Respect and the Gun
Two months ago I decided it would be wise to take my acting group to the Los Angeles Indoor Gun Range after the New Year so that we actor's could get a real feel for the weight, power and influence of the gun.
Half the roles on televison are on cop shows, or lawyer shows, or sci-fi shows; all of which involve the usage of guns, albeit pretend guns, based in real-life situations.
And the significance we actors are responsible for projecting into the usage of guns needs to be very real.
Then the Tuscon, Arizona shooting took place on January 8, 2011. Why do we keep having to relearn the same lessons over and over and over again?
What does a gunshot actually sound like? What does a gun feel like in my hand? How heavy is it? How are you supposed to hold a gun? Stand with it? What does it smell like once you've fired it?
What does a gun smell like after it is fired? How does it feel to fire a gun? Will I even like it? What will I feel like after I've fired a gun?
By actually going to a gun range to answer these questions so that the next time I audition for NCIS, or CSI, or L&O, I will know the answers and be able to truthfully ACT them, I have also now educated myself more on the power and control that this nation is arguing over when it comes to guns.
Ironically, the only day my friends and I were free to go was Monday, January 17th, 2011; also known as Martin Luther King Jr. Day. It was a holiday. People are off work.
I concluded that our 'outing' was an active way of facing something Martin Luther King Jr. would have wanted us to face, our fears. Know and understand what it is you fear, so that you can cease to fear it.
Here are my answers :
A gun is LOUD. I mean, LOUD. A (hand) gun is so loud that I don't know how half the police force in this country isn't deaf already. It literally sounds like a single Macy's firework is exploding right next to your ear.
My friends and I shot three different kinds of hand guns; a 9MM Glock, a Kimber .45, and a 357 Magnum. All popular hand guns in the movie/television world. They are light, heavy and slim respectively.
I screamed the first time I fired. It was with the Kimber. My scream was automatic. I was terrified. And so happy I was not on the other side with the bullets.
There were other shooters in the range. Everyone has their own lane, like in a bowling alley. The force and vibrations of the gunshots were so strong I think my sinuses got cleared up in the process. I'm not joking.
The shells of the bullets fly out as you are firing. One of them even popped out and burned my right forearm. And it's really crucial where your thumbs are when you hold a gun. Your knees and elbows can't be locked.
And you need your abdominal muscles. Yes, you do.
At first I was scared. "I don't think I like this," my friend Alexa said, who was done after two rounds.
"Me neither," I responded. But it is amazing how quickly the body adapts.
After the first round I realized that the muscles in my hands had already memorized how they were suppoed to hold the gun, load the gun, and release the gun. My hands smelled like steel and had random black markings on them.
It was already second nature to have my forefinger pointed straight out, parallel to the trigger, until ready to fire. And the gunshots around me? White noise.
The kickback or recoil is strong. It's not easy to aim. I don't know how people do it. My friend Phil could take out someone's spleen apparently (according to our individual target charts), while it seems like I could only pierce a guy's ear.
Personally, I have no desire to go gun shooting on a daily basis. Nor do I feel the need to own one in my own home.
But most importantly, I realized after having this experience that I can not imagine, ever having the need to point a gun at another human being. EVER.
I learned how important it is to respect the gun. And I think that is the bigger issue which brings me to the uncanny timing of this outing. Tuscon. Guns. People.
The casualness involved in attaining guns and ammunition in this country lessens the respect we have towards the power in our hands (guns) and of the human lives at risk. Point blank.
Michael Moore was interviewed on the Rachel Maddow show that same night. He referenced his documentary film, Bowling for Columbine. Do you realize it's been over ten years since that happened?! Moore talked about the differences in gun control/regulation in Canada as opposed to the US.
The biggest difference I could tell? Respect. Canadians respect the privilege of owning a gun and the power that comes with it.
But this is my other fear. Drugs are illegal. And look what people will do in order to attain them regardless. If guns become illegal, what are some of the things people will do in their desperation to attain one?