Monday, December 5, 2011

Shooting and the Internet

            This trip was possibly the most interesting one that I did for this blog.  I went shooting with a group of people that I met online out at Pelican Point on the west side of Utah Lake.  Here was a group of us who had never met before, who met up in a Wal-Mart parking lot, yelled crazy names out to ID each other and headed down the road to a stretch of BLM land to put some holes in stuff.
            The crazy names were usually things like Blackhawk, monkeyman, DesrtRat or UT33345.  (Any misspelling intentional)  These were the screen names that we use on the internet forum that we met on.  It is a forum for preparedness and outdoor activities, and we saw that other areas had met up in person, so we thought, ‘Why not? Let’s do it.’ 
            Of course, I probably shouldn’t have gone, because I had a concussion, and shooting a 12 gauge shotgun didn’t do anything to help me heal.  In fact, I think I made it worse.  But I had fun, plinking away with my little .22 rifle, and getting to shoot others guns as they were willing to share.  The only gun that wasn’t shared was one gentleman’s .45 pistol, because it was his baby.  Ammo for that gun is pricy as well so I don’t blame him.
            One thing that made me quite sad was the trash.  Many people who shoot are very aware of the land and its needs.  They will clean up after themselves, policing their brass and retrieving any used targets.  Policing Brass is a term for picking up the used, ejected metal casings from the bullets you shot.  Some people with the right equipment will reuse the brass by reloading them.  Others will properly dispose of the brass in the trash at home or will recycle it at the right place. 
But other people don’t care.  They will leave the mess they made behind.  Many bring junk to shoot up and then leave the bullet riddled pieces behind with other pieces of trash.  I saw people who had been shooting glass bottles, old TV’s, and other junk.  One of the men I was with saw some people at that location shooting trash, and caused a wild fire because of a ricochet.  One fool, who didn’t follow basic shooting rules, started a fire.  What else could happen?
It was interesting the type of people who were out at the site.  I saw groups of buddies, some with nice pricy guns, and others with some that looked like they shouldn’t be working.  Some of the people were city folks with nice cars and clothes, and others had rusted out pickups and acted like rednecks, whooping and hollering as they shot a gun as fast as they could.  They were couples were the guy was teaching the girl to shoot, and families teaching children.  It was obvious to see those who had real firearms safety education and those who wanted to just do as they wished.
I also thought about us.  Here we were, a group of random strangers, who met online, where it is usually known that no one really does anything, and we met up in real life to have real experiences with real people.  Since that day, more of us have met up, in coffee shops, or the range again, and are now working to be an official group based out of Utah for the website.  I will be heading off now and then the grab a burger with the guys from the site so we can plan a service project to help our community.  It all started with a group of people with common interest in Missouri, who put together a website, and are now changing how many of us look at life and use the internet.
The power of words, written on a keyboard somewhere else in the world, shared with others, is truly amazing.  I hope that I can continually be able to learn and grow from this group of peers, and we can use the internet to build our community and help each other to appreciate the outdoors a bit more.

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