Not this day, and not at this place.
If you’ve been reading some of my more recent screeds imploring the shooting community to be more welcoming to non-traditional shooters, you already know how I treated this family: just like I would any other wholesome family who showed up to shoot on a Sunday afternoon. (This being Oregon, it was not a sunny Sunday afternoon but the kids braved the rain and wind for the chance to go shooting. That says a lot in and of itself.)
What I think is great about this encounter were the kid’s reactions: the son, who was perhaps 15 or so, was rather nonplussed about the whole affair; shooting was obviously something with which he was already familiar, to the point that it seemed perhaps a normal thing for him. (That, or it wasn’t as exciting as his video games!)
The roughly 17 year old daughter, on the other hand, was enthused about her time with the AR she’d just shot: “I loved it!”, she told me when I asked how she liked it. “I want that one!”, she smiled as she climbed into the Prius.
I looked at the gentleman, laughed a bit, and said “this might be the most expensive range visit you’ve ever had!”
He smiled a little as he closed the car’s hatch on the camo-finished rifle and replied “I’m okay with that.”
That, ladies and gentlemen, is how we win.
Others can (and sadly will) avoid the Prius drivers and those with different skin, making them feel as they they’re not welcome in the shooting world. For my part, I’m going to continue to welcome them into the shooting community just as I do everyone with a sincere interest. When this girl grows up to influence her children, her peers and her community, I’d rather that she do so with a positive attitude about shooting — and shooters — than a negative one.
She’s already off to a good start, and I hope that our very brief exchange helps cement her opinions about shooting as a wholesome activity for everyone and shooters as an inclusive group.
No matter how much it might cost her dad!
-=[ Grant ]=-