on the range #florida
i thought shooting a gun would be cathartic and empowering. this is what the moving pictures have told me, and i believe everything they say. everything. i left the gun range with adrenaline pumping out of my eyballs, nerves shot to shit, and my hands trembling in anticipation of guerrilla warfare. this is what happens when you are in an enclosed space with strangers firing round after round of ammo.
my friend and i went on a lark ala groupon inspiration. in my early 20s, i went through a drawn out panic attack of sorts where i felt like i should prepare for an impending apocalypse and was convinced i might swallow my tongue. i made a list of things i should learn to do and shooting a gun was one.
as we’re approaching the gun range, i hear gun shots and think: fuck! shit’s going down in pembroke pines, y’all. then, i remember where we’re going. we tell the gun dude we came to shoot em up and without much fanfare at all we are given a gun of our choice and a box of ammo.
“this is the safety. you pull it back like so. here is where you put the bullets. remember to hold the gun face down when you’re not shooting. please don’t carry a loaded weapon out of the range.”
that’s it? don’t you want to know anything about me? police record? 5150 history? library fines? nervous ticks? better yet, i would like to know about these people who will have me in their gun sights. i mean, they’re floridians! bath salts! they don’t fuck around. or rather, they fuck around too much. i’ve seen it.
we’re assigned a lane and we spend about 15 minutes trying to stick bullets into the bullet holder thing. why didn’t the dude tell us how to do this? it ain’t easy, and made harder with the total shootout going on around us. every time someone fires, which is every second, i jump inside my skin. and i yelp. pow! “jueputa.” pow! “shit.” pow! “dios.” pow! “juemadre.” pow! “jesus.” pow! “nojoda.” pow! “mierda.” as an urbanite, i am trained to hear gunfire and run in the opposite direction. this went against all of my miami upbringing. i had to get out. i left my friend with two boxes of ammo.
i emerged from the range and the dude asks me how it went. i told him i didn’t fire because the whole thing is traumatizing.
“i don’t know these people and it’s too loud in there. i’m used to living in places where you try not to be around shootings.”
“where you from?”
“you know, miami, san francisco, oakland.”
“oh, california. we’re just waiting for that place to burn up.”
“yeah… we say the same thing about florida.”
bath salts. suddenly, i felt safer in the range. i braced myself and back in i went. my friend had acquired a gun range mentor of sorts and he insisted i try it at least once. he was carrying many weapons, so i complied. my body was in overdrive and still twitching at every shot, but now i was also carrying a loaded gun. how is this legal? i shot the target in the heart and the bullet casing flew back at my face, under my protective eyewear, and burnt me. i ask our mentor what i should do to avoid this hazard but he says there is nothing.
“and it’s worse for you wearing a tank top because the casings can fly into your shirt and burn your breasts.”
uh… i feel like this could have been covered during our training session. why am i not wearing a bullet proof vest? i shot it twice more, with my head tilted back to avoid scarring my money maker, and was done.
back in the shop, they try to charge us over $100, though no one had told us the price of this wasteful hobby. we both look stricken and shake our heads, “no fucking way.” the dude tells us some guy just threw down $1200 cash for less than an hour of shooting. bath salts. we did the miami hussle hustle, and only had to pay $40. i’ll stick with my xbox.