Sign of the Times

Social and political change are in the wind. A lot of change. And that scares people.

Some respond by buying guns and practicing in mock scenarios with good guy people-shaped targets with white hand prints versus bad guy targets with black ones. (No, it’s not racist.) Shoot the bad guys, not the innocents. Stop what frightens you, save the familiar, the friendly, the benign.

Others respond to their fear by trying to ban something that scares them. Guns, with their ability to kill from afar and with their high probability of severe or fatal wounding are scarier than baseball bats, knives and fists. Ban the gun and the violence will be less, they reason, it won’t come from a bell tower or the other side of the movie theater. “I’ll have time to run away,” they might say.

But in reality, afficianados and opponents are both doing the same thing. They are fighting back against a perceived threat. One fights aggressively, the other defensively, but both are fighting back against the changes in society that threaten their peace.

Inflation, deficit spending, taxes, immigration, crime, race, health care, foreign wars, domestic terrorism, the list of what scares us is immense, and not shrinking. If anything, it is growing, accellerating and threatening to overwhelm us on a global scale.

And so we fight back by trying to stop it, some by defusing it, others by force.

It’s in the aggressive “fight back” mentality where we find the difference the action-oriented and the Bullseye pistol sports.

In Bullseye, especially in Slow Fire, the aggressive, action-focused, neutralize it quick mentality is poison. Instead, utter calm must prevail. Shooters practice the form in live fire and “dry” – without ammunition – to get every muscle in tune with what the eye sees and to make the trigger finger release the shot only when everything is perfect.

The mind, the thinking, reacting, controlling mind will mess it up.

In the successful Slow Fire shot, there is no anger, no aggression, no ill will. The thinking mind is silent. It watches, is even entertained, but is not otherwise involved.

It is passive.

And here is where Bullseye meets its match, and suffers, at the rising success of the fear-based action-oriented pistol sports.

Bullseye enjoyed great success in the post World War II era when America was at peace and families bought homes in the suburbs and raised children in peace and harmony. Those who shot pistols sought precision and perfection, not defense of home, family or self.

But today, proponents and opponents of guns all share a fear, not of guns, but of the changes that permeate our society.

Bullseye persists in those who remember and focus on peaceful times.

But our numbers are dwindling, not because Bullseye is hard, or elite, or expensive, but simply because we are some of the few who still know where to find tranquility.

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