Sometimes I write posts based on experiences in my pre-blog life. This is one of them.
Depending on where you grow up, shooting guns may be normal for hunting, clay pigeon shooting or target practice. I grew up in a family where hunting was normal although not a dominant part of our lifestyle. So the idea of guns wasn’t entirely foreign to me but I didn’t really have any hands-on experience with firearms.
I went through college with the intent to become a newspaper reporter. As I neared spring graduation I interviewed for several jobs and accepted the one that sounded like the best fit. However, I had little experience with the beat I would be reporting on – cops and courts.
But being a reporter is all about learning so I was all in. I asked a lot of questions, looked up law enforcement terminology I didn’t understand and took in all the information I could. In the fall of 2007 the local police department I was reporting on announced they would be holding a Citizen Police Academy. This would be a good story, I thought. Wait… What I if I went to the class too?
After a little discussion with my editor I enrolled. The classes were in the evening so they didn’t interfere with my normal work duties and I was so engrossed in my work that going to class at night to learn more about the police didn’t seem like work at all! The class would contain a few highlights – a police ride along (which I had already done but was eager to do again), a ride on the boat patrol (yes, patrolling Lake Erie) and shooting firearms.
I was a little nervous for the firearms night. Most people were excited, which I understand. But from my reporting I also knew how devastating and harmful firearms can be when in the wrong hands. I was very cautious with my approach, making sure I understood everything that was going on before I pulled the trigger. I was also nervous about the gun jamming or something going wrong. But there was a police officer helping me every step of the way.
At the time I distinctly remember keeping my finger away from the trigger until I was completely ready – which is when the first picture was taken. When I was ready I lowered my finger and wrapped it around the trigger. I pulled back. Whoa! I fired the handgun several times and I also tried a shotgun that night which I thought was nearly going to knock me over – it was so powerful!
I went on to shoot a second time with the sheriff’s department. Later in my career I had opportunities to shoot again with a gun control class and a concealed carry handgun class – but passed. Twice was enough for me.
P.S. Looking at these photos I noticed I am still styling my hair the same way seven years later!