Previous Post
Next Post

Crossing the threshold of self-perceived safety and uncertainty can be tough for some. Attaining your goals at a young age leaves some in a coddled, sterile environment, free of the pressures of living in our hostile, unfamiliar world. Your perception is not necessarily everyone else’s reality and sometimes you need to break out of your personal green zone to experience life from the viewpoint of those you’d never normally be found with in public. These are the kind of stranger-in-a-strange-land impressions you frequently find in media accounts of anti-gun types dishing up a bit of exposure therapy and heading to their local gun range. I normally avoid these pieces with their, “Oh my God, people are so different…and they have guns!” slant. However . . .

A young scribe from San Diego named Alex Zaragoza piqued my interest with a piece about visiting a gun range for the first time oddly called, “Getting gunshy around heavily armed children.” Good job, Alex. You got me thinking. And once I came to, I realized all that disorientation isn’t really about guns or controlling access; it’s about trust.

Alex and her friends entered an environment full of people with loaded weapons. And it took a pretty good amount of trust in strangers to be able to overcome the hoplophobia she’d been fed by anti-gun groups (and echoed by most of the media) to do that.

But she managed to step out of her safe zone and was able to see past the “cultural localization” tends to cloud our view of others. And what did she see? Normal adults – and children! – having a blast shooting their guns.

Though I wasn’t present, I’m guessing everyone present acted in a safe, mature manner while practicing with their firearms. In fact, Alex was surprised more by the need to put her trust in complete strangers than she was by the variety of folks she found who are interested in guns and shooting:

In the shooting gallery, there was a teenage boy shooting a huge semi-automatic weapon while a scrawny blond boy looked on, holding a hunting rifle. A man was firing off blast after blast of some insane-looking gun the likes of which I’ve seen only in the recent Batman movies. At any point, they could’ve turned around and started shooting up the place and we’d all be goners. It’s a realization that lingers like an odd smell: I could be shot dead by a kid who doesn’t reach as high as my nipples.

I hope Alex came away from her foray with the realization that responsible gun owners aren’t the problem; criminals are the ones who shoot people and couldn’t care less about laws that ban weapons or limit ammunition capacity. The fear that’s so evident in most anti-gun rants is really about trusting strangers, isn’t it? Cops carry guns and no one complains them; LEOs are our friends and we trust them with our security. It’s the stranger with a gun that scares people most.

Previous Post
Next Post


  1. I could be shot dead by a kid who doesn’t reach as high as my nipples.

    And if he did reach her nipples, she’d probably shoot him.

  2. So gun-haters won’t put their trust in strangers throwing 40 grains of metal downrange, but they’ll trust strangers driving 10,000 pounds of metal at 50mph to miss them by the twelve inches of double yellow line? I’ll tell you which scares me more.

  3. I know exactly how she feels. I get that apprehensive feeling every time I’m in a doctor’s office. I’m putting a lot of trust in the unseen lab techs that tested my blood, the radiologist that reads my X-Rays, the nurse that took my vitals, and the doctor, hoping that he at least graduated in the top half of his/her class. Remember that 50% of all doctors were in the bottom half of their graduating class. And think of the many strangers that have influence on your health, that you will never see behind the scenes. On a gun club range, I have never felt nervous about the other shooters. Maybe it’s because they have been vouched for by other members to get into the club. Public ranges? I’m a little more nervous, depends on what I see when I arrive. Is everyone being safe? Do I see alcohol anywhere? (I’ve seen it at some local yokel trap club shoots, that I don’t go to anymore.) Do I see mall Ninjas?

    • Even the last person in the class is still a doctor. The un related anti medicine rants I keep reading on this site are getting old. So you don’t trust your radiologist? He only trained for 9 years after college to read your CT scan. Medicine is a unique profession in that it continually strives for self improvement. The continued gathering of medical knowledge, development of novel techniques, and advancements in patient safety are the first priorities in medicine. Entire governmental agencies are devoted to oversight and safety. But if all this sounds like a bad idea, then by all means don’t go to the doctor. Nobody’s forcing you.

      • WOW Brett, you sure do sound like a paid spokes mouth for the medical industry!
        Yes, they are so professional, self improving and self regulating. That’s why I see ads on the television everyday for law suits against drug companies who, just a couple of years ago, spent 100s of thousands of dollars telling the public just how safe and effective their FDA approved drugs were and the doctors telling us how much we all needed them. Makes one wonder about how long it will be before we see law suit commercials for the drugs they are advertising now.
        We could talk about medical “miss – adventure”, you know, the fact that doctors kill far more people than guns do every single year; by mistake.
        Or, we could talk about what a terrible job they do when faced with an unknown illness. The doctors today, with rare exception, do not care about their patients, only their next Mercedes payment and getting kick backs from the drug companies for pushing the product.

        Most of the radical lefties who are hell bent on destroying this country have trained for 8+ years at prestigious ivy league colleges; now we face another economic disaster and we are at least 16 TRILLION DOLLARS in debt. Oh yea, all that fancy training sure paid off. Put down the kool aid and get a CLUE!

