Thursday, November 20, 2014

A "Reverence" For Shooting

This is a portion of an article written by Gun writer C.E. “Ed” Harris. This was first published on Gunwriters on the Web. Ed's Essays: If you were around in the days of yore before the internet you know that the precursor to the internet were bulletin boards, or computers, connected by phone lines to each other. You had to have your computer “call” another computer to log onto their board. Many boards were run by the government and there was little to no security or any type of password protection. I was in the military in the early 80’s and I remember downloading programs from other bases boards.
Ed first started writing gun articles on the internet in the mid 80’s. He competed and hunted and shot guns during a time when you could buy .22 for $10.00 a brick. I remember those days well.
As you can read in this article Ed chose to leave the industry for a time. As far as I know, he is back to shooting, but I couldn’t find any more of his writing. Maybe someone out there can tell us about Ed.
I feel somewhat the same as Ed in this article. Shooting has changed since I started seriously in the 80’s. It’s lost the class it used to have. There are still those who give the right attitude and feeling to the sports of shooting and hunting.
“By C.E. "Ed" Harris

It wasn't that long ago I thought that reloading 500 rounds to shoot every week, and working for a year on a magazine article that didn't pay enough to cover my expenses, actually was fun! At the range, rude clowns would pester me with stupid questions while I tried to "work." They'd blab on without the courtesy of waiting for a reply, interrupting with an answer they already "knew," being ready to argue for hours, while ignoring any pretext of science, engineering or common sense. Those days are gone for me now, thank God!

I've lost all interest in club shooting and competition, selling my Rod & Gun Club membership. So they won't see me at the range any more. A few old friends I'll miss know who they are and still stay in touch. It's ironic that from a club of hundreds of members, after 30 years I can count on the fingers of one hand the intelligent, well mannered gentlemen still living whom I am honored and thankful to have known.

The shooting game in America is dying because young people are not taking up the sport. Liberals and entertainment media use violence to sell the fearful on big government, trading our rights and freedom for the false security of "Homeland Defense" after September 11. Anti gunners are waiting patiently for the rest of the post WWII "baby boomer" generation to die off, so that the politicians can ban private ownership of guns outright without today's spoiled brats even raising a whimper. They'll get away with it, because most shooters are too stupid to see past the next election.

What was once the honorable hobby of outdoorsmen, citizen soldiers and amateur historians has been prostituted by costly games having no basis in reality. Competition has no purpose other than to sell more guns and accessories in a saturated market. Our head-in-sand Liberals of mis-applied compassion don't even have to ban guns. This is because our own shooting industry, advertisers and mass marketing have turned sport shooting into the pastime of monied elitists.

The cost of sport shooting has been driven out of reach of most ordinary working people and is surely killing our Second Amendment heritage just as certainly as if the cursed liberals had done it legislatively. The "gentleman good guys" such as the late John Amber, Bud Waite and Col. E.H. Harrison are surely rolling in their graves.

America's sport shooters who survive have forgotten that competition is about skill and hunting is an expression of reverence for our great outdoors and the game. The noble simplicity of it all hidden by today's advertising hype. The great outdoorsman Frank Marshall, Jr. killed most of his deer with a sporterized .303 Lee Enfield while wearing a tattered flannel shirt, bib overalls, smoking a Lucky Strike, watching the wafting smoke and stalking up on quietly upon them from downwind. Today's arrogant kids who learn how to hunt on the Internet need to get out of their tree stands and learn to enjoy nature and walk quietly around the woods so that they may truly enjoy them instead of worrying about how they smell!

After I changed careers and left the shooting industry, I didn't fire a shot in four years and didn't miss it at all. After my Dad died I started going back up to our country place, in the mountains of West Virginia, escaping daily suburban stresses to recall a simpler time. A neighbor invited me to help him zero a woodchuck rifle at his farm nearby and hunt deer with him in the fall. This was like turning the clock back 30 years and returning to my boyhood home. An occasional outing with a few close friends was delightful, 100 miles away from obnoxious newly rich who shoot the same arrogant way as they drive their expensive German cars which seem to have replaced the Fords and Chevy's we grew up with.

I don't have as many guns as I used to, but the favorites which I kept serve my modest, practical needs. What little hunting I do these days is for deer, varmints in my vegetable garden, wild turkey, rabbits and upland game birds close to home. My target shooting is informal, with revolvers handguns and traditional, muzzle-loading black powder rifles to 100 yards, centerfire rifles to 300 yards, mostly for woodchucks, but certainly not the fantasy 600 to 1000 yard "sniper" ranges anymore.

Ken Warner wrote in his Practical Book of Guns that before 1950 most American homes had a .22 rifle, a 12-gauge shotgun and either a .30-30 lever action or .30-'06 bolt action. Most handguns were .22s, but if center-fire, were almost certainly a .38 Special, unless a returning WWII veteran was an officer who kept his .45 automatic. Things were practical and simple then.

I learned to fire the Springfield and Colt Official Police revolver young enough to be confident of their accurate rapidity. They appear far less sinister than a semi-automatic such as a Garand or AR-15 and get the job done without scattering the fired brass all over. My "West Virginia battery" has built-in redundancy, because experience taught me that all essential systems need a backup, whether they be motor vehicles, two-way radio communications, home heating, knives, or firearms.”

Ed’s views on redundancy I echo. Remember, 2 is one and 1 is none. I also echo his feelings about many new shooters. I believe shooting requires a “reverence” for it, no matter what shooting sport you are into. There is a respect for those who have gone on before in shooting like Carlos Hathcock, Jeff Cooper, and many others. There is also a respect for the weapons that I don’t always see. So I can understand Ed’s reluctance to return to the industry.
I guess this is really just a rant article and a pleading to have a better understanding of shooting and shooting sports.

Semper Paratus