Books and Covers.
We are all subject to our prejudices. This is part of the human condition, and though we attribute negativity to it, the reality is that we are creatures of categorization. That is how we perceive our world. To deny this, would be to deny our own humanity and make a constructive farce of the human condition.
True… when we categorize, we tend to do it via an adherence to the negative. Rarely do you hear…
“Oh, figures… she is Ethiopian… of course she is beautiful.”
“He is a video gamer… his ability to overcome tough obstacles is obvious.”
“What do you expect… she is a redhead… you know that redheads are natural leaders.”
Quite the contrary.
Our stereotypes tend to focus on the negative, and even when positive traits are highlighted, it is usually in the passive aggressive format of “yeah, they are like that… but it is “that” that makes them so annoying.”
The same is true in the gun world. It is unfortunate… but it is true.
The Curio and Relic collector feels that they are the only true aficionado of the “gun”. Their understanding of complicated and rare actions and calibers is the entry pass to the “club of the gun”. They are our historians, and thus our experts. We are as necessary to them, as the audience is necessary to the performer. We are there to adulate… beyond that nothing more is wanted nor needed.
The Hunter sees the weapon as a tool. A means to an end… and not the only means to an end to be sure. An old weapon is just that, an old weapon. A new weapon has no more glamor or interest then a new backpack, or skinning knife. They look at the Curio and Relic collector with complete bafflement. What is so “special” about a particular type of gun? Sure… if it were owned and used by someone famous, then of course… but beyond that, really?
Then, there are the “Urban Ninjas”. The hardened “Warriors of Steel” (and sometimes hardened “fat”) that scarf up the black scary rifles with the argument “I’m buying one before they tell me I can’t”… and this might be true… but, it is also a good excuse to buy one.
In general, these camps tend to stay apart… because there are preset ideas on who they are… what motivates them… and the value they bring to the conversation.
This can also translate to the individual.
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Last week, I had a woman in our CCW class, that caused me initial concern. I saw from her client profile, that she was over eighty years old, and the firearms she was putting on her CCW were exclusively revolvers.
“Oh boy” I thought.
I pretty much had established a prejudicial portrait of this woman before she ever walked in the door: Limited weapons experience, an older lady was looking to get a CCW for protection, and the reason she had revolvers were exclusively based on the recommendations of her son, (or daughter) or the recommendation of a gun store clerk.
Her age not withstanding, she would be a difficult client to work through the process.
This pre-class assessment was not done in a vacuum. I have had other students that fit the same basic profile, so I had some empirical evidence to support my pre-established conclusions.
The day of the class, this charming matronly woman came into our lobby. Physically she looked pretty much as I expected her too. A grandmotherly air… “delicate” is not the word… perhaps “polished” would be a better descriptive.
Regardless, she had a simply delightful southern drawl developed from what I later learned, were her years growing up and living in West Virginia before moving to Southern California.
I asked her why she chose revolvers.
“Because that is what I shoot.” Was her simple reply.
During the class, she was attentive and asked pointed questions that clearly showed she was grasping the philosophical concepts associated with the use of deadly force. When we discussed the legal implications, she instantly pointed out the logical inconsistencies associated with California gun laws… and in an extremely dignified manner, voiced her displeasure with them.
Then it was out to the range.
She was one of the first students to gear up. Some students struggled with their holsters and mag pouches, she was was not one of them. Her gear was simple, but she donned it quickly and efficiently.
My first indication that something was up should have been, when I noticed her custom ear protection. This was perhaps, not her first rodeo.
On the first command of “gun!” She quickly drew her double action revolver and delivered five quick shots high center mass to the target. Without me asking her too, she instantly flipped the open action over, dumped the spent casings, grabbed a speed loader and went to work quickly and efficiently reloading. When she was done, the empty speed loader fell to the ground as she made her way back to the holster.
“Remember to scan.” Was the only thing I could say to the students standing on the line.
She looked back at me and gave me a quick nod.
Again I yelled “Gun!”
Her speed to contact was lightning fast. Five quick shots, and then another perfect reload.
Next, it was a Mozambique drill.
Again blazing fast speed to contact… two rapid shots center mass, then a shot to the head.
When it was all over… I went down range and looked at her target. A silver dollar could have easily covered all the holes in the center mass part of the paper and her head shot was exactly at the bridge of the nose.
“You’ve shot before”
“Yep… did you think that because I was an old lady with a revolver I hadn’t?” She said with a sly smile.
“My dear,… you have taken advantage of me.”
“That is the secret to my defense sir.”
We all have prejudicial opinions of others. That is part of what creates the social construct of society… and contrary to what many think, that is not necessarily a bad thing. It helps us categorize, make decisions… and frankly most of the time we are usually correct in our assumptions. If we are consistently wrong, then our prejudices must be altered for they offer us little value.
Yet, we must never forget that people are just that… people. They come before us with a lifetime of experiences that we are completely unaware of. Hiding in the folds of a personal history might be some unbelievable weapons training.
You have been warned:
Beware of the bad ass grandma!