On a recent range trip I finished what I wanted to accomplish pretty quickly and so I was just basically hanging out with a buddy. It was a good time and I got to shoot some cool guns I haven’t shot before including a Smith & Wesson target .22 from between the wars, a 1980’s era Colt 1911 and a surplus Beretta 92FS. I was also helping him dial in the red dot he had mounted on his new .44 Magnum Ruger. As I was hanging out I noticed a number of folks that needed a little assistance.
Some folks were obviously struggling with making accurate hits that some simple advice on stance, grip or technique could addressed. Others were struggling with manipulating their firearms and could could also have benefited from a few helpful hints. Still others were having issues with their weapons; some that could have been fixed easily on the spot with something I had on hand and others for whom a recommendation on a good, honest gunsmith would have been a big help.
I see this all the time and in the past I would have been helping any of them who were willing to accept it. This time I was in no hurry to help and thinking back on it, I haven’t been overly eager to assist others at the range for a quite a while now.
I pondered this for a bit and I realized something that really disturbed me. I was subconsciously categorizing those around me at the range. Not as 1911 people or revolver people like I have all along. No, I was categorizing them as friend, foe or undetermined. To say it another way, I was weighing which would be most likely to be shooting at me or alongside of me when things turn ugly (uglier).
As the US heads further down the slope towards a violent split between the Left and Right I have already started thinking in terms of friend or foe. On the drive home I also realized I have started thinking of my neighbors in the same way. I have started to think of those who had Beto signs in their front yard as a possible source of risk to me and my family.
I doubt that many of them would attack me directly but I suspect (hopefully incorrectly) that they would be more than happy to point out the local conservatives to those might be willing to do so. I don’t know if this is founded in reality or in the propaganda spewed by partisan news media. Regardless, the fact that I have started looking at people this way is disturbing. I talked this over with a few folks and, apparently, I am not the only one thinking this way.
One buddy strongly suggested ignoring the feeling and remaining open to assist those anyone at the range. In his mind even if this was an Antifa soldier in training it would show him the better side of conservatives and gun people. I get that. I really do but I can’t help wondering how many Germans knew a Jew who had been kindly and helpful but turned on them anyway. I am sure there were some Hutus in Rwanda with positive experiences dealing with Tutsis but that didn’t stop the slaughter. I read an article by a survivor of the siege of Sarajevo who was close to people on both sides of the conflict but within days of the first minor skirmishes his friends had turned on him and he was on his own.
It is a scary time we live in and and increasingly tough time to love your neighbor as yourself…
God, I pray You would help heal the divisiveness in our nation. Help us to overcome our differences and join together as one nation, one people, under God.
Take care and God bless.