructor said, “It’s range day,” so we left. (We march everywhere).
This is basic training in October ’67 in Amarillo, Texas.
My experience with weapons before that was growing up with a brother-in-law who was a Canandaigua Indian. He took me hunting, mainly birds. We ate what we shot. Pheasant, rabbit and squirrel. Just watch out for the shots when you chew.
The firing range during basic training was a large barricaded area. So we went in and were handed an M16 rifle that was adapted from the ArmaLite AR-15 rifle for the United States Army.
The original M16 rifle was 5.56×45mm. The maximum firing range is 3,600 m. The effective firing range is 550 m (601 yd). Semiautomatic. I think a 20 clip.
This was beyond my comprehension. He hunted pheasants with an American-made Ithaca shotgun or used a longbow.
After the dos and don’ts of the gun, I fired the M16. There was a disconnect. You could hardly see the target, let alone the center. There was no sinking round, it went straight. Any movement changed the trajectory.
When he hunted as a young man, he used a dog. Very funny and very cunning. And as a bonus, you had the silence of the forest. To say the least, this was something very different. I had to find out the nature of this weapon to master it. Which I did. I got a ribbon in marksmanship.
My gun at home was used to gather food, this gun was meant to kill men, quickly and efficiently.
I’ve been here in the woods of western Franklin County since the 70’s and over the years we’ve had a lot of hunting around here. Many hunters live here. It is a good way to feed yourself and your family with good local food and a long tradition.
I’ve had guns for a long time living here and taught my kids how to shoot. One hunts regularly and I get something for my freezer.
I hunted more as a youngster than as an adult, but I went out and had my share of enjoying myself to the fullest. I also had to take down rabid raccoons and the like, so I see the gun as a tool for the landowners here.
You should know where I’m going with this. I’ll tell you first, I know 2nd Amendment people who are good honest people and would never misuse a gun. These are my neighbors.
Many of them go to their local shooting range and shoot and let’s not forget turkey shooting.
So when the ban on any gun comes up, they are not the ones doing the killing and they stand firm against “taking our rights away” as they say.
The Founding Fathers could not have imagined the fiery power of today.
It takes two or three minutes to load a flintlock, rather than, say, eight seconds for a musket. If you’re trying to shoot a squirrel out of that tree, you’ve got all the time in the world.
But if you are trying to shoot a child in a classroom with your musket: stop counting 8 seconds and imagine the chances of survival. Unlike a second. Think about it. 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1.
AR-15 ammunition travels up to three times the speed of sound.
There shouldn’t be two sides to this problem. It is an American problem and patriots of all stripes should do what we did in any previous crisis. Work together.
Slogans like “Guns don’t kill people, people do” and “Ever heard of knife throwing?” they are not helpful.
Here’s the deal. Second Amendment folks, you’re getting a bad rap and you’re obeying the laws. The database I researched showed that the average age of these shooters is 18 years old. Then? Apply logic here. You can’t drink (for the most part) until you’re 21. So?
There is no way that a good citizen will not help put an end to the slaughter of our children. There is no way you can stand idly by and see your son, grandson bloodied and dead. So that?
It is beyond my comprehension how the mass killing is just another news story. Be a patriot, help.
Joseph Scalise lives in Buckland.