Perhaps my stark terror will be of use to someone
June 23, 2017 3:03 PM   Subscribe

I have decided that I want to learn to hunt deer. Unfortunately, this involves firearms. I am a liberal. I am a liberal to the nth degree. Also, I'm a little scared of my Dremel, for god's sake. Okay. Well, I have always said that I had no problem with people using guns to hunt. Let's see if I was telling the truth or not. Ursula Vernon [perennially beloved of mefi] learns something new and manages to only slightly traumatize the owner of the local gun shop in the process.
posted by sciatrix (94 comments total) 33 users marked this as a favorite
 
I feel like she should've made a list of things she needed to get beforehand, rather than frantically texting friends while she's in the store. But maybe that's just me.
posted by limeonaire at 3:16 PM on June 23 [5 favorites]


To be fair, a Dremel can be dangerous. If you use a cutting wheel on one it can occasionally shatter. The wheel can spin up to 30,000 RPM. A piece of the wheel can take out your eye if you don't wear protection.

Dremels, and guns, take a lot of common sense to use. Which strangely enough, is not very common.
posted by Splunge at 3:16 PM on June 23 [12 favorites]


and Vending Machines. 444 people were killed trying to get a snack from a vending machine from 1978 to 2015. That's an average of 12.08 deaths a year, making this cause of death WAY more likely than shark attacks.
posted by shockingbluamp at 3:24 PM on June 23 [10 favorites]


I'd have thought she'd at least be opposed to hunting wombats.
posted by oneswellfoop at 3:26 PM on June 23 [2 favorites]


THANK YOU I am giggling like a loon and I really, really needed that today.

Also I have been seriously thinking of learning gun... things... although I'd have substantial more hassles, as I live in a very urban area of California and am pretty damn sure the the local laws aren't "erm, just don't point it at anyone when you pull the trigger."
posted by ErisLordFreedom at 3:28 PM on June 23 [3 favorites]


I've thought about getting a .22 for target shooting. There was a rifle range at the sleepaway camp I went to as a kid, and I remember being pretty good at it.

But I, too, live in urban California, and I've heard people complain about the crazy gun nuts who hang out at the gun ranges here. One friend said, more or less, "yeah, I have a gun, but I don't really want to spend any time with those people."

Also, I have a history of mental health issues, and I've always been sort of scared of owning a gun for that reason alone. I wish there were some way to store it wherever the targets are -- I mean, it's not like I want it outside of a target range anyway.

I hope there's a followup to this. I'd be interested to know how her experience with hunting goes. Eventually.
posted by shapes that haunt the dusk at 3:33 PM on June 23 [4 favorites]


[Hey folks, it's an interesting article but we've already got one thread discussing general feelings about gun ownership in the US so maybe don't make this a general "My gun feelings let me show them to you" thread if you'd like this to stick around?]
posted by jessamyn at 3:39 PM on June 23 [2 favorites]


I'm a little peeved by her using the fact that she's a "liberal" as if no one left of the John Birch society should know how to use guns. My father was taught about guns by his grandfather, who was a union member and lifelong Democrat in Kansas. And my father taught me both leftist values as well as how to shoot things. At the end of the day, it's a lot more about urban/rural culture. Admittedly, that classification tracks pretty well with political alignment, but she could've easily positioned it as being a "city person".

Anyways, not a big deal, and I wouldn't have mentioned it except she made it into a theme which was very dissonant to me.
posted by TypographicalError at 3:40 PM on June 23 [45 favorites]


I always said (after a few stories of utterly clueless weekend warrior hunters) that there should be a test and after that the guy could go out with anything and hunt anything (legal). That is he should make his first kill a bear but with only a big Bowie knife. That should filter the herd.
posted by sammyo at 3:40 PM on June 23 [1 favorite]


I wish there were some way to store it wherever the targets are -- I mean, it's not like I want it outside of a target range anyway.

This is a thing in other countries and maybe at ranges where you are. You should certainly feel free to ask the management about the same.

I've heard people complain about the crazy gun nuts who hang out at the gun ranges here.

Sadly this does happen to be true more often than it should perhaps. There are certainly ways around it, I'd guess first among them would be looking for groups like Pink Pistols or The Liberal Gun Club (not that I have personal experience with either) and seeing where that takes you.
posted by RolandOfEld at 3:41 PM on June 23 [6 favorites]


Probably the single biggest deterrent to me buying a gun has been gun stores.

I grew up with guns in the house. I was a campus cop (well, sorta) with firearms training. And I was in the military. I like going to the range and shooting. It's not the guns themselves I have a problem with.

But I get into the store and it's crazypants posters everywhere and honestly the last time I was in a gun store it took less than 60 seconds for the dude behind the counter to start complaining about "liberal Seattle" and then get irritated by my... hell, I dunno, my demeanor? My questions?

I did not buy a gun that day. Still haven't. And it doesn't break my heart or anything, but in the abstract I'd like to own a gun or two but fuck do I really have to give my money to the people who run those stores? Ugh.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 3:41 PM on June 23 [17 favorites]


Has she posted any updates? (Hard to check on mobile.) I wonder if she got to be less hellaciously uncomfortable with it.
posted by showbiz_liz at 3:42 PM on June 23


Probably the single biggest deterrent to me buying a gun has been gun stores.

Don't most WalMarts sell guns? That's hardly a gun store. Maybe they employ gun-crazy types to work behind the counter there, but I doubt it.
posted by hippybear at 3:44 PM on June 23 [3 favorites]


It was a very new store. It didn't have carpet yet. There was a set of targets for sale on the wall. One of them was--I kid you not--a zombie jackalope.

This was sufficiently surreal that I felt like I was on safer ground. I understand zombie jackalopes.


Indeed she does.

(The shop I had planned to go to, everyone at the coffee shop said "DON'T DO IT THE OWNER IS--IS--JUST--DON'T DO IT!" Also the windows were wall-to-wall NRA signs. And Trump signs.

They don't want liberals buying guns.
posted by jamjam at 3:46 PM on June 23 [9 favorites]


...you are looking at a bullet, which is recognizable to many of us because it looks like a gnome-sized vibrator.


Oh dear, could this be the reason there are few or no actual Gnomes in the world?

