Friday, April 19, 2013


Image found on

The summer before seventh grade was the first time I went to Stony Glen Camp.  For five weeks during the months of July and August, the Pioneer Girl Organization rented out the site and it was all girls all the time.  That year I went for just one week.  However, I loved it so much that each year I would increase my time at camp until, by the time I was in high school, I was staying for the duration.

Each week every camper participated in three activities every day.  One of the choices was Riflery.  I signed up that first week, even though there was an additional cost, and my money for extras was limited.   It turned out that before anyone was even allowed to touch one of the .22 rifles, there was a list of 10 rules that had to be memorized.  These were Safety Rules.  It became apparent very quickly that this was Serious Business and not Fun and Games.  There was always a sense of Respect on the Range. 

I discovered that I loved to target shoot that first year, even though I was not very good at it.  I continued to shoot every year after that when I came to camp.  As I started staying longer, and staying consecutive weeks, my shooting started showing improvement.

One year we had an Instructor who was Outstanding.  It was actually a He.  He was married to one of our counselors who was there all summer.  He not only taught all of the Riflery classes, but he would let us shoot on our Free Time if we wanted.  If we wanted??? I was there every day.  He also let us shoot the same rifle every time.  They were numbered.  Mine was number 2.  It wasn't perfect.  The sighting was off on it.  However, if I adjusted it slightly below the dark cirlce and to the left, I could cluster my shots in the dark black bulls-eye area.  Under his tutelage, I soared up through the ranks.  Marksman.  Marksman First Class.  Sharpshooter.  If I'd had a few more weeks with him, I don't know how high I'd have climbed!!!  It was a wonderful experience.

Take a deep breath.  Sight just slightly below and to the left of the black dot on the target.  Let half of my breath out.  Slowly pull the trigger.   Repeat five more times.  Done.   Wait until the "All Clear On the Range."  Go get that target.

After I graduated CILT, graduated college, and quit that job in New York, I had a chance to go back to camp for one summer as a counselor.  They needed a Riflery Instructor.  So, I went through a Training Class with the NRA and was Certified.  It was one of the most rewarding and scary things I have ever done.  For those five weeks, it was MY job to make the girls in my class not only better marksmen, but to always respect the weapon.  I had one Hard Head during those five weeks, who probably will be responsible for a few of my gray hairs in the future, but I think even she got The Message by the time it was all said and done.

Example of an Idiot with a Firearm:
image found on facebook

Rating: Passion  

Have you ever been to the gun range and fired a rifle or handgun?  If so, did you take a class or have an instructor who made you feel the responsibility of being safe with your gun at all times?  Did you experience a thrill when you learned how to shoot accurately at the target?   Have you ever thoroughly enjoyed something that you never thought that you would?


  1. Absolutely - I learned to shoot a rifle when I was 12 and it was amazing and made me feel responsible. The feeling of handling something so dangerous with care and respect was just priceless.

  2. I've never even held a working gun, let alone fired one. I'd probably be terrified to. Probably the closest I've ever come is those BB type guns they use in carnivals.

  3. I went to a resort with an arcade and did well with a fake rifle once. I've never held a real gun. Camps I went to taught archery to kids - I find the idea of teens learning to shoot guns a little scary. Yes, most kids are trustworthy, but what about the one who isn't?

  4. JKeith ~ In the 40s, and 50s (and I imagine earlier than that), it was commonplace for children to be taught to shoot by their parents, particularly the boys. By the time they were in high school they were all well versed with a rifle. Many high school boys took their rifle took to school and left in their trunk, because Riflery was part of the school's extra curriculars and they would need their gun AFTER school. No one ever thought they would shoot up the school with, and THEY NEVER DID. What they did have was a responsibility and respect for the weapon. That same respect that you and I were taught in our teen years. I wish everyone had it.

    Kellie ~ People who have never shot a gun, were never taught to shoot a gun, were never taught how to safely shoot a gun, well... they should have reservations about picking one up, because they don't know what they are doing. That is just being smart. However, with the proper training ANYONE can master shooting.

    Lexa ~ I think if we instilled respect of firearms at a young age now, like parents used to 60 years ago we'd have the same number of schools shootings that we had 60 years ago. You can see more on this in my response to JKeith above. Additionally, I took Archery at camp, and you can kill someone with an arrow just as easily as with a gun by being reckless on the Archery Range. Mastering the sport of Archery is another wonderful confidence-builder for teens. It is also another sport that gives them Respect for the Weapon. Soon they are going to be driving cars, where more lives are taken than any place else. That is like putting them in a guided missile. How do we weed out the ones who are going to drive and text? Drive and not pay attention? Drive too fast? Drink and drive? Drive stupid?

