Friday, August 21, 2009

Why A Pacifist Learned How to Use a Gun

~Growing up, I was very anti-guns, anti-weapons, anti-hunting. I grew up attending a Mennonite Brethren church and continue to attend one to this day . . . I am a member of the denomination. I am also culturally Mennonite, my parents both of German-Mennonite heritage. I attended a Mennonite Brethren college after high school (for 3 years), and one of my favorite classes was "Anabaptist Distinctives" (or something like that, I'm not sure of the exact name of the class--all I know is that it was interesting and informative, taught by one of my favorite profs, and had something to do with Menno Simons' influence on the formation of the MB denomination).
~My husband is also Mennonite. However, he is more Mennonite in heritage than he is in his upbringing. He attended an Alliance church. He now holds a membership in a Mennonite Brethren church and this is the denomination we currently raise our children in.
~One of the things that sets the Mennonite Brethren denomination apart from other denominations is that members are Anabaptist peace-makers who do not take up arms. Mennonites are pacifists. While I am not interested in the opinion of my readers and their interpretation of what all of that means while trying to live a Christian life in the world as it is today, I felt it necessary to provide a bit of my religious background and how it influenced my worldview as I get to the main topic of this post.
~Growing up, we did not have any firearms in our home. We lived in town. My dad was not a hunter. Guns were not even really discussed in our home. I just somehow formulated my own opinion of guns and never dreamed I'd ever own one, let alone use one. And I was glad that my dad did not hunt. I am an animal lover, and killing for the sake of "sport" just did not sit well with me. I could not watch the animated Disney movie Bambi without crying my eyes out.
~However, upon meeting my husband, it became very clear to me that if we were to marry, guns would be part of the equation. My husband enjoys hunting. He is a very "let's-get-back-to-nature" kind of guy. If he had his way, we would be situated up north, away from all civilization, "living off the land". But alas, we don't. I am grateful for this fact, because I need people in my life, not just nature.
~Through the vast knowledge my husband has in the area of game hunting and the like, I now have a better understanding of the purposes of hunting, and while I still don't like it, I can appreciate my husband's desire to hunt. Hunting is a hobby of his, and it serves a purpose of supplying food (for those individuals who enjoy wild game--I don't, but that's another story for another post) and keeping certain animal populations down.
~Obviously, my boys have been influenced by their father and they too wish to "hunt". But it almost seems like it was instinctive . . . they were playing "hunting" long before they had been brainwashed by my husband. Oops . . . did I say brainwashed? I mean, influenced. In any case, they now are anxiously awaiting the day when they can go hunting with their dad. And whether I like it or not, it's going to happen someday.
~So, getting on with this post . . . up until recently I had never touched a gun. We've lived on our acreage for two-and-a-half years and Wayne has tried to encourage me to learn how to use a gun, just in case a wild animal needs to be dealt with while he's at work. I really didn't want to learn how to use a gun, but the sensible, practical part of me finally gave in to his persistence and this summer I decided to learn how to load, aim and shoot a .22 calibre rifle so that I would have a line of defense in the event that I need to kill a skunk, coyote, porcupine, etc. if they come onto the yard, threatening the boys or our dogs and Wayne isn't home to deal with it. Honestly, I hope I never have to put my knowledge of this into practice for that purpose, but because of this training, I now love to shoot at targets.
~My husband's dream came true the day I told him that I wanted to go out to our shooting range just to shoot for fun. He and the boys were so excited about this it wasn't even funny. And I honestly do not know why I find it so enjoyable, I just do. I don't enjoy loading the gun . . . I just like shooting at the target, whatever it may be. My best shot came when I attempted to shoot a golf ball from about 25 yards (75 feet) and I hit it on the second shot. Wayne hasn't even been able to accomplish that, and he's been shooting for years. He's quite proud of the fact that his wife can do this. I hope he doesn't ask me to do it again . . . I'm sure it was just beginner's luck.
~So, I've been wishing for a family ring for quite some time . . . but now Wayne wants to buy me my own gun instead. Go figure. He keeps flipping through the Cabella's catalog pointing out guns that he thinks I'd like; we take frequent trips to Wholesale Sports to check out guns. I'd rather go ring shopping. But it's cute to see him and the boys so excited about my interest in shooting.
~I truly hope that I never have to use a gun on a living thing. However, I do like shooting inanimate objects. A lot. And I now find myself watching television shows like Predator Quest and Shooting USA's Impossible Shots with my husband and sons. Funny how things change. Twenty years ago I thought I'd be married to a yuppie, living in the suburbs and dressing my children in GAP clothing . . . not married to a redneck, living in the country and dressing my children in camo.


stacey said...

too funny! glad our husbands don't know each other-my husband is not a big hunter, but he would drag me to a remote area if he could! this is remote enough-ugh!

go kimbo!

Kim said...

great post! Kevin has taught me to load and shoot a gun as well. I got a skunk in two shots. I was actually quite proud of myself knowing that I could handle things with Kevin away. With three boys I'll be taking the hunter's safety course with at least one of them. The joys of being surrounded by boys!