A bit shrill but quite a funny blog post.
posted by sammyo at 3:50 PM on June 23 [3 favorites]


For me, owning and using a gun is the simple part. Guns are fun when you're shooting at paper targets. Going out to shoot is very entertaining. Yes, gun stores are often creepy and filling out that form 4473 is nerve wracking, but hunting is a lot more emotionally challenging, and dealing with a dead animal is too. I'm looking forward to more posts.
posted by Bee'sWing at 3:58 PM on June 23 [7 favorites]


and dealing with a dead animal is too

In Boy Scouts in the 80s we did a deer hunt and we got one about 25 miles away from any vehicle. Cleaning and butchering a deer in the middle of nowhere and carrying out its parts in plastic bags in garbage bags in backpacks makes it clear to you EXACTLY what you've accomplished when you made that animal fall over dead.

The turkey hunting with bows was a lot easier to deal with when it came to the carcasses.
posted by hippybear at 4:07 PM on June 23 [7 favorites]


I am also a liberal, with a gun (or, more properly, a rifle - said firearm pedantry being an actual thing). In fact it is one of the scary-looking ones that no one is supposed to have or need. I bought it over the internet, so I avoided most of the gun-shop issues mentioned, but I still had to go fill out the paperwork and pick it up at a local store, but thankfully the owner, while ex-LEO/military is actually pretty decent.

I'd highly recommend looking into the Liberal Gun Club for all things that other folks might use the NRA for. They're not as big, but they are a hell of a lot more pleasant and sensible.

I don't have a Hello Kitty sticker - I opted instead for a "This machine kills fascists" sticker.
posted by bashos_frog at 4:12 PM on June 23 [12 favorites]


I don't have a Hello Kitty sticker - I opted instead for a "This machine kills fascists" sticker.

It's okay to have both.
posted by hippybear at 4:14 PM on June 23 [20 favorites]


That may happen soon, thanks to the great graphic in the comments there.
posted by bashos_frog at 4:17 PM on June 23 [1 favorite]


Entrepreneurs have certainly figured out the gun store problem. Obviously there are stores like Bass Pro and Cabelas where your experience isn't going to be very different from any big box store but most places have big, slick gun stores that are mostly not political and the sales people are not much different from any other store that requires knowledgeable staff.
posted by Bee'sWing at 4:19 PM on June 23 [4 favorites]


"shrill"?
posted by XtinaS at 4:19 PM on June 23 [46 favorites]


On a more serious note, I really do think a lot more liberals should get more comfortable with owning and operating firearms. First because it seems like commons sense self-preservation in the event that the country continues to get more polarized and authoritarian. Secondly, because the more that poor people, sick people, and brown people get guns - the sooner the country will start to implement at least basic common-sense gun control.
posted by bashos_frog at 4:21 PM on June 23 [22 favorites]


Now I needed an affirmation to have the nerve to talk to the affirmation people is entirely too much like my life lately...
posted by EvaDestruction at 4:24 PM on June 23


Don't most WalMarts sell guns? That's hardly a gun store.

Walmart will sell you shotguns and deer rifles. If you want a pistol, or a higher quality rifle, or simply don't want to step foot in Walmart, you can always head over to a local big box sporting goods store. Many of them, especially in red states, will carry a full line of firearms. Price might be higher than the local crazypants store, but you don't have to deal with crazypants. So, probably worth it.

The other option is to order online. It will have to be shipped to a registered firearms dealer, but there's undoubtably one near you who's willing to accept deliveries. Probably your local pawn shop would work. You can find great deals this way so long as you're willing to put up with the minor hassle.
posted by honestcoyote at 4:24 PM on June 23 [2 favorites]


If you do not see the orange bit, you are looking at a bullet, which is recognizable to many of us because it looks like a gnome-sized vibrator.

Well, I can't unthink that.
posted by Phredward at 4:27 PM on June 23 [2 favorites]


Secondly, because the more that poor people, sick people, and brown people get guns - the sooner the country will start to implement at least basic common-sense gun control.

I have so many problems with this statement that I want to rant, but they are so tangled up in my brain that I can't begin to express myself.

It feels classist and racist and "eat the rich" fearing and yet I can't actually disagree with it given how WASP male our government at ALL levels seems to be.

I mean, we already have "brown people" being shot to death in their cars simply for telling someone else they have a gun on them. Does it make sense that having more non-whites owning guns will somehow change the gun laws when inner city violence (which I know is not entirely minority-driven) is perceived as mostly being minority-on-minority crime and they don't give a shit who gets the guns today?

Also, etc etc etc.

I'm not making an argument one way or another here about gun control. Just observing what is currently happening and how more [or the perception of more] poor/sick/non-white people owning guns is both being ignored and making white people buy more guns.
posted by hippybear at 4:29 PM on June 23 [4 favorites]


This was hilarious and great and I'm glad she's doing it, as a lifelong hunter and gardener I do think it's important for people to experience both the fun and not-fun parts of 'where food comes from'. If and when she does get a deer, I'm very interested in how she feels about the butchering. It's fundamentally very gross, even when you grew up with it. It's an interesting process to experience, killing and then hollowing out and dismantling a formerly living being for food.

I really do hope that she doesn't try and take that gun out to the range without an experienced shooter with her, because while a .22 ain't much, it's still very much a fatal round to a person in the right circumstances. The gun store owner was blase about the gun the way most gun owners are about .22 firearms because they are associated with being a kid and learning to shoot and hunting squirrels, he's super not used to someone being intimidated by it.

