So, Saturday afternoon I was on my way back from my first day's hunting after returning from England.
About a mile after I turned off the freeway, going along a flat stretch of the state divided four lane (I almost wrote dual carriageway!), I looked over to my left. There was a good sized level hay field, cut short. I the middle of the field, say 70 yards from the highway, was a pond. On the far side of the pond, the spoil from its excavation had been piled into a berm.
And on posts in front of the berm were targets.
Between the pond and the road there were a car or two and three or four full size pickup trucks. And around the rides, the shooters were getting ready.
I had a thought, so I u-turned and drove back, leaving the shoulder and driving across the field to the unloading spot. There were maybe eight shooters, one grey haired and the others in their twenties, men and women. They had ground sheets down, I noticed a .22 or two lying there. When I dismounted and came around a truck, all the shooters but one were lined up abreast, facing me and a camera tripod where the last was setting the camera for a timed picture. They all smiled at me and the camera. As the photographer ran to join his chums, I looked down the line- they all (I think) had battle rifles, mostly ARs "tricked out" with rail farms, coloured stocks, etc. Most if not all had pistols, too.
After the snap, I told them-
"I don't want to interrupt your day, but I thought I'd tell you that I just returned from England. The only pistols and battle rifles in the whole country belong to the army and police, and no one touches them except by the orders of a superior.
There are sixty million people on that island, and not a single one of them- not the Queen herself- can do what you are doing now, taking your own modern rifles and handguns out of your own houses into a field for an afternoon's shooting.
In your big, gas hog pickup trucks.
In plain sight of public road, and no one calls the police, because its not anything special.
This right here tells me I'm back in America.
I love this country."
Well of course they grinned, thumbs upped, laughed, and naturally invited me to shoot some too. Alas I couldn't stop, even though I had an M1 and a bandolier in the truck!
The whole thing was a sacrament of liberty.
As I later tried to explain to my quasi- lefty, slightly anti gun friend ScienceGirl. I told her about the experience, and her reaction was, "You did WHAT? You're even braver than I thought you were."
(This is someone who rode jumpers on the USET, yet thinks I'm brave to the point of madness for hunting. Go figure.)
Staghounds- "What brave, I just told them what I thought."
SG- "You drove into somebody else's field. Down South. And confronted a bunch of strangers with GUNS."
SG- "They might have shot you!"
Sh- "Why? They were in no danger."
SG- "You were trespassing!"
Sh- "You can't shoot someone for trespassing, that's murder!"
SG- "They might have, they were just a bunch of
rednecks." (SG's from the Party of Tolerance tm)
Sh- "These were recreational shooters. There was probably no more law abiding, and gun law knowledgeable, group of people in the whole county that day."
SG- "Well, I still think you're crazy."
Sh- " But as yet undiagnosed by a licensed professional. When you're a member of a persecuted minority, and you run across other members of your persecuted minority, there's a bonding connection. I knew perfectly well that I'd be made welcome. Responsible shooters love to meet others, and also to expose what we do to strangers.
(Then I remembered. For liberals, it's always 1955, even if their parents were still in Country Day School then. And SG is from Conn.)
"Follow along with me now, back in 1955 in Greenwich and Weston , there were lots of secret Jews. Don't you think that they felt good when they bumped into one another and realised, "Hey, you are one too. I'm not alone!"
SG- "Or gay people."
SG- "I still think you're crazy. This wasn't Aspetuck, it was rednecks down South, with guns."
There's that tolerance again...
A good day hunting, too- the coyote had crossed into unhunted territory, and the staff were stopping hounds. As I often do, I went a bit farther- and saw the creature loop back into the country!
Definitely the hunted one, too- he was getting it!
By the time hounds could be laid on whatever scent he left was gone, though. Still, good to be right. The blind pig must be happy about his acorns, too.