Skip to comments.Elle Mag’s Fortini on Firearms: Angst for the Memories
Posted on 01/25/2012 7:49:45 AM PST by marktwain
You look like you need to learn to shoot, a helpful receptionist advised Amanda Fortini as she sat waiting to see her doctor. Evidently her discomfort and worry showed. What the hell? What did she see? Perhaps, I thought, she was referring to the fact that Im not physically prepossessingdelicately built, with bird-bone wrists and arms. Or maybe shed fixated on my all-black, un-Montana wardrobe and determined I needed some toughening up. I must have been emitting pheromones of unease, I concluded, the way some people signal fear to dogs. I didnt want to be perceived as a human orchid. I decided to learn to shoot.
Fortinis penned a cri de coeur for elle.com documenting the mental and emotional gymnastics shes performed that ultimately brought her to her decision to learn to shoot and actually (gasp!) buy a gun.
The piece is titled Should I Buy a Gun?: After falling victim to a string of traumatic crimes, Amanda Fortini considers a controversial means of protection. Note to Elles editors: with about 11 million guns sold each year and 40% of Americans owning firearms, its getting a tad difficult to call owning a gun a controversial means of protection any more, no?
With a history of brushes with crime and violence (actual and attempted break-ins, walking in on an armed robbery) then a move to Montana where guns are rather more accepted than in her previous home bases of New York and Hollywood, Fortini takes the receptionists advice and signs up for Women on Target, an NRA-sponsored shooting class. With barely concealed revulsion, she describes the degrading experience:
I arrive at the range at 7 a.m. to find approximately 35 women of various ages, from twentysomething to 60-plus, sitting at the sort of long fake-wood tables on which bingo is played in church basements. (The bathrooms are labeled Does and Bucks.) Outside, at the rifle range, people are already shooting. Every time theres a reverberating boom, a few women jump, startled. It sounds like were in a war zone.
Most of the women have come to this clinic so they can get a permit to carry a concealed gun for self-defense. An elderly woman tells me that she wants to stash one in her bag for shopping trips. For the parking lot, she says.
She ultimately manages to overcome her fear and loathing long enough to actually pull the trigger during the classs range session.
I squint, hold my breath, and fire.
My first thought is, I cant believe how loud that was. Im wearing earplugs, but you dont just hear the firecracker noise in your ears; you feel it with your whole body.
Thats when she finds (stop me if youve heard this before) that she actually likes it.
My next thought is, I want to do that again! I have an immediate, exhilarated reaction. Partly its that what Ive just done initially frightened me, so theres a sense of a limit overcome. For many people I know, guns remain unrealthe accessories of fictional characters, or at least of the Other, not you and yours. Yet to fire a gun is to realize you can do it: You can operate one, understand how it works. Shooting gives me a rush that comes from a feeling of (admittedly incomplete) mastery.
And she seems to find the act of shooting almost therapeutic, allowing her to escape the chronic anxiety over her safety that brought her to shooting in the first place.
the sensory experience of target shootingreadying your stance, controlling your breath, focusing on the targetis so absorbing that I cant indulge my free-floating worries. I cant have a self-conscious intellectual reaction when firing a gun. Its almost meditative.
As I shoot, I again experience the strange, paradoxical sense of an act thats familiar and unfamiliar at once. Ive seen Clint do this; Ive seen Arnold do this; Ive seen Sigourney Weaver and Linda Hamilton do it. Shooting a gun is like smoking a cigarette or drinking espresso in a café in Paris or having sex on a Caribbean beach: Youve watched it so many times on-screen that you experience your own actions as an echo. Its impossible not to feel like a cliché.
Ultimately, Fortini takes the leap and gets herself a gun. But her relationship with it remains complicated.
A revolver now rests on my nightstand. Its small and sleek and black, a Ruger LCR. Weighing 13.5 ounces and no bigger than a half-sandwich, its easily slipped into a purse. Ive tucked it not quite out of sight, among books I hope to read but maybe never will. Several weeks after buying it, Im still wary, superstitious. I know the chamber is empty, yet I open it every so often to check.
Wait, what? The same woman who cowered behind the counter in her kitchen at 4:00 a.m. as a drunk tried to break down her door doesnt keep her home defense gun loaded? Well, no. No she doesnt. Because even after completing the class, she doesnt feel qualified or prepared.
Because, lets face it, if I really could fathom pulling the trigger on an intruder or a looming attackeron another human beingId keep the gun loaded. When you hear floorboards creaking as he creeps toward your bedroom, its unlikely youll have the time, not to mention the presence of mind, to fumble with ammunition. To quote the teacher of a subsequent class I took: When youre in trouble is not the time to start loading. It could cost you your life.
Every time I look at the gun, it scares me, I tell my boyfriend, as I eye its insolent blackness, leering at me from the shelf next to my bed.
Its a gun, he says. It should.
Its hard to fathom why she lets the Ruger take up precious night stand space if shes not going to load it. Maybe shell have time to throw it at an attacker if, God forbid, she ever really needs it.
[h/t Ira Wilsker]
I love the little anti-gun hysterical nonsense at the end of the piece. “It’s a gun - it should”... What horse shit.
