Kiss Kiss Bang Bang (A Father’s Day at the Shooting Range)

23 Jun

photo from sodapop.com

On Father’s Day this year, we went shooting.

It was an unusual day, as far as Father’s Day celebrations go. In other years, the riskiest behavior we allowed ourselves to indulge in simply involved a lot of gluttonous eating, a test of our arteries’ endurance and cholesterol levels. This year, however, we found ourselves exploring a different experience. It was, by all definitions, a stretch of my imagination. Shooting? Me? Who would have thought?

If you really knew where I came from, though, I suppose it’s not such an unimaginable thing. After all, my grandfather was a self-taught sharpshooter who honed his skills during World War II. His American friends called him Billy the Kid and immediately recognized his valuable contributions to the underground resistance. After the war, he joined the ranks of Manila’s Finest. Tatay also became part of the 1964 Philippine Olympic team in shooting, participating in the men’s free pistol division. Lack of funds and official training (I heard that he practiced only on cans before the Olympics) did cost him a berth in the medals ranking. Despite his lackluster performance, we were always proud that this poor, humble policeman (who could not even buy his own gun) possessed skills that landed him in Tokyo that year. Towards the end of his life, some of his amazing feats would be further exploited into a little-known but highly exaggerated Sonny Parsons movie, “The Fastest Gun Alive.” No wonder, then, that his love for guns and for the sport became part of my family’s history, passed on to my dad, and later on, to my brother.

Me? I don’t like guns. Not even the pink ones. Never have. Never will. But Alex has always expressed a curious interest in them and my husband, though not an avid lover of the sport, can definitely hold his own when it comes to this particular skill set. (My grandfather and dad used to bring him along to the shooting range.) It was decided, then, that on Father’s Day this year, my brother and A would celebrate their day at the shooting range. My brother would bring along his wife and daughter; Alex and I would tag along as guests. Below are some pictures of our day at the range:

The family that shoots together is a scary family, hehe.

Alex gets detailed instructions on safety from my brother.

Alex tries his hand on the gun with a series of dry firing. Later on, he gets to shoot with bullets.

Alex’s first three shots- not bad for a newbie

Kittymama’s turn

A (left of picture) and my brother inside the gun range

I would be the last to say I enjoyed the experience. Gunshots are startlingly loud even with noise-blocking headphones/earplugs, and my whole body  flinched at each firing. Gun recoil was also unexpectedly strong, causing my shoulders and neck to hurt a bit. Moreover, shooting requires so much  decisive consciousness, mindfulness, and discipline at every step that it was difficult for a first-timer to even think of accuracy and precision. (Yeah, I sucked, but Alex did well.) Though we were supervised at all times by my brother and an on-site range officer, we found it quite stressful to always have to be conscious of every single movement we made.

What Alex and I did end up with is a newfound respect for the sport and for anyone who can wield such a devastating weapon with discipline, control, and restraint. We learned the enormous and sobering responsibilities of gun ownership. It’s definitely NOT for the fainthearted or for the reckless. Even Alex, with his videogame destroy-and-pillage tendencies, honestly admits that he needs more emotional maturity before he will attempt to join another shooting practice.

I don’t think I inherited Tatay’s genes and his amazing skills. Give me something easy any day, like a Taser or a pepper spray.  But after this first experience, I won’t refuse spending an afternoon or two at the range anymore. After all, the spaghetti I had in the adjoining restaurant was really good.

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One Response to “Kiss Kiss Bang Bang (A Father’s Day at the Shooting Range)”

  1. Just A Friend June 28, 2011 at 1:17 pm #

    Wow, Kitymama is deadly… LOL

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