I actually recently had a similar experience, but from the opposite side of things. I grew up around a lot of guns and am very comfortable around them, but in between moving from SD to here I became liberal enough that gun stores are also just a weird assault on my sensibilities. (Bee'sWing is correct, however, that there are plenty of big-box stores that can sell you a gun in the normal, sanitized environment with minimal interference.) I went in to buy the exact same sort of gun, a .22 bolt action rifle, because I'm going to be teaching people to shoot soon-ish, and that is exactly the gun to do that with. My problems with the store clerk were also over how easy it was to buy, but because I'm used to the no rules environ of rural SD and assumed that the 'liberal haven' of MN would have stricter laws.
posted by neonrev at 4:33 PM on June 23 [6 favorites]


I was terrified of gun stores until I discovered they're mostly full of pathetic, weak men. Now I really enjoy them, and am a regular at the one near us.
posted by odinsdream at 4:33 PM on June 23 [7 favorites]


It's an observation based on the historical fact that most of the (ineffective) gun control we have today is as a result of the Black Panthers (sensibly) arming themselves.
posted by bashos_frog at 4:33 PM on June 23 [23 favorites]


Over in an adjacent thread folks in the comments are talking about gun ownership as a liberal concern, it seems to dovetail better into that thread and convo than here.
posted by neonrev at 4:34 PM on June 23


Yeah, I can't say that my desire to shoot a rifle is actually motivated by politics. I really just like learning how to do stuff well, and target shooting is a skill you can improve. I'm not going to bring a rifle to the next protest -- that is a recipe for disaster. I just remember enjoying target shooting as a kid, and shooting cans with a BB gun at my friend's house in the country isn't quite the same. I understand the framing of this article around "I'm a liberal and I feel out of place," because yeah, the way you typically hear about guns tends is through right wing or libertarian types. I feel weird even thinking I'd like a rifle, like I'm violating some fundamental belief I should have. But really, it just comes down to wanting to shoot at paper targets because I think I'd enjoy it.
posted by shapes that haunt the dusk at 4:56 PM on June 23 [5 favorites]


Actually, the bigger issue, honestly, is my two-decade history of major depression with suicidal ideation. Even though I'm doing better now, I'm still prrrrobably not the kind of person who should own a gun, unless there are some major controls in place. I feel like I haven't heard that much said about gun control as it relates to people like me. For now, cost is as much of a barrier as anything else. Guns are expensive.
posted by shapes that haunt the dusk at 5:00 PM on June 23 [2 favorites]


That's hilarious. I know that twitchy feeling of being a liberal woman in a gun store. I'm pleased to see someone posted a pic of a 'hello kitty' decorated rifle in the comments on the dreamwidth thread.
posted by rmd1023 at 5:07 PM on June 23


For now, cost is as much of a barrier as anything else. Guns are expensive.

You know if you want to get to know guns you can go to a local shooting range and rent a gun with ammunition to shoot while you are there. You don't have to purchase a gun to get to know how guns work and what they do and how you relate to them.

I don't own a gun (okay, I have the bb gun I got when I was 8 or 9), but I did a lot of gun stuff in Boy Scouts between age 10 and 18 and I recommend everyone get familiar with what a gun does and how it feels to use one and get to where using one won't be a surprise.
posted by hippybear at 5:12 PM on June 23 [9 favorites]


That reminds me I need to get a shotgun.
posted by Burhanistan at 5:12 PM on June 23


Like the post author, I am politically and socially liberal. My (also liberal) gun-owning friends taught me to use guns. I'm not a bad shot.

But I've never shot at a living thing, and I don't know if I could. It seems to me that that would be a far bigger hurdle than the act of purchasing a gun.
posted by Pallas Athena at 5:13 PM on June 23 [5 favorites]


For now, cost is as much of a barrier as anything else. Guns are expensive.

I'm not arguing with you, really I'm not, nor do I know what market you live in because (not unlike vintage road bikes selling for 3x what they do elsewhere in NYC) I'm sure that matters a bit. But this is pretty relative. It's not a super cheap hobby to step into but you could, for example, buy a .22 rimfire (which is a great caliber/form factor for plinking and casual target shooting for a plethora of reasons, cost of ammo being one of them) rifle of a proven design and from a quality manufacturer for ~$270 new. Well taken care of and outside the most extreme use cases it'd be damn near a buy it for life purchase.

I link that model, the Ruger 10/22, for many reasons, not least of which is that it's what I grew up with and had a great experience with, of course there's other makes and models that would probably suffice just as well, not to mention buying used, so that's not even really the baseline price.

But I'll shaddup now, as the husband of a clinical psychologist who studied under Dr. Thomas Joiner I understand and empathize with your concerns regarding having a weapon near to hand. I just also think there's something non-negligible about, if it floats your boat of course, the therapeutic value both in target shooting as a practiced skill and also just in plinking away an hour or two trying to cut a bananna in twain or what not. Good luck.
posted by RolandOfEld at 5:15 PM on June 23 [4 favorites]


MetaFilter: That reminds me I need to get a shotgun.
posted by hippybear at 5:15 PM on June 23 [13 favorites]


The first time I shot a gun was at school. At school! At the rifle range, where I was encouraged to join the gun club by giving me a free shot. This is where I point out that guns are super-banned in Australia. You can't just buy one for fun, or because you like them, or you think it's a cool toy. You need a proper good reason, no criminal or mental history and be trusted to take the pastor's daughter to the dance and have her home on time.

Nevertheless, our school had a rifle range. The reason was simple, some of the students came from outback farms where there are no schools. There are a lot of pests though; foxes, rabbits, pigs, goats, horses, camels, rats, cats, dogs... toads... everything not native to Australia is an invasive species and needs to be killed. This would be a great holiday hunt safari place if you want to kill animals!

But you'll find yourself on the side of the very green and very liberal movement to preserve nature, by killing things.
posted by adept256 at 5:27 PM on June 23 [4 favorites]


hunting is a lot more emotionally challenging, and dealing with a dead animal is too.

It is, and as I've gotten older I find I enjoy the hunting far more than the getting. But, I'm sort of surprised that more lefties don't hunt - my last elk was 425 lbs dressed, and about 200 lbs of naturally lean non-GMO, Grass fed, free-range, antiobiotic-free, hormone-free, humanely harvested meat - steaks, roasts, and a ton of hamburger.

Hunting is an important part of wildland management, and more people should be outdoors anyways. Even if you don't hunt, the money from the licenses gets used for conservation efforts.

And if you've never hunted over bird dogs, you absolutely must. Hunting with a dog is something humans have done longer than pretty much anything else, and they are amazing to watch. There are bird farms pretty much everywhere that will sell you an afternoon of bird hunting with dogs, guns and everything you need for much less than you think it would cost (recent ask on subject), and in many states, you can go year round.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 5:43 PM on June 23 [9 favorites]


I live in urban L.A. and I go shooting every now and then. I usually go out to BLM land, just because I like making an overnight "camping" trip out of it, I can also do a little bit of hiking, and watch all the stars at night. It's a bit of a schlep from L.A. but it's a nice thing to do. Just did it last weekend. The spot I like most is remote, completely undeveloped, camping and shooting is generally allowed. Pack it in, pack it out.