      • Hey, I’m ok with going to the doctor, just saying that there is a lot of trust involved in people I never even see (but they send me a bill for their services!) In the last 2 years, I’ve had 2 extended stays at the local hospital, and I’m happy to say I came out feeling better than when I went in. I was just making a point that there are other places besides a gun range where a lot of trust in needed that someone won’t hurt you either accidently or on purpose. This lady seems to not fear anything except gun owners. She really needs to open her eyes and realize she is surrounded by potential danger most of every day. She doesn’t see it until she is near the presense of a firearm. Then suddenly she is filled with fear of being murdered.

  4. So I am confused here, what was she expecting to find?
    Raging lunatics in cages?
    John Holmes wanna be’s shooting paper targets of school children and fuzzy bunny rabbits?
    Perhaps we are all some part of a secret society that has it’s meetings at the local gun ranges, and we have secret handshakes and the like?
    Perhaps, just perhaps, she found ordinary people doing ordinary things. Men women and children of all ages taking part in a sport. Regardless of the underlying reasons they are there. Perfectly sane and ordinary in every way. Kids having fun with parents, old men sitting around retelling stories from their history. Sure the surroundings are different, but the act of community is the same.
    If there is one thing I can say, being at a gun range is probably one of the safest places to be. Most of us are completely sane, practical people. Sure we like to make use of a tool which makes a loud bang, but it shouldn’t be shocking. We have a sense of community. We have a sense of respect for our tool that we use. We are generally kind considerate, and not what most media likes to portray us as. We are doctors, lawyers, college professors, and even police or fire fighters. We are retired, working, rich and poor. We do not discriminate, by race, creed, affluence or sexual preference. We are however united. We believe in our individual right to keep and bare arms. We believe that we are not victims and should not be made victims by our government or their legislation. We are the first responders. We are saddened by tragic losses, and understand that bad things can happen to good people. We are the people you will turn to and be thankful for if the proverbial excrement hits the oscillator. We are human and not perfect, but many strive to be better every day. In other words we are normal.

      • First off, I have to say things started off badly for me with this article, since I misread the headline as “Getting gushy around armed children”, which brings up a very different kind of image than the one actually in the article. The nipples as child measurement device was just an added bonus after that.

    • I remember being nipple-high.

      Unfortunately, this was a few years before I realized how interesting they can be… and now that they’re interesting, I’m tall enough that paying attention is conspicuous. 🙁

  5. After reading the article, I thought El Cajon must be some wild frontier town. Looking at a map, it’s just a suburban part of the San Diego metro area — probably full of soccer moms.

      • Ramon, meanwhile, shared this interesting bit: “When I asked the guy helping us if the safety was on, he held up his trigger finger and said, ‘This is your safety.’” This is how East County lives. You don’t need a safety; you are the safety. Perhaps this is why it has a bad reputation, and why a day out there is unlike a day anywhere else.

        Clueless, in so many ways.

  6. Most “commercial” ranges that I’ve been to have armed RSOs, and I always presumed that their duties include “dealing with” anyone who decides to go postal.

    • God that would be weird. There are three ranges around here, and unless you bring your own, not one has a RO, armed or otherwise. The only one I know of that has ROs is upmountain, and then only on CASS weekends.

  7. Must be hard for the poor lady to barely hide her disdain for those “hill people” over in east county…

    “This is how East County lives. You don’t need a safety; you are the safety.”… We like to call that personal responsibility out in the sticks, you’re welcome to give it a try hippie.

  8. Sounds like 4 hipsters trying to score some irony points with their friends. It’s kind of like the articles they write about their expeditions to WalMart to buy dish soap.

  9. I lost count of the number of negitive terms in that one paragraph. It’s still obvious to me who she was writing to (those voices in her head)

  10. It’s a realization that lingers like an odd smell: I could be shot dead by a kid who doesn’t reach as high as my nipples.

    At any time you could be picked off the sidewalk by a homicidal maniac driving a car. That waitress that brought your food? She could have poisoned it (Assuming the cook didn’t get to it first). Someone could decide to bash your head in with a tire iron when your back is turned, or use their shoelaces as a garrotte. Most of the time, your safety is dependent on the fact most people mean you no harm.

  11. I think this quote is appropriate here.

    ”A fear of weapons is a sign of retarded sexual and emotional maturity”
    Sigmund Freud

  12. Fear is a powerful motivator for anti-gunners.

    They fear what other people may be thinking and they try to ban what they fear.

    They have this belief that they can control human behavior and feel safe that some legal mumbo jumbo on a piece of paper will stop a criminal.

    In reality, they fear strangers. It is easy to talk about taking away others rights when you are all warm and cozy locked away from everyone else.

    Good for Alex Zaragoza in taking her nipples for a walk to see some strangers with guns and not be scared. Maybe this will change her mind about gun owners

  13. I dunno about the trust angle. Isn’t general distrust one reason to own guns in the first place, because we know it’s a mad world with plenty of mad people willing to do us harm?

