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Power!

Power!

A Good Kind.

Entire volumes have been written about men’s desire for power over other men. Usually the result of someone gaining such power is negative. There is that old saying, “Absolute power corrupts absolutely.” I hope a quest for power has never been part of my personality. I’ve usually been quite happy just to go my own way, or perhaps better said, to live and let live.

However, in the last few years I’ve come to realize I do possess power. I have power mostly over teenage boys but also to a lesser degree over some girls. I have the power to get them to fetch things for me, to help me carry stuff, even walk my dog. Most importantly I have the power to get them to listen to what I have to say.

What I have is machine gun power. That’s not power from fear of full-autos but the power that arises from young people’s desire to shoot my machine guns. Promise a teenage boy who usually is focused on doing as he pleases, that by lending a hand he will be able to shoot your machine gun, and you will have his full attention.
This I learned early on after taking possession of my first couple of World War II vintage submachine guns. Some friends have their own private range where occasionally they put on invitational BPCR Silhouette matches. It’s a weekend event with camping at the range and a picnic atmosphere with kids, dogs, bikes, and ATVs. The first time I took along my sub-guns the idea was to let some of the competitors have a try with them after the match. However, when I turned loose the first burst from one, parents from all over the range area later told me that their kids stopped in their tracks and collectively said, “What was that?” Then they dropped what they were doing and hot-footed towards the firing line.

As things worked out, very few of the competitors got to fire my Thompson or German MP40 that weekend. The kids crowded them out!  Almost all of them had their photos taken while shooting so they could have bragging rights with other kids. And every single one of them had a huge grin on their face after their turn.

Right here I want to stress that I have let none of the young people shoot the guns without their parents’ consent. Also I’ve insisted they wear eye and ear protection. Furthermore I hover in easy reach and prefer to have another adult to their right and slightly back just in case. So far, not once, never, has one of the kids done a single dangerous thing. All seem to have intuitive respect for what is in their hands.

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