There's a decent gun store in Culver City that seems staffed by enthusiasts that aren't total assholes. In fact the only weirdo I ever saw there was a petite, pretty, notably done-up blond woman who was going on and on with the staff and anyone who'd listen, about how guns are so important for self defense etc. The staff looked like they were taking her ranting in shifts.

All of my guns were purchased pre-Obama era, when it was possible to get a decent used .22 rifle for, like, $60. I don't know if prices have leveled off since Obama's jack booted thugs stopped taking guns from out cold, dead fingers.

A possible alternative to a firearm is an airgun. Or even a BB gun. I have several. One is a Benjamin pumper .22 that kind of has a feel of a firearm. But it's kind of overkill, really, for the back yard. I have a couple old Daisy bb guns, and a fairly modern Crosman pumper that are complete fun to shoot in my back yard (as illegal as it is). Usually I make a 10 yd. range and shoot things like Necco wafers against a cardboard and old carpet backdrop. The BB guns I have are reasonably accurate at that range. In general, though they can be crazy shooting. But mine are fun. I can even set up a 20 yd range. That one is really neat with the Daisys, because they shoot so slow. I usually shoot aluminum cans hung on a string at that range, and in the midday sun, it feels a little more like shooting a buffalo gun 500 yards, since you can see the BB go down range and arc to the target.
posted by 2N2222 at 5:59 PM on June 23 [3 favorites]


I live in urban L.A. and I go shooting every now and then. I usually go out to BLM land, just because I like making an overnight "camping" trip out of it, I can also do a little bit of hiking, and watch all the stars at night.

I promise you, if you are anywhere near urban LA you're not seeing anything nearly close to "all the stars".

But yay! Stars!
posted by hippybear at 6:01 PM on June 23 [1 favorite]


I'm sort of surprised that more lefties don't hunt

I think the reason more lefties don't hunt is just that a lot of us didn't grow up with it. I grew up in a rural place, I had neighbors who were hunters, and I used to hear gunshots all the time during deer season (despite the posted "NO HUNTING" signs everywhere), but it wasn't something anyone in my family ever did. On principle I support it (eliminate invasive animals while also getting high-quality sustainable food, while also confronting the realities of eating meat), but it's not like you can just google "how to hunt" and then go do it.

Even the author of this piece -- which is all about deciding to go hunting despite feeling out of place -- was able to talk to her dad and get his advice. I'm not saying it would be impossible for me to figure out how to go hunting, but none of the information or contacts would be anywhere near as close at hand for me.
posted by shapes that haunt the dusk at 6:03 PM on June 23 [13 favorites]


Honestly I've killed more deer with my delivery van driving between Spokane and Missoula and back than I ever did with a gun.

Thank The Maker for deer guards on Chevy Express vans!
posted by hippybear at 6:05 PM on June 23 [4 favorites]


Don't most WalMarts sell guns?

WalMart is the biggest seller of guns in the US.
posted by Splunge at 6:09 PM on June 23


This thread seems like a good excuse to share my Gun Shop Story. It's also my Name-dropping Story, to a certain segment of the internet populace.

So, I'm in Las Vegas at The Amazing Meeting, way back before I gave up on Movement Atheism and Organised Skepticism for being way too cozy with anti-feminist dumpster fires. I'm chatting with a friend of mine when PZ Myers comes up to him and says, "Hey, turns out it's Ben Goldacre's first time in America. We need to take him to a gun range."

The three of us find Ben Goldacre and walk with him out to the cab stand, where we ask the attendant for directions to a gun range that might let us shoot machine guns. It's Vegas, so of course he knows one off the top of his head.

We ride there and find the gun range/shop right next to a payday loan place, because of course. On the way in, we pass a trash can with a sign above it reading "Voting for Obama? Save time, put your guns here." So we enter, and the range itself is on the right. As soon as we enter, we see the available targets prominently displayed across the walls, just below the ceiling: bullseye, silhouette, masked guy with knife holding a white lady hostage, black guy in gang regalia, two or three different Arab guys with AK-47s, woman in a niqab with an AK-47.

We pick out our targets and guns and go to wait in line, each of us holding a loaded magazine. We all picked the silhouette targets. I had a Thompson, Ben Goldacre had an MP-5 ("Just like your guys at Heathrow", says the cashier), and I don't remember what PZ or my friend had. As we're waiting in line, the guy behind us spots our badges and asks PZ, "What conference is that?" I don't remember PZ's response, but the guy said something along the lines of "Oh, so it's some kind of atheist conference?" The conversation went on more or less how you'd expect for a minute or two -- turns out the guy is a teacher at a Catholic school or something like that -- and then we get to go shoot things, and Ben Goldacre films some video that to this day he has not shared with any of us.

We decide to go investigate the shop portion of the gun shop while waiting for our cab. Ben Goldacre spends a lot of time inspecting leather holsters and commenting that the whole arrangement reminds him of a gay S&M club. The cab arrives before he says anything loudly enough to get us killed. The end.
posted by tobascodagama at 6:17 PM on June 23 [30 favorites]


WalMart is the biggest seller of guns in the US.

And banned the sale of Sheryl Crow CDs after she released this song. And then this court case sort of vindicated the singer for the message in her song.

Love Is A Good Thing. Period. Fuck, how hard is this?
posted by hippybear at 6:17 PM on June 23 [2 favorites]


In this Tedx talk, Peter van Uhm, the Netherlands' chief of defense, talks about why he chose to become a soldier, even though he does not like guns, and is opposed to war. It is worth listening to.
posted by Multicellular Exothermic at 6:58 PM on June 23


I don't own a gun but I know how to shoot and even have NRA medals to prove it. Yet I have absolutely no desire to go into the woods and kill animals like deer even though a deer did its best to kill me in 2000. Just because you can do some thing doesn't mean you should do that thing.
posted by tommasz at 7:09 PM on June 23 [3 favorites]


I think the reason more lefties don't hunt is just that a lot of us didn't grow up with it. I grew up in a rural place [...] but it wasn't something anyone in my family ever did.