    For most antis, I’d say it’s about control. But for some, this person likely included, they’re just unfortunate products of their environment. It takes a strong will to overcome one’s ingrained environment and see truth, and most people simply don’t have it.

  14. “LEOs are our friends and we trust them with our security.”

    Speak for yourself. I’m more afraid of them than I am of the criminals.

  15. “At any point, they could’ve turned around and started shooting up the place and we’d all be goners.”

    It was a life-changing realization for me sitting in class in high school, holding a sharped pencil in my hand, and realizing that there was absolutely nothing that could be done to prevent me (or anyone else) from shoving a pointy object through the jugular the person sitting at the desk next to me.

    Don’t misunderstand, it’s not that I was contemplating it or fantasizing about it or anything like that. The idea actually sickened me. It was the sudden realization of just how easy it would be to snuff out a human life. That it doesn’t require a gun, or a bomb, or some sophisticated implement.

    Human society is remarkably peaceful, when you consider how trivial it would be for us to descent into violence. On the other hand there are the occasional people who choose not to be peaceful, and we ought to be prepared for that.

  16. Note to grabbers:


    Sigh. Seriously though. Hooman Beans aren’t wired to kill each other at the drop of the hat.

  17. relax guys. i want to delve into this whole nipple issue. i have never heard that used as a measuring device and i’m still a little flummoxed by it. i mean think of what she might have said if she encountered a 4-5 yo. endless possibilities.

  18. She sees those children shooting guns and muses that the education system has failed to create more anti gun people. On top of that, where are all the police one would expect to be watching over these people with Batman movie props? And finally, how do we know these people are allowed to have these guns, after all crimes are committed by people with no business owning one, laws exist to protect us.

    Need to google her name and see if we can find a link to said nipples so we can judge for ourselves how tall those children are. Sorta like the size gauges at Disneyland.

  19. Warning: OFWG semi-rant approaching:

    I have been shooting at public and private ranges since I was about 14 years old, so call it around 50 years. I have shot in silhouette competitions, general practice, “action pistol” matches, cowboy action shoots, muzzleloading shoots, blackpowder cartridge rifle matches, long-range rifle matches, and even a few rounds of trap with a shotgun. In those same 50 years, I have attended many professional and collegiate-level football, baseball, hockey and basketball games.

    In 50 years, I have seen a fair number of fights and loud arguments in the stands and on the playing fields at many of those “sporting” ball games. In those 50 years, I have NEVER seen a fight or even a heated argument at ANY of the shooting matches or public ranges I have attended.

    I feel a LOT safer at shooting ranges than I do at public sporting events where grown men play with balls. (No pun intended.) I am much more likely to trust the “People of the Gun” than the general mass of the population.

    • Great post, Pete. Spoken like a true, patriotic American gun owner. As I am in the same age group (+/- a year or 2), and have been shooting for over 50 years, I cconcur and attest that a shooting range is not only one of THE SAFEST places to be, it is, in my humble opinion, one of the most peaceful and relaxing places as well.

  20. Anytime I need a good laugh, I just need to spend a few minutes digging through the comments on the latest article here. Good God, you guys have me laughing hysterically like a fool at my desk! Man, I love this place!

  21. If only someone at the range had a blog or newspaper column to write about the smug west coast liberals who came and rented two guns. Imagine the story line.
    “And they held them like hairdryers, yelping with fear at every shot”

  22. This woman is such a dummy and a brain washed little scaredy cat. Jumping on the anit-gun band wagon but doing it in a “guns are weird and scary” kind of approach (wow, you’re really pushing journalistic boundaries here lady). What an as_shole she is.

    She recently quipped on her Twitter machine “I’ve been wine drunk like 90% of this trip. Which is an increase from my regular 85%. ” and “Last day in Northern California. I think my liver is fully marinated in wine by now”. I’d be more worried that someone like you would jump in a car and promptly kill someone on oncoming traffic!

    She is so worried about “kids no older than 12 holding guns” but likely is ignorant to the recent WHO report “Alcohol causes nearly 4 percent of deaths worldwide, more than AIDS, tuberculosis or violence”. She’s doing such a public service for the rest of us with her witty little Op-Ed about guns, all the while she glorifies alcohol abuse like it’s cute.

    Don’t get me wrong, I like a drink as much as the next red-blooded American but I can’t help wonder if this dummy has any right to warn anyone about danger of guns while bragging about her alcohol abuse on Twitter.

    Ewww, strangers with guns scare me and they’re all weird and stuff but I ignore that hundreds of thousands of armed police and military carry guns everyday to protect my first amendment right to freedom of speech- but just ignore the 2nd one!

    Maybe you should get a handle on the alcohol problem before you start ragging on “scrawny blond boy” and “teenage boy shooting a huge semi-automatic weapon”, “they could’ve turned around and started shooting up the place and we’d all be goners”.

    And another thing, learn about guns BEFORE you start writing about them. Glocks have the safety in the trigger- it’s disengaged by your trigger finger. Jerk!

Comments are closed.