  5. He should know better!
    Teaching others to respect the weapon must've been satisfying.

  6. I've never fired a weapon before, but plan to change that very soon.

    In this day and age, I think everyone should, at least, be familiar with firearms.

  7. It's always fun to learn things about others. I've never touched a gun.

  8. I love to shoot, and I'm a pretty good shot. A former Army Special Forces guy taught me how to shoot. I like rifles, too. More control.

  9. Wow...that guy in the picture is in danger of blowing his brains out!

    I've gone shooting a handful of times in my life, but am still a little uneasy around firearms...but that makes me extra cautious.

    I do vigorously support the second amendment, and think that everyone should have some exposure to firearms.

    It's such a cliche, but it is not the weapon but the hand that wields it that causes the problem.

    One of these days I am going to buy a shotgun. Love shooting those clay pidgeons!

  10. My dad was a hunter, and he taught me how to shoot a rifle. I never took to hunting though. I took riflery at Boy Scout camp a couple summers. I enjoyed target shooting, but I haven't shot a gun since those camp days.

  11. Alex ~ Yes and yes!

    Mark ~ I completely agree.

    Liza ~ It is fun to learn new things about others. That has been one of the most enjoyable things about this Challenge.

    Carol ~ Lucky you. I am sure you learned some really cool things from your Instructor. I agree about the degree of control with the rifle vs. the handgun.

    Larry ~ I think that everyone should always be extra cautious when handling a firearm - no matter how much experience you have. Carelessness leads to accidents. As you say, the fault never lies with the weapon, but the hand that wields it.

    Tim ~ I hope the day never comes that I have to do anything other than target shoot. I have no desire to go hunting. I would probably just go full-on vegetarian. lololol.

  12. I saw this image earlier today and thought he was the craziest cop ever.

    Chontali Kirk

  13. Robin
    What a sharp eye you have/had to excel with a rifle. Kids should learn to use a gun when they are young. But it looks like there will be no need to learn because there will be no guns around. Very sad.
    You know why there is no crime in Montana and we can leave our houses and cars unlocked...... because there are at least 4 or 5 guns in every house. Criminals just don't bother. Montana people are good people but it's still the old gun law and the way the West was settled. I doubt if anyone ever thinks about guns, as they are just a part of us.

  14. Of course! However, we apparently teach our children not to respect anything, much less guns. I feel far more threatened every day by the idea that teens with absolutely no training get behind the wheels of motor vehicles. The kids at the local high school tell me they learn to "knee drive." They steer with their knees so they can text with one hand and drink soda with the other while they're driving.

    Mr. President, please take away my neighbors' guns!

  15. C. Kirk ~ Clearly not respecting the firearm.

    Manzanita ~ I agree that 12 is a great age to learn target shooting. Now, my dad learned how to shoot much earlier, so a case could be made that children actually have the capacity to learn to handle a gun at a very young age. They just have to have an adult there to instill safety and responsible handling of the weapon. I think that is what happens in places like Montana. Those kids grow up around guns at a very early age. Like you said, it's a part of the culture... part of who they are.

    JJ ~ Knee driving. Gah. Washington and/or the individual states need to pass some legislation that makes sense. If you are caught knee driving and/or texting, you will lose your license. They will most certainly kill someone before a responsible gun owner does!!!! I am tired of hearing talk about taking away guns, magazines, etc.

  16. My father taught us to shoot. He was "Mr. Safety" because of a hunting accident that resulted in a death during his youth. I was also an excellent shot but I excelled at archery. I only ever liked to target shoot, never did the hunting thing.

    1. I have only target shot, too. Can't see myself doing any hunting, either. Kudos to your dad on teaching you to shoot safely:)

  17. Ah, and here I thought you were simply someone who understood and supported the 2nd amendment in theory. I never caught that you were actually a shooter.
    How fun to have such a wonderful experience and good training as a kid. I do think every kid should at least be trained in safe use of firearms.
    Of course you know of my love and respect for guns. Under the tutelage of some great instructors who helped to shape some natural ability I can often destroy the center of a target. It is a real high for me as it makes me feel the equalization of power between me and anyone much larger who might think I make a good target!
    Gun lovers are the most respectable and safe people I have ever had the pleasure of knowing.

    1. You have actually learned some new things about me thanks to the A to Z challenge. And I agree with you on all points!


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