“Holy shit!” I broke into uncontrollable cackles, after I’d fired off 2 rounds. “I get why you do this!”
I was shooting a gun for the first time, a dainty .22 pistol, at this anything goes backwoods outdoor range and had managed to decimate one of the many cans of orange soda we’d procured at the dollar store for just this purpose.
It was fun, but even more surprising to me, I was turned on.
I brought this up to Skyspook on the ride home, my arousal when pulling the trigger, feeling the slight recoil, and watching the destruction of our targets, simultaneously confusing and wonderful. Skyspook assured me that this is a relatively common reaction to shooting.
“I wonder why that is,” I said.
“It’s probably the power,” he replied.
“Huh. I wonder if Domming is like that.”
“Kinda,” he said. Then after a bit of a pause, “Yeah, actually. It’s a very similar feeling.”
And now I get it.
I have been anti-gun for as long as I can remember. Though I have hunters in my extended family, my only meaningful experience with guns had been as part of drug culture, something my dealer boyfriend or one of his friends would take with them, which would signal to me that something anxiety-provoking was about to happen, that he was expecting trouble, that he might not come home. On one occasion, an idiot acquaintance, high as could be, pointed an unloaded one at me that he was selling to my roommate. It was brief, and he was chewed out for this stunt by everyone present, but any sort of distaste I had before for firearms was intensified exponentially by the sheer terror of being on that side of the barrel.
Skyspook has been talking about getting a piece or two for home defense and using at the range. I bristled at the initial mention many months ago, explained my negative history with guns, my concerns. He suggested going to the range with a friend of his, an old fraternity brother who was a gun enthusiast, quite into military history and historic pieces. The best antidote to fear is knowledge, experience. And yesterday I had that opportunity, faced my fear, and found a new joy.
Which is not to say I’m going to become a gun nut any time soon or start basing the bulk of my political decisions on my Second Amendment rights. But I am no longer afraid of guns. I see them not as some magical beast that jumps out and kills people, but as a machine with great lethal properties if not properly respected (not unlike a car), and that makes all the difference.
“I could get used to this,” I said to myself, shivering with excitement at the smell of gunpowder.
I suppose that’s the whole idea.