A Moment of Poignancy

A Moment of Poignancy.

On Saturday and Sunday of this last week we hosted Steve Tarani at Artemis.  The class was Edged Weapon Defense, and based on the feedback we received from the thirty plus students that attended, it was outstanding.

Something interesting happened though at the end of class on Saturday, that I would like to talk to you about.

Many of us use our folding knives exclusively as UPS box openers.  We know instinctively that these things are weapons, but we don’t use them as weapons per se.  As a result, most of us don’t really train with our knives, or do any scholarship on bladed weapons.  So as our first day came to a close the sheer amount of knowledge that had been transferred between teach and student was amazing.

Students left Artemis with a new found excitement about their knives and their “knife fighting” skills.  Most did not notice the matriarchal woman politely sitting on our lobby couch with an old but well preserved Ruger pistol box, resting on her lap.

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I looked over and saw her patiently waiting and walked over to her.

“I’m sorry… have you been helped?”

“No, not yet… the young lady there was going to help me, but the phone rang.”

“No problem… is there something I can help you with?”

“Yes.  I was wondering if you can show me how to shoot this.”

“Hmmm… well, let’s take a look at what you have there.”

I opened the box and found an old Ruger .22 target pistol.

“Wow… where did you get this?”

She looked at me and I saw her face flush.  Her eyes began to well with tears and she slow struggled to speak.

“It was my husbands.  He past away.  He was really good, and I am all alone now.  I have no way of protecting myself.  So… I need to learn how to shoot.”

I reached out and placed my hand on her shoulder.

“How long ago did you husband pass?”

“It’s been a little over a month.”

“I am so sorry…. yes of course we can help you learn to shoot that gun.”

“This might sound strange… I’m not a gun person… but I really want to do this, I don’t know… I just think it will make me feel more connected to him.”

“Of course.  That is completely understandable.”

We tend to bifurcate our training into two separate camps.  We are either training for defensive needs, or we are training for recreational enjoyment.

There are other more nuanced reasons as well.

Sometimes the desire to train is the desire to stay connected to someone how has gone.

Intuitively we know this.  We have all seen the mountain cabin that sports great grandpa’s rifle over the fireplace.  Or the prized shotgun that Uncle Jack used to use at trap.  Sometimes though the connection is more… well… close.

This woman who was still coping with the loss of her partner was looking for some way of staying close to her husband.  She was desperate.  Obviously shooting her husbands competition pistol held to rational pathway towards his resurrection.  Still, that simple act of going to the range and firing “his” gun, she hoped would keep his memory alive.

From a “defensive” standpoint her use of a .22 for home defense was perhaps ill advised.  That really does not matter.  The gun will protect her.  Just as her husband had protected her thought the years.

Sometimes a gun really is more than “just a gun.”

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