I think the familial thing is true, but I don't think it's because lefties don't shoot. I was raised on the religious right, and we just didn't know too many folks who shot. I also think part of it is patriarchal; not many women learn to shoot (at least this is my impression?). My mom's side of the family hunted, but there was only 1 brother and 2 other sisters aside from her; my uncle hunts, but no one else in the family does, and since no one in my dad's family hunts, it skipped a whole generation. Now, all of them top to bottom are all pretty politically right of center (some deep in libertarianism land). But alas, this lefty doesn't shoot, despite being surrounded and raised by right-wing folk.

I would love love love to learn how to hunt, but mostly because meat is expensive and I love venison. Any takers near PDX?

Offer also goes out to any duck-hunters around here. I'll process your birds, break them down and make you some dope charcuterie. You just gotta let me keep a bird or two.
posted by furnace.heart at 7:10 PM on June 23 [2 favorites]


shrill

If I never hear the word shrill used to refer to words from women and feminists it will be too soon. Eesh.

Didn't Wal-Mart stop selling ammo in reaction to "Bowling for Columbine"? I thought I remembered that from the movie.
posted by bendy at 7:11 PM on June 23 [12 favorites]


I found this hilarious because I, too, am a liberal who doesn't like the thought of owning a gun, and I live with my 22 year old son who bought a collectible rifle recently. He's a good kid, not a gun nut in the negative sense (that is, he really enjoys guns, but he's not the NRA type), and he knows how to use a gun safely.

A female friend of mine is in disbelief that I would let him own a gun. I thought I was "liberal," but she's sure he's going to wake us up in the middle of the night and murder us all. I roll my eyes in response.
posted by lhauser at 7:18 PM on June 23 [2 favorites]


A possible alternative to a firearm is an airgun. Or even a BB gun. I have several. One is a Benjamin pumper .22 that kind of has a feel of a firearm. But it's kind of overkill, really, for the back yard. I have a couple old Daisy bb guns, and a fairly modern Crosman pumper that are complete fun to shoot in my back yard (as illegal as it is). Usually I make a 10 yd. range and shoot things like Necco wafers against a cardboard and old carpet backdrop. The BB guns I have are reasonably accurate at that range.

If you are worried about Necco wafers moving into your neighborhood, just send them to me. No reason to waste them while indulging your prejudices.
posted by Samizdata at 7:25 PM on June 23 [8 favorites]


Oh, and I went to one of the local gun shops (in Tacoma) with my son to buy the rifle (not the kind of thing you'd get at Cabela's or Bass Pro) and totally was not weirded out by the place, or our more local gun shop and shooting range. They even sell rubber band guns (no background check needed!)
posted by lhauser at 7:28 PM on June 23 [3 favorites]


They even sell rubber band guns (no background check needed!)

Just wait until someone puts out an eye with a misfire.
posted by Samizdata at 7:31 PM on June 23


If I were using a rubberband gun in a fight, I'd regard putting out an eye as a quality shot, not a misfire.
posted by hippybear at 7:58 PM on June 23 [5 favorites]


I promise you, if you are anywhere near urban LA you're not seeing anything nearly close to "all the stars".

But yay! Stars!


I promise you, if you're on BLM land, you're nowhere near urban L.A.
posted by 2N2222 at 9:18 PM on June 23 [2 favorites]


I was trying to figure out when the Black Lives Matter movement acquired land.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 9:52 PM on June 23 [9 favorites]


> Has she posted any updates? (Hard to check on mobile.) I wonder if she got to be less hellaciously uncomfortable with it.

> If and when she does get a deer, I'm very interested in how she feels about the butchering.

She has not updated about the shooting thing to my knowledge, but she did mention having gotten to watch a butchering of a (previously slaughtered) pig at the local co-op she purchases meat from a few months earlier. Her response was less 'revulsion' and more 'oh! oh! interesting!' which I was not really that surprised about, judging from the way she has thoughtfully written about death, animals, and anatomy in the past.

> I also think part of it is patriarchal; not many women learn to shoot (at least this is my impression?).

This was the case for the reason my partner didn't learn to shoot: despite growing up in rural Ontario with a stepfather who was an enthusiastic hunter, the local culture was such that women weren't even allowed along on hunting trips to cook for the men, let alone as a hunter in their own right. So women, who are maybe more likely to find a path towards liberal ideas via feminism than men are (all else being equal), are also maybe less likely to pick up that particular skill because patriarchy.

(The reason I never learnt to shoot or hunt is, as I mentioned in the other thread, that my very Republican parents wouldn't have been caught dead with a gun for most of my childhood, almost entirely for reasons of class prejudice.)

I'm one of those people who would rather like to know how to hunt, especially (!) with dogs, but who is also afraid of guns and has no experience with them. (No experience with bows, either.) I don't really have the time to learn now, but I sincerely wish there were more avenues to learning to deal with guns for hunting for people who are interested and want help learning. I do know how to handle the emotional aspect of looking an animal in the eye and (as painlessly as possible) ending its life. I know how to handle butchery on very, very small scales*, and I've helped with some of the prep work for butchery on a hog (mostly just scraping the skin, though).

I think that that interaction with death and ownership of where our food comes from is an important part of life and understanding where I fit into the ecosystem. I would like more people to have a sense of nature and ecosystem that includes themselves and all other humans, not just a strange human/nature dichotomy that they sit apart from. I also would like more people to be invested in responsible hunting, because I know damn well that many of the nation's most important conservation efforts have been lead and promoted by hunters who are concerned about preserving game availability (although those efforts need to not be only focused on that!).

I don't know. I am interested in animals and animal welfare, and I am interested in ethics, and I would like to have more ownership of the meat I consume. I also would like there to be less deer, because the damn things are everywhere. And I'd like to see more meat going into things like food pantries, and ideally less so than factory farming. I wonder sometimes about the feasibility of a system wherein permits could be tied to bag limits such that hunters who enjoy it or are particularly good at it could bring in deer for many people who would like to process and consume the meat, kind of like a co-op.

which is to say mice, where the problem is less 'blood everywhere' and more 'goddammit why is there not more blood'.
posted by sciatrix at 10:09 PM on June 23 [5 favorites]


A possible alternative to a firearm is an airgun. Or even a BB gun.

That reminds me: had an MRI recently and was surprised to learn I evidently still have a BB embedded in my scalp from sometime when I was a kid. Never even knew I'd been shot in the head with a BB.

It might get a little hot, the technician said.

I was in there for an hour and a half, worrying the thing would get magnetized and tear its way out.

