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Gunfire Erupts Outside My House Every Single Day and I’m Terrified

It happens when my children are outside playing, while I’m mowing the yard, and even when I walk out to check the mail. The unmistakable sound of gunfire, often in rapid succession, provides the cadence to which I have grown accustomed to life in my neighborhood. Now, if you are thinking I might be mistaken as surely it couldn’t be let me inform you that I am a United States Marine Veteran of Iraq and I will never forget the sound of rifle fire until the day that I die. But let’s get to why this particular fire terrifies me. You see, I don’t live in a gang infested neighborhood or your typical Syrian village these days. I live in a nice neighborhood in a Western state about a half mile from an outdoor gun range nestled along a river in the mountains. I know, Merica right?

The Sound of Gunfire

I can remember our first few days in Iraq in 2003 when gunfire would erupt nightly throughout the city of Al Kut. For the most part, they were not shooting at us but since this was right after the fall of Saddam Hussein it was apparently get back at anyone who ever did you wrong month in Iraq. Initially when the sound of gunfire and explosions rang out we perked up and stood alert in preparation for anything that may come our way. But after the first week, when something exploded and tracer rounds dotted the night sky we didn’t even bother to stop playing cards, reading a book, or awake from our slumber.
The truth is that guns are all about context which is a point often lost on the portion of America that would seek to restrict them. I don’t make light of what persons who live on the South side of Chicago, for example, might experience on a daily basis as survival is often in question. But I doubt they hear as many shots ring out on a daily basis as I do. For me, it is a frequent procession throughout the day from dawn to dusk. But the context tells me that I have nothing to worry about and more so that I have every reason to be encouraged.

The Sound of Proficiency

One might think that the sound of gunfire echoing off the mountain each day would be quite annoying after a while. But honestly, for me it is nostalgic as it reminds me of days on base where you could hear the sound of your military becoming a little more mighty each day. There are individuals with guns of whom we indeed need to worry but my guess is that the men and women firing down on that range each day are not one of them. They have devoted time, money, and ammunition to ensure that they are well versed in their weapon of choice.
These people will not be the ones to experience a negligent discharge in your local supermarket and they will not be the ones to close their eyes and spray the public with friendly fire should they ever have to use their gun. These are the people who give the 2nd Amendment the good reputation it deserves. There will forever be a gun debate in America between those who don’t believe the 2nd to be a lesser amendment and those who treat it like was a typo of the founding fathers. The more people we have in the in the camp of the proficient, the less ammunition we give to the latter camp.

The Sound of Terror

Lastly, I’ll tell you why it terrifies me. Each morning when those shots ring out in the crisp cool air, I realize that someone is getting better at their craft than I am. I believe all the persons you would typically find at a gun range are a good sort of American seeking to preserve freedom and liberty. However, I can’t dismiss the idea that a hooligan or two is trying to recreate the Bank Robbery scene from the 1995 movie Heat. Seriously, go check it out if you haven’t seen it.
You see, more than just wanting the rest of America to be proficient with their firearms, even as a US Marine I recognize that it is a skill that must be maintained. I don’t make it to the range as often as I would like and those shots I hear everyday remind me of my declining skill and the increasing of others. If you carry a weapon and don’t train then you run the risk of becoming, “that guy.” Namely, the guy who talks the talk but we all hope never actually has to walk the walk. In the military we would lovably call you “Carl”, but for the rest of society I’ll just refer to you as “that guy.”

Guns are all about context and the same weapon can exist in a single room in possession of two very different people with very different outcomes. When a shot rings out in Chicago it carries a very different meaning than a similar sounding shot in the mountains of the West. And when the trigger is gently squeezed by a person who trains it often has a very different result than for those who do not. When your gun is in your hand it should be respect and not nerves that take over. And literally as if to drive the point home, it must be rapid fire day at the range this very moment. So I’m going to wrap this article up, head down to the range myself, and see if I can’t join in this heavenly choir of freedom gracing the air today.

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Gunfighting: a hostile encounter in which antagonists with guns shoot at each other
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