Sometimes We Say It Best When We Say Nothing At All

Sometimes We Say It Best When We Say Nothing At All

Sometimes We Say It Best When We Say Nothing At All

I am not interested in politics and am among a minority of shooting enthusiasts that decline to beg, berate or bribe those in government for“gun rights.” There are many exciting organizations and people that are doing marvelous things in this department, and I have no quarrel with them.

As a pioneer in the entertainment shooting industry, I have been in the fortunate position to help create a new market and wish to share some ideas about how even those that are not “involved” in the political process are benefiting the cause. Interestingly enough, Don Wills, currently a Congressional candidate, offered me the idea of luxury entertainment shooting.

For hundreds of years people have enjoyed shooting guns. Shotgun games have traditionally been most popular in the commercial entertainment shooting industry.

Over the last score of years, a plethora of “machine gun ranges” have popped up around the country. These facilities offer people the opportunity to enjoy shooting fully automatic guns, often at targets containing human faces. Gleeful shouts akin to “Kill him” can be heard from shooters and their companions. For a mere $50 several people have had reinforced the perception that machine guns are used for killing people. This does not happen on my property so it is none of my business. I simply ask you to consider what has “been said.”

Being one of the first viable commercial luxury entertainment shooting firms in the world, we have directed our felt and projected attitude in a different direction. Our generalized demographics are high net worth individuals, families and corporate groups from urban centers. Many of our clients are aligned with a political party that has a reputation for NOT being “gun-friendly.” Most have never fired a gun and have always considered all guns not to be tools, but rather solely instruments of death.

When an international media corporation sends its top advisors and board members to enjoy our shooting activity, it is of great importance that we do not portray shooting enthusiasts as camouflage wearing Bubbas who want to kill cute deer, chipmunks, kindly ATF agents and speed limit signs. We agree with the NRA Training Department’s philosophy of referring to firearms by names other than “weapon”when teaching basic shooting instruction. When voicing encouragement to hit a target, we encourage shooters to get“it” rather than “him.”

A couple years ago I was visited by three Orthodox Jewish school teachers from the Bronx, NY. They openly shared with me that they had previously gone out of their way to sign anti-gun petitions. They were in an area where I was teaching and decided to try it out for themselves. They had an absolute blast of course, and while shooting, one of them asked if I had any assault rifles. I picked up a glove and lightly slapped her arm, then responded, “No, I don’t. All of my rifles, including the AR-15 and the AK-47 are sporting rifles that have never assaulted anyone, and while in my hands they will NEVER initiate violence. I DO however have an assault glove, because it just hit you.” We all had a good laugh, and they left with information to contemplate about firearms ownership and use. Several weeks later I received a card from them, and it included a drawing of a glove with a red circle and hash mark through it with the caption, “Ban Assault Gloves.” They voiced their changed opinions about guns.

My assault glove story is not how I typically interact with clients, but demonstrates that at times I DO engage in friendly conversations about gun ownership issues. More frequently, I say nothing at all. Clients anticipate a speech about guns being good, about having to pry them from my cold dead hands, about how many Messicans are crossing the border and killing little blond-haired children and about me needin’ to shoot them folk if they step foot on my property. Many clients comment as they leave about how they expected to be preached to about gun rights, and how pleasantly surprised they were when it was absent from our conversation.

So, what I am suggesting is that perhaps having a good time shooting targets with fun sporting guns, talking about the beautiful mountains & sky, about our shared appreciation for dogs, about the fun plinking sound a bullet makes when it hits a metal target and about how much fun we are having, perhaps more is being said than what we are saying.

Perhaps there is a time for ranting and raving and proclaiming to the choir our passion for keeping our guns, and perhaps being less verbose also help make guns more acceptable in the public eye. I suggest that we all invite an anti-gun friend to shoot 22’s with us and never mention anything political, just have fun. If they start the conversation, we might be wise to skirt it. See what happens. Trust me.

Photo by gruntzooki

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  • What a wonderful way of thinking! Thanks!