Anyway, I used to shoot rifles with my grandfather and my uncle's family, and it can be fun. I'd never get one with small kids around and my organizational/attention issues, though.

I think I only hunted hunted once or twice. But I wasn't a bad shot; I won two turkeys and a ham at the local Christmas turkey shoot one year (which, no, doesn't involve shooting any turkeys or other animals). I did shoot a bird one time, though, with a BB gun, before I knew better.

Felt awful about it later. That's why I could never hunt. My papa always said I was too tender-hearted, and he was right. Maybe that BB in my head was some kind of residual karma. I didn't have the good sense to put the little thing out of its misery, I was so upset when I realized what I'd done. I was still really little, maybe seven at most. It was a powerful pellet BB gun. Good thing my cousin was there and understood what needed to be done. Lame, I know.
posted by saulgoodman at 10:14 PM on June 23 [1 favorite]


I'm reading this thinking "if this woman is so identified as an anti-gun person and so afraid of guns why does she want to shoot deer?"

as a gardener
Say no more. This is also how my mother ended up with a .22 and quite a lot of rabbits met their ends.
posted by fshgrl at 11:20 PM on June 23 [9 favorites]


A lot of gun stores are unwelcoming to anyone who is not an aficionado, politics aside. I had a lot I could relate to in the essay, but found the endless repetition of the liberal thing really boring. Good for her for trying something new, and I hope she is having fun.
posted by Dip Flash at 12:54 AM on June 24 [2 favorites]


Grew up with guns and target shooting from the age of 8.

Absolutely no hunting- Dad had earned money for ammo by removing woodchucks from New York state pastures for local farmers as a kid, shot competitively in the USN during WWII and later in the naval reserve, hunted for deer and bear after moving to Wisconsin for graduate school- But quit hunting before I was 4.

Dad stayed involved with teaching shooting, gun safety and hunter safety at our local NRA club, which met on alternate Fridays to shoot targets with BB guns, pellet rifles and .22 rifles IN THE GRADE SCHOOL GYM. At 16, I became a junior rifle instructor.

Somehow, we never killed or injured ANYONE in our school grounds shooting activities. The NRA standard for training us children was first to instill safe gun handling as our second nature, followed by learning how to be accurate- Which skill is more akin to meditation than to a Rambo movie. I still meditate when I have the time and space.

The possibility that we might deliberately commit murder or mayhem with a gun was not a part of my mental landscape back then.

My dad who introduced me to shooting was so far left of center in the 1950s USA that he was literally spat upon for how he looked, dressed and behaved. A MAN WITH A BEARD! AND LONGER THAN CREW CUT HAIR!! FREE THINKERS!!! My Brooklyn raised mother was jailed for acting on her liberal political beliefs at least once that I know of (union organising in an Indiana company town).

Guns became a political football/hard right wing marker much later.

I believe that NRA president Harlon Carter and some cold hearted political machinations by both Republicans AND Democrats during the Carter through Clinton administrations were to blame for what the NRA became. My father quit being an NRA member during that time, when partisan politics overshadowed the original intent of teaching safety and a traditional skill.

I never hunted until I could do it on my own land, and do it only for food. It was fascinating (and quite uncomfortable at times) to go from a cellophane wrapped grocery store based carnivore to a personally involved one. If you are not raised doing this, meat can be expensive in more ways than the cash price.

I have also raised chickens, ducks and turkeys, slaughtering and processing the culls for food.

Care for a creature from egg to dinner plate (and take the actions directly responsible for both its origin and death) you learn some things about the meaning of your dietary choices.
posted by bert2368 at 1:10 AM on June 24 [13 favorites]


I laughed until I cried at the poor confused gun shop owner.

Also we have a Hello Kitty sticker on a rifle, courtesy of one of my infantry friends. Now we don't even refer to it by any other name.
posted by corb at 2:35 AM on June 24 [4 favorites]


Like some of the others posting here, I grew up in a rural area where guns were normal and gun ownership was generally never connected to politics. We had some guns, but never went hunting. They were strictly for target shooting. Never joined the NRA but I have a little medal squirreled away somewhere from them that proves I know how to shoot. (Ok it was an easy A in phys-ed when I got to college.) Having said all that, not everybody liked guns, and not everybody had guns. I can only think of one family that vocally disliked guns, and vocally equated guns with politics. But I also don't remember anybody giving them much grief about it. It was more like, "Uh... ok."

Something started to change in the '80s and guns became explicitly political. I remember a friend of mine, who was actually politically quite conservative, surprising me when he said he'd canceled his NRA membership. He was tired of going to meetings that were all mostly about how to keep the "wrong" people out and the "wrong" people from being interested in guns. What did any of that have to do with guns and promoting gun ownership?

I would never own a gun where I live now because the #1 reason people break into homes around here is to steal guns. It's like putting a sign on the door that says "Please burglarize me!"
posted by lagomorphius at 6:41 AM on June 24 [4 favorites]


Actually, the bigger issue, honestly, is my two-decade history of major depression with suicidal ideation. Even though I'm doing better now, I'm still prrrrobably not the kind of person who should own a gun, unless there are some major controls in place. I feel like I haven't heard that much said about gun control as it relates to people like me. For now, cost is as much of a barrier as anything else. Guns are expensive.

I really enjoy airguns for this reason. Shooting is a fun and practical hobby, but firearms, due to a number of factors, may not be practical to own. Pneumatic arms, however, sidestep most of the problems (lethality, noise, urban population density nearby) and allow you to enjoy most of the benefits, including being able to protect your garden from common pests.

It's as simple as buying a nice entry level break-barrel rifle and some pellets, or as complex as rebuilding a Crossman 1077 rifle with hand-machined components for accuracy and reliability. I also spend the money on lead-free pellets and BBs, I got kids and pets playing in the yard, yaknow?
posted by Slap*Happy at 11:32 AM on June 24


For people in the SF Bay Area interested in taking a basic gun safety & shooting class, I cannot recommend Jackson Arms in South San Francisco enough! It is a person-of-color owned, non-crazypants gun shop and shooting range that made me, a city-slicker Asian woman, feel extremely comfortable.

I attended a gun safety class, and they provided all the safety equipment, you just pay for the class & bullets. It was a great experience, and now I don't have abject fear of guns, learned how to load and unload a gun, and how to shoot a gun. It was a great learning experience, and I think it's an important adult skill to have.

