Daily Prompt: Beyond the Pale| Ready, Aim, Fire!

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That’s me in the blue shirt.

I smiled when I saw the topic for January 4th’s Daily Prompt: When was the last time you did something completely new and out of your element? How was it? Will you do it again?

The shooting range near the Joshua Tree campground is about 30 min away from the national park itself. Green shrubs and rocks litter the area. (Green shrubs in the desert? Surprising). A power station rose a few meters into the air. It was so ugly out there in that part of the desert I didn’t bother pulling out my camera. Then we heard it.

Several shots rang out into the sky and bounced off the small hills, the sound jumping towards us in the last instant. The noise was weak by the time it got to us. We planned to enjoy this, since we had lost our way over to the range.

My friends and I wandered past the pickups and SUVs until we came to a wide clearing. It was close to noon and the sun was relentless, covering everything. Tables contained rifles, pistols and shotguns of varying sizes and shapes.  Ammunition lay next to the weapons.

“Have you taken the gun safety test yet?” No, I hadn’t. But could I? “Sure!” Once I had repeated the basic safety rules, only shoot past the safety line in front of the tables, keep the safety on the gun until you’re ready to shoot and never point the gun towards my fellow shooters, I lined up with the rest of them and gave it a try.

Control was a key part of the exercise. I practiced keeping my arm steady and resting my chin on the stock, which was a challenge if I wanted to reload the ammo fast. I also learned to adjust until I could see a clear picture of my target. It was exciting when I hit the first few targets and helped my team shoot the other team’s targets down first. I tended to make my shot when I wasn’t super concentrated on what I was doing. At the same time, if I made two or three in a row, I’d mess up the next one if I got too cocky.

Shooting for the first time last November was a fun experience. I wish I had gotten to try the pistols and the bulky airsoft guns. The people were friendly and the men who taught me how to shoot helped me become better and more confident.

I’ve never had the desire to shoot animals and I didn’t think I would be shooting on this trip. But when people asked me if I wanted to shoot, I decided I should at least give it a try.

I’m so glad I did. Next time: bigger rifles and pistols!

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2 thoughts on “Daily Prompt: Beyond the Pale| Ready, Aim, Fire!”

  1. Well, I’m glad you tried something new, I’m all for it. Not sure I’d be brave enough to try shooting, certainly not at animals. I had an uncle who hunted and sometimes we’d get wild game jerky from him. That’s the extent of my experience with guns, pretty much. 🙂

    1. Homemade jerky…mmmm! You should try shooting sometime and then you can make your own jerky. 🙂 It’s funny because I’ve grown up in small towns and the people there live for hunting. But hunting game does not interest me one bit!

      Jennifer Jopson Literary Journalism Major UCI Hospitality and Dining Services

      Rotaract Club of UCI

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