But whether I’ve met you or not, I want to know your story. The vast majority of my readers are firearms enthusiasts of some stripe. How did that happen? How did you become gunnies?
I think the most wonderful thing about being me is I don’t really remember a time in my life I wasn’t around firearms. I don’t even remember the first time I went shooting. I was 3 1/2 and my dad sat me on his leg and guided me through the whole process. I squeezed the trigger and grinned from ear to ear. I got my first .22 when I was in second grade for my birthday. I spent hours at the range with my dad with him teaching me to shoot. Pushing my capabilities and comfort. If it looked easy he quickly remedied that.
In about 5th or 6th grade I started shooting pistol. He started me off with a 22 and by the age of 14 I was regularly shooting a 1911 and driving tacks. My dad shot competition pistol while at MIT, I still have the pistol he used to compete. It is one of my favorites and one that provides the most piercing memories. I had a habit of pushing with my thumb on the grip. His solution to the problem was the same his coach used, thumbtack placed pin up taped in place. I only screwed up once and I forever remembered and never made that mistake again. Even now when I pull my 1911 my thumbs are well clear and are NOT going to push on the weapon.
All this time growing up I absolutely loved shooting. Between that and flying those are the two stand out memories I have of spending time with my dad. Even now shooting for me becomes very Zen like and I often hear my dads voice. After a shot it’s his voice I hear telling me what I did wrong, if it’s a good shot I hear him telling me to call it.
Growing up my household was very libertarian in philosophy and politics. I remember coming home on the day Waco burned. I remember seeing the anger and aggravation on my dads face and in his voice. At the time I was so young I didn’t understand what was going on. As I got older that would change. It changed most dramatically one day while sitting with him after an excursion to the range.
I don’t remember how or why the conversation took this turn, but my dad began to tell a story. A story about a young boy who at the time was the same age I was. Hearing something in the woods grabbed his rifle and his dog figuring it was a deer. His father and a family friend proceeded to follow out the door behind him with their rifles as well. The boy and his dog proceeded through the woods in the direction of the noise. Then it happened, a burst was fired at which point the dog dropped dead. In front of the boy was three men, heavily armed. The boy, having seen them kill his dog returns fire and tries to retreat to safety. They shoot the boy in the back while he is retreating.
I then ask my dad who the armed men were and why they were there. The response was memorable to me, “They were there as representatives of the government.” My dad then proceeded to tell me about the rest of the incident, including Vicki Weaver, and how Lon Horiuchi got away with murder.
I couldn’t help but place my self in Sammy’s shoes at that point. He was my age and I began to wonder why I was any different or what prevented that from happening to me. I have no doubt that the reason my dad told me that story was because he was looking at the incident from Randy Weaver’s position. What would he do if they had shot me in the back and killed my mother? I do know my dad had stated that Horiuchi was lucky my mother and I were around. If it wasn’t for us my dad would have had nothing to prevent him from going on the hunt. Some would say “yeah sure”. If you knew my father, that wasn’t a joke and any thing he said was anything but an idle statement. If he said it, he was damn serious.
From that point on I was a very big gun rights advocate. I did numerous projects through school, many my instructors disliked, on the falsehoods of gun control and the dangers of government.
Eventually as I went through college and began to finish up I started moving back towards the gun community. During school I had neither time nor money to play. In 2008 I attended Boomershoot and led to me creating this blog. I had other sites but hadn’t really started the blog. I figured it would be a good on the side hobby and a way to relieve stress when necessary. The blog just turned 3 and has resulted in some interesting communications. I also found it a great way to pursue writing on freedom and liberty, not just gun rights.
I have grown more recently as now where I work, I’m like Joe, many have heard of me and know me as the “Guns and Explosives guy” before they’ve even met me. People who a friends of friends are coming to me with questions. Which is awesome, and very neat.
So there’s the story of why I’m a gunny. There’s a lot of heart in why I’m here. The happiest memories I have from my dad usually involve a firearm. For me nothing is more peaceful that settling in behind the last gift I got from my father and reaching out and touching something. I can’t help but remember that great man and all that he taught me.