I had no idea that such a place existed! It was exactly what I wanted: non-crazypants, no pro-NRA alpha males spouting nonsense (though there were a few problematic bumper stickers). Most of the other people at the range were *also* people of color, not Confederate-flag-waving redneck types. I didn't even see military-wannabe types there. How unexpected it was to see Asian women behind the counter.

How San Francisco can you get?
posted by honey badger at 12:00 PM on June 24 [7 favorites]


My very bay area crazypants gun range story is this: I went shooting once in Milpitas with ESR, and a legally blind man, and a concealed carrying paramedic. ESR shoots some enormous hand cannon. I shot a "black" model rented handgun and the paramedic's revolver, which kicked too hard. It was the only time I've shot a gun other than BB's.

My sister hunts deer and I enjoy the meat. I could hunt deer and grouse and turkey from the front porch. But I don't want a gun in the house for this reason: Last night a skunk snuck in a left open door at 3 am to eat catfood. I assumed it was a possum as that's happened before. If I'd had a gun in the house, I would have shot a skunk at close range in my living room at 3 am and had to clean up the resulting disaster, instead of threatening it with a mop until I realized it was a skunk and then backpedalling hard. (It left without firing as well.)

Tools influence how you think and I'd rather not see every problem as a target, so no guns for me.
posted by joeyh at 1:06 PM on June 24 [9 favorites]


" I would have shot a skunk at close range in my living room at 3 am"

now that would have been a mistake of earth shaking consequence.
posted by shockingbluamp at 1:24 PM on June 24


"If I'd had a gun in the house, I would have shot a skunk at close range in my living room at 3 am"

This would be why gun ownership should always go along with safety and responsible use training. So that you know not to do something that insane. Even if that seems obvious to you, it is not to everyone.
posted by Infracanophile at 1:26 PM on June 24 [1 favorite]


I mean, OMG... what would you have to do to remove the stench? New carpet, new draperies, new furniture new... um... wallboard? New ceiling?
posted by hippybear at 1:34 PM on June 24


New house.
posted by Dip Flash at 1:46 PM on June 24 [1 favorite]


"Nuke it from orbit... it's the only way to be sure."
posted by hippybear at 1:49 PM on June 24 [1 favorite]


I know the "I'm a liberal" repetition got on a lot of peoples' nerves, but I felt a lot of sympathy for it.

I was briefly very close with someone who turned out to be a gun fanatic and incipient MRA. He kept trying to talk me into buying a handgun and getting a conceal carry license "for protection". He was baffled by my insistence that if I were alone on the side of a highway (his default "scary situation") and someone stopped who wanted to hurt me, I'd most likely be arming him instead of protecting myself; he couldn't conceive of the fact that I wouldn't want to kill someone in that situation; I was under threat - why wasn't my impulse toward lethal aggression?

And the reality is, I might survive killing someone else physically, but I'm not sure I could emotionally. Disabling, yes; killing...?

And I'm aware people think this makes me weak, that killing someone else is the strong response, but I disagree. Killing someone else at the first sign of danger is weak, and usually an over-reaction. I was at far more risk from him - a gun wielding guy who would get drunk and rant about how women were gold-diggers and hateful (except for you, Deoridhe!) while wearing a sidearm openly - than I was to some random guy on the side of a dark highway.

I have been thinking of practicing firing a rifle (I did when I was a teenager and didn't find it as challenging as people said it would be) because I think we're conditioned to find the sound of a pump-action rifle frightening and I can fill it with bird shot so be more confident I'd fire it toward a person, but I wish we didn't have this all-consuming myth that shooting people when we get scared somehow makes us "strong".
posted by Deoridhe at 1:52 PM on June 24 [10 favorites]


Ursula's post and a lot of this thread make me think that more women should know about the Becoming an Outdoorswoman (BOW) program. Started in Wisconsin and now grown to more than 30 states, I went to my state's weekend-long workshop for the first time last September. It's run by woman, for women, and largely taught by women. It was incredible, and I just sent in my registration to attend again this year. I hope I get my first choice classes, which include rifle and archery.
posted by minervous at 1:55 PM on June 24 [6 favorites]


I'm way late to the party, but I was utterly, utterly irritated by the "BUT I'M LIBRUL" theme to the piece. I get it, it's for dramatic or comedic effect, but both in the US and in Canada gun ownership is politically coded to the point of tedium. Hunting for subsistence reasons - and cultural reasons, if you're indigenous or Metis - should be thoroughly embraced and welcomed by the lefty types. And honestly, who walks into a gun shop without any kind of idea of what they want and what they're required to have? It's not a grocery store, for god's sake. I have substantial praise for the gun shop owner, who sounds decent and patient and happy to give advice.

I grew up in the Arctic. For a significant percentage of my childhood, and to a significant percentage of my diet, I grew up on country food - hunted animals, from rabbits to caribou to whales. I will defend until my last breath the importance of knowing how to hunt an animal, how to respect that take, and how to butcher and use the animal so that the community benefits from all parts of the animal's sacrifice. When I was 5 years old I was sent to deliver a caribou leg roughly the size of me to the house of an elderly family friend, and I will always remember and treasure her reaction when I showed up with the leg on my little sled.

These are not anti-liberal sentiments. It is a profoundly communal thing to have the skill and ability to shoot an animal and turn it into food for the community.
posted by ZaphodB at 2:03 PM on June 24 [13 favorites]


It is a profoundly communal thing

Communism!
posted by hippybear at 2:37 PM on June 24 [1 favorite]


I have been thinking of practicing firing a rifle (I did when I was a teenager and didn't find it as challenging as people said it would be) because I think we're conditioned to find the sound of a pump-action rifle frightening and I can fill it with bird shot so be more confident I'd fire it toward a person, but I wish we didn't have this all-consuming myth that shooting people when we get scared somehow makes us "strong".

In a more perfect world, every gun store would be welcoming and happy to educate (in this case, to clarify if you mean a rifle or shotgun, with careful explanations of each, and then assistance finding what meets your needs).

But the reality is that many aren't, and I've been in plenty where I, a gun owning white guy who has been shooting since kindergarten, was made to feel unwelcome and uninformed.

