Recently the team had an article published by KSL. It was a great article, and it really looked at the shooting sports in a positive light. It was refreshing to have someone from the news really focus on the sport rather than the fact that we, the team, had guns, or worse: weapons, on campus. It was nice that I also wasn’t being interrogated about being a female in the shooting sports and how devastating it is that it is so male dominated (we can address this later). Overall, a great article with minor mistakes on difficult terminology. It can be viewed here.
Why then am I complaining about getting along? It comes from the comments after. There are people commenting on the superiority of international shooters, superiority of “battle-ready” military shooters, questioning the capabilities of the team and collegiate shooters with other guns. Comments that are supportive of the article, but derogatory of some other individual or group. When I first started reading the comments I, of course, was upset. How could they be so mean? I worked really hard to do well. I was really excited about the article. I can shoot a Glock 19 accurately. I know I’m not “battle-ready,” but being “battle-ready” has nearly nothing to do with my discipline. They don’t know me or anything about the sport.
Then it hit me, and I became extremely sad. Not because they were being mean to me personally, but because they were being mean to each other. I realize that this is one of the quirks of the internet. However, I want to address the bigger problem of a society fighting among themselves. A society that is already under attack from so much negative attention, rather than working together to promote the good, dragging each other down like crabs stuck in a bucket.
The gun world is so big and expansive. There are so many different sects, styles, teams, leagues, etc, and instead of embracing the uniqueness and great parts of each, they don’t just bicker, but fight over what is the hardest, the best, and the most important in the gun world. Is that really what is important? Is being the superior style the most important topic here?
Personally I have a few more concerns. I’m worried about how little is actually known and understood in the gun world. I’m concerned about how many people come into the Pistol Marksmanship classes I help with that have very strong opinions of guns and what they do, without ever even seeing, touching, shooting one before. There are so many of those people who have never been educated on the importance of gun safety and education, but rather have been taught how scary and dangerous they are. That they have no redeeming qualities what so ever. Maybe if we started promoting each other and learning from all the different disciplines instead of bickering among ourselves we would be examples to new shooters. Instead of seeing a hostile, confusing, divided environment, they would see a family where they can turn for advice and opinions.
I’m also concerned about how many people come in to the classes thinking they know everything there is to know about guns, while they demonstrate poor trigger control, safety behaviors, and lack of understanding of the importance of the front sight (its really important by the way). These people often are the ones telling me about how they really didn’t need to take a class, they just are doing it for the credits. They often are the ones who don’t expect me to be any use to them in the class because I’m a young woman, or the older male instructors don’t have anything to tell them that they don’t already know from the internet. Its concerning how that demographic consists of males and females, young and old. It’s all really concerning, and there certainly aren’t any concrete solutions in this post, but it might help to just bring this topic closer to the surface and to discuss it.
Please don’t take this as me saying “the gun community is bad.” For the most part, the gun community is a friendly place, but the few that ruin it for everyone always seem to have the loudest voices. They are the ones that spoil it for everyone else, and I want to call them out on it.
I realize there will be repercussions for this type of talk. That there will be people who do not agree that there are any problems like this at all. People who disagree that promotion of others will lead to education for everyone. People who will be mean just to be mean, because that’s “just how the internet is.” However, I will put this post up and promote my simple opinion. Stop being crabs in a bucket. Let’s climb out together.
Mark: You call for civility, but compare commentators to your article to no less than “crabs in a bucket.” That’s a rather harsh and uncalled for assessment, given the actual mild tone of those comments. No one is calling others any names there. They may be asking tough questions, but they are engaged in a dialog that facilitates various points of view. If someone questions how air and .22 shooters would fare with “real” guns, that is a legitimate question from someone who has not been exposed to formal competitive shooting. If someone responds with admitting that competitive shooters would outperform laypeople with any type of gun, that is a fairly straightforward and obvious conclusion and not at all indicative of being mean. Yes, it is of course short of being honey-nice, but that extreme is as destructive to the meaningful discourse as name calling.
Hello Mark. I apologize that I didn’t respond to this comment sooner. It slipped through a spam blocker before I was able to take note of it to respond to. I apologize that the metaphor I was attempting to use of crabs in a bucket was misunderstood. I am not trying to name-call the commentators specifically, but rather, am trying to promote the ideology that in a time when gun owners are put down and generally disliked by those who do not identify with those that call themselves shooters, we should attempt to promote all aspects of marksmanship. Not only in my Olympic disciplines, but also in “real” gun shooting, hunting, and other facets of firearm handling.
Unknown Server: This fact—that different groups view life “from very different moral perspectives”—is what Greene calls the “Tragedy of Commonsense Morality.” He opens his book with a parable in which different tribes subscribing to different values can’t get along and says, “They fight not because they are fundamentally selfish but because they have incompatible visions of what a moral society should be.”
Hello Server. Thanks for your interesting comment. I haven’t yet read Joshua Greene’s book. I believe the one you are quoting from is “Moral Tribe: Emotion, Reason, and the Gap Between Us and Them”, correct? As have not yet reading his book, I certainly cannot comment fully to Greene’s beliefs, however I do believe Greene subscribes to the idea of morality as a set of psychological mechanisms that enable us to cooperate. A group decides what is morally correct and incorrect, allowing that group to agree with each other and disagree with those that oppose their set of rules or morals. I truly don’t believe the commenters I talk about in this particular blog have moral objections with my sport, but rather don’t take the time to learn about someone who has participated in their “real” gun shooting and believes it to also be rewarding and enjoyable. I also don’t believe the commenters where necessarily right or wrong, but rather hindering the development of shooting sports in general with unnecessary, derogatory remarks directed at another member of their larger “tribe” (as Greene describes) who all agree that shooting sports are enjoyable. I simply want the larger group to support their fellow members rather than bring one or another down because they don’t participate in their exact discipline.