What should scare you as a woman is some burglar breaking into your home at night and you have no way to defend yourself. Why get a gun if you aren’t ready to use the thing for self defense? So you’re ready to let some guy rape or kill you but you aren’t ready to put 2 in his chest to defend yourself?
Liberals are insane.
Did you ever notice how some folks attribute life, volition and animation to otherwise inanimate and otheriwise inert objects like guns?
If my firearms began “leering” at me I would see a shrink immediately, for I know better.
What really scares such soft-minded fools is this: Fear of responsibiity, fear of outcomes and fear of self.
I was discussing concealed carry with a non-firearms person, they asked if was afraid that I may unintentionally shoot an innocent bystander if a “shoot” sitiuation occurred. I answered “certainly there is risk, but mitigating risk and developing controls is how people, companies, governments function. I practice marksmanship, tactics, and self-awareness skills and am ever seeking newer and better more efficient/effective ways to approach life, let alone dangerous incidents.
No magic involved, just rational, logical and fact-based skills that are designed to reduce dependence on cognitive thought in the instance required (as there is little or no time).
Reminds me of the story of a person who was asked why they carried a gun, a knife, mace, cell phone and a flashlight as well as a pocket first aid kit as a matter of daily proactice-what are you afraid of?
He replied, “why, not much...”
Yes, they are. They think guns and SUVs attack on their own at the slightest whim.
***Notice the power of someone actually experiencing shooting. It changes their whole perception. Take a non-shooter to the range. ***
Perhaps that is why we often see a photo of Chuckie Schumer grinning from ear to ear as he shoots a Tec-9. It is a feeling so great it should not be enjoyed by the great unwashed, so ban them.
What I noticed was the complete lack of shame, indeed the lack of even any awareness, that such emotional turmoil over such a mundane activity indicates a profoundly unbalanced perspective.
If my firearms began leering at me I would see a shrink immediately, for I know better.
Its a gun, he says. It should.
Don't worry Amanda, your wussified, metrosexual "boyfriend" will undoubtedly jump in front of you to protect you from the violence of the rapist/killer.
Or, of course, he may just paralyze the rapist/killer through a series of snarky comments pointing out the rapist/killer's terrible color selections because the rest of his outfit doesn't blend correctly with the insolent blackness of his hoodie.
The gun is, by today's standards, a very simple machine. It's intended purpose is to expel a projectile at a lethal velocity. It is used for sport and self defense. It is used in the line of duty and recreationally.
People unfamiliar with this simple piece of machinery are influenced by external forces and manipulated as a result of their own ignorance. The gun is an unknown with a “reputation”. They don't know how it works, how it “goes off” or what the specific dangers are. Therefore it is very very bad and scary and nobody should have those vile things. Most guns have 2 to 4 moving parts.
The same soccer mom with the attitude above will load her 4 children inside another, very complicated, machine and hurl them down an interstate at 70 mph within a few feet of other, perfect strangers, doing the same. To operate that van/SUV takes a lot of knowledge and skill that mom takes for granted and does not fear.
Full attention, two hands, a foot, how to operate: accelerator, brake, steering, directionals, doors, mirrors, seatbelts, radio, AC, lights, heat, traction control, anti-lock brakes, tilt-wheel, seat adjustment, cruse control, transmission, fuel refill (hazmat), etc.
Then there is all the legal issues a driver must know for safety and the state:
Speed limits, turn on red, lane changes, follow distance, licensing, stop sign procedures, stop light procedures, pedestrian rights, Right of way laws, emergency vehicles, insurance, registration, cell phone laws, alcohol laws, DOT safety restrictions, yellow solid Vs. white dots, all the meanings of signs with no words, etc.
Soccer moms not only trust the highly advanced machine (that they know so much about) to operate consistently and safely, they trust the other thousands of operators and their complicated machines with her life and the lives of her children. Why? Cars kill more people in America than guns. Is it a numbers thing?
Knowledge. Soccer mom has knowledge and experience. She may have even been in an accident or two or broken some laws now and then. Her confidence does not wain. She understands and is comfortable with the machine while still aware of just how dangerous it is.
If you brought someone (anyone) from 1860 into our time and handed them a modern rifle while having them climb into a Suburban, what do you think they would be more afraid of? In fact, if cars were only invented recently, government's would not allow private operation unless special provisions, qualification and testing were done. It would be similiar to what pilots are required to do.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Really? I have a bunch of them that glower and scoff at me every time I pass, because I take them out far too rarely.
My guns talk. Heeeeer kitty kitty kitty kitty....
That and simple ignorance, fear of the unknown.
Not certain what your point is?
A comparison of a “time traveller” is rather silly.
The point is, and I am rather certain we agree, is that inamimate objects are not about to do anything, good, bad or of no consequence.
That is where the author of the article falls of the deep end. Hoplophobia. Fear of Weapons (fear of one’s inability to control themselves, really).
Driving is not a right (although it is associated with one- or more).
Again, not sure the point of your note. I do think we are of the same mind though.
Knowledge and experience. Compare and contrast the fear between the dangers of two machines.