The San Francisco example above sounds like a great place that I could happily shop at, and that I wish was what every person who has some interest in learning to shoot had access to. The store in the fpp link also sounds really good and like she was treated with a lot of respect.
posted by Dip Flash at 2:59 PM on June 24 [5 favorites]


I hope I get my first choice classes, which include rifle and archery.

They have them around here too. I took one in MA two years ago and got to do archery (taught by a woman) and it was GREAT. Learning a bunch of outdoor skills primarily in the company of women (not all liberal types by far) was a great experience.
posted by jessamyn at 3:11 PM on June 24 [2 favorites]


(in this case, to clarify if you mean a rifle or shotgun, with careful explanations of each, and then assistance finding what meets your needs)

...wait, they're different things? I assumed the different language was regional, not functional. *goes to google*
posted by Deoridhe at 7:29 PM on June 24 [1 favorite]


...I meant a shotgun. Damn, learn something new every day. I had no idea the barrels were different. What I fired was a rifle, though, judging by the description.
posted by Deoridhe at 7:30 PM on June 24


Rifles fire a single bullet, putting a spin on it through rifling grooves in the barrel, making it go further and straighter.

Shotguns fire a burst of pellets that just spray out, meant to provide a wide cover and killing range without the same accuracy.
posted by hippybear at 7:57 PM on June 24 [1 favorite]


They got 'em all at the nearby Academy here, y'all. Right near the sports panties. Clean and shiny like a Target, and clerks are trained to keep their mouths shut.
posted by Burhanistan at 8:01 PM on June 24


I know the "I'm a liberal" repetition got on a lot of peoples' nerves, but I felt a lot of sympathy for it.

I have been thinking of practicing firing a rifle (I did when I was a teenager and didn't find it as challenging as people said it would be) because I think we're conditioned to find the sound of a pump-action rifle frightening and I can fill it with bird shot so be more confident I'd fire it toward a person, but I wish we didn't have this all-consuming myth that shooting people when we get scared somehow makes us "strong".

Sure, but this story isn't about shooting people, it's about someone who is interested in learning to shoot animals for food. I'm sympathetic to the idea that sport-gun-culture and hunting-gun-culture have become some bound up with shooting-people-gun-culture that you might feel uncomfortable around proponents of any of them. I think what some commenters don't like is the way the repetition of "I'm a liberal, I don't belong here" seems to reinforce that association.

I didn't grow up around guns and haven't fired one - I've held a couple, unloaded - but I've met gun people of a few different political leanings, and in my experience a lot of gun conversations are like car conversations or even computer conversations, you know? So as a young, technically inclined dude it's not that hard to play along a bit. I imagine if you don't match or don't appear to match that personal profile gun people can be less approachable.
posted by atoxyl at 8:01 PM on June 24 [2 favorites]


Rifles fire a single bullet, putting a spin on it through rifling grooves in the barrel, making it go further and straighter.

Shotguns fire a burst of pellets that just spray out, meant to provide a wide cover and killing range without the same accuracy.


Wait. There's more.
posted by lagomorphius at 8:56 PM on June 24 [1 favorite]


Every time I walk into a guns-only shop here (except my local range) I feel like I've walked into that shop from Falling Down.
posted by Ogre Lawless at 9:29 PM on June 24


...wait, they're different things? I assumed the different language was regional, not functional. *goes to google*

It great that you did the research and now know the vocabulary, but honestly someone should be able to go shopping with a statement like yours (entirely understandable but wrong in the detail) and be respectfully educated, not made to feel deficient or unwelcome. Gun stores, however, are frequently run in the opposite way, which can be a real drag.

For all that I found the author's repetition of liberal off putting, there are definitely some gun stores out there that are ostentatiously platforms for a political stance, and that's obviously going to be unattractive for customers who are not fellow travelers.
posted by Dip Flash at 11:24 PM on June 24 [3 favorites]


honey badger, thanks for the recommendation! I have no idea if their prices are reasonable or not, but a safety class with gun rental and ammo included is exactly the sort of thing I've been looking for. My girlfriend and I are talking about going to one of their classes soon.
posted by shapes that haunt the dusk at 12:19 AM on June 25 [1 favorite]



But I, too, live in urban California, and I've heard people complain about the crazy gun nuts who hang out at the gun ranges here. One friend said, more or less, "yeah, I have a gun, but I don't really want to spend any time with those people.


About the above. I have been (in the past) a national level three gun competitor. .22, .45 and center fire. It has necessitated being a member of the NRA and various civilian gun clubs since being discharged from the USMC many decades ago.

The people referred to above are in fact usually people with an unhealthy attachment to firearms and a paranoia that makes them feel threatened if they are not "carrying".

Their is no way to can defend their attitudes about guns and often times POC. Nor their near universal proclivity to vote for the most conservative candidate on the ticket.

BUT. Having said all that. These people are people you would most like to have as friends and neighbors *IF* you knew nothing of their having been seduced by the NRA.
posted by notreally at 2:23 PM on June 25


I think part of that goes to the way some people appear like they're excellent people until, suddenly, the facade slips away - you move in next to them and you're a PoC, or are a queer married couple, and then suddenly it's not so great to have them next door.
posted by rmd1023 at 2:59 PM on June 25 [4 favorites]


For anyone interested in Jackson Arms, the basic gun safety class was ~2 hours, and cost $50/person. I think the class maxes out at 6 people, we only had 4 in our group, which consisted of two couples (we're all friends).

JA provides a basic gun safety class that covers so many things that Mefites mentioned being interested in, (not wanting to buy a gun, just covering the basics) so I felt I had to mention them.

It could be an exciting Mefi Meetup?!
posted by honey badger at 1:52 PM on July 2 [1 favorite]


Lots of ranges have a "basics" course where everything is included in the price. They're super friendly and a good idea, in my opinion, for everyone. Learning how to make a weapon safe is a very important skill.
posted by odinsdream at 8:07 AM on July 5 [1 favorite]


Speaking of which, while there's no substitute for hands-on training, Ian McCollum of Forgotten Weapons has a pretty good video describing how to clear and make safe four of the most common types of rifles. It's focused on combat zones, because of the nature of the consulting services that ARES (who he frequently collaborates with) provides, but semi-automatic versions of the AR-15 and AR-15-like rifles are extremely common in the US as well, and a lot of the basic principles and terminology will transfer to other types of rifles.
posted by tobascodagama at 9:34 AM on July 5


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