  • Your comment “I am not interested in politics and am among a minority of shooting enthusiasts that decline to beg, berate or bribe those in government for“gun rights” begs a response.
    You cannot escape your connection to the rest of society Shepard, including the political side of things. As John Donne said: “No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main. If a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as well as if a manor of thy friend’s or of thine own were: any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind, and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.” And Edmund Burke said “”All that’s necessary for the forces of evil to win in the world is for enough good men to do nothing.” So by standing by with your hands folded, you approve of the behaviour of men who would do harm.
    What you are practicing is a form of escapism, a denial of your social responsibility. As a former police officer (as I was), you of all people should understand and abhor that.

    • BL

      I enjoyed reading this article because my views very closely aligned with Shepard’s. Reading your comment David, I think you completely missed the point of the article. The point wasn’t that he stands idly by, not engaging with people and not attempting to change their opinions, but rather that there are multiple ways in which to do so. There is the one side, where you can wave a protest sign and scream at the top of your lungs and get in a person’s face forcing them to acknowledge you, and this results in, generally, one of two reactions: 1. I disagree with you. Get out of my face you idiot! or 2. I agree with you! Now get out of my face you idiot!.
      Or there is the complete opposite side, where you let the opposition walk all over you and let them change your opinions until the side you agreed with starts walking over you and you jump back to their side.
      Or there is the method employed by Shepard, passively engaging in the interest with the opposition, allowing them to realize through discovery that there are positive elements to the interest. This does a great deal more lasting damage to the opposition than threatening, cajoling, or wheedling. An opponent can ignore or retaliate against someone that is actively attacking their position, but it is much harder to ignore the person ignoring you. Try it in an elevator sometime. When someone gets on, have an intensely interested look on your face, but completely ignore the person that just got on. The charged atmosphere will inevitably produce at least a look in a short elevator ride, or will produce a question in a longer elevator ride.
      This is not a form of escapism, this is an actual proven psychological instrument of pushing for change through not pushing.
      And notice the specific wording of his post: “will NEVER initiate violence”. It doesn’t state will never engage in violence, just that his firearms will never initiate it.

    • Shepard Humphries

      David, BL was accurate in his understanding of my intent. On a completely different note, you and I disagree philosophically … and I might be wrong. 🙂 I am no longer the man that I was when I was a police officer, accepting $40k a year in stolen money to make sure the people from whom that money came did not have money stolen from them. We also disagree in regards to collectivism -v- individualism. By voting for kings or for “child molester of the year” I am in effect legitimizing what I believe is not morally correct. I know that you and most “good citizens” would disagree with this position, and I know that Aaron Russo had a personal preference for an unwritten contract that he believed “society” might agree upon or be held by, as did Jean-Jacques Roussea. Again, I culd be wrong … and that was not the point of this article.

  • TJ

    Shepard,
    I’m sure, despite Mr. Daly’s rebuke, that many of us who have grown weary from the venom and vitriol exchanged in the gun v. no gun controversy appreciate your candor. For too long now there has been no voice of moderation or mediation in this emotionally charged issue. As someone who enjoyed shooting from an early age, I also encourage my friends who have no experience shooting–yet have a natural curiosity to investigate–to accompany me to the closest range. I consider myself to be a progressive liberal, although my views on some issues would align me with social conservatives. That being said, I have no desire to wave the 2nd amendment in a friend’s face anymore than I would the Bible. I feel that common ground is the beginning of a respectful and rational discourse. I have found many friends to be pleasantly surprised upon discovering my avid interest in sport shooting. And that applies to friends from both sides of the issue.

  • the real diehl

    Both of my daughter in laws especially the red head did not “see the need for any one to have a gun”. So i took them shooting. Staring out with the .22’s and up to the shotguns
    at clays and even the .44 mag. When we were done all I heard was “that was fun”.
    Now when they come to visit the red head always ask if we are going to go shooting.
    She even let the 6 year old grand daughter shoot the .22 pistol from a rest, with very close
    supervision and help from grandpa. The pictures sure surprised the inlaws.

  • Cobrawing

    Thank you for this fine “adult” approach to our sport. The “yahoo” approach to things serves no one well. It’s a joy to once again have responsible voices presented.

  • Very well put. You can persuade individuals to your side with an intelligent conversation and dialog rather than getting in their face. Thank you for bringing attention to this adult approach to the issue of the day.

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