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Taming the Beast.

Inhale. Focus. Exhale. SHOOT.  There’s a deafening silence you hear when you stare down the sight of a gun and shoot. An organized chaos engulfs you. A symphony of gunfire combined with the sweet sound of guns cocking back surrounds you. Forgive me for sounding corny, but it’s pretty fucking poetic. And those gunshots that make even a grown man flinch, become white noise when you’re fixated on one thing only: your target.

Guns are scary. Always been, and probably always will be. I remember the first time I shot a gun. I shot a .22 at Jackson Arms in San Bruno. It was so tiny I thought I could swat the bullets with a ping pong paddle, but I was still scared to shoot it. It’s just too much power for one person. You are literally holding someone’s life in your hands, and who’s to say someone wouldn’t flip out and just shoot the person next to them? Still, I wanted to try it out. Sure it’s hot when a pretty girl can handle a gun, but I wasn’t in it for male approval or Instagram accolades. I’m paranoid as fuck, and watched too many movies where the person doesn’t know how to properly handle a gun and ends up losing a life because of it. I didn’t want to be one of those people. Safety. Always remember to take off the safety.

More than four years later, I’m standing at the entrance of Angeles shooting range in the Lake View Terrace hills feeling a little knot in my stomach. It would be my first time at an outdoor shooting range. I looked down the long aisle of men and big guns feeling a bit uneasy. I had just finished watching American Sniper and thought of how easy it would be for one of these people to go crazy and kill me. Most of the guns were more than half my size, there was no way I’d survive that. But my curiosity outweighed my nervousness. It was my request to go to the shooting range during my trip in LA, there was no way I would pass on the chance to shoot an AR15, AK47, and even an M18. Truth be told, I was so nervous my first round that it took me 5 minutes to take my first shot. Why? Because I couldn’t find the target. Why? Because I was using the wrong eye to look at it.

Rightfully so. I’m only 5’00” and weigh a buck 15. I was scared of the kick back being so hard I dropped the gun and accidentally shot someone. That didn’t happen, but I did get bruises on my right shoulder from the M1A recoil. But each shot I fired made me more excited to shoot the next. And even though I whined about shooting the M1A, I was pretty much addicted afterwards. It’s similar to the feeling I had when I jumped off Pele’s Chair in Hawaii, or just doing something scary for the first time in general. Once you do it, you can’t stop. In no way am I a gun connoisseur. I don’t think I’m a bad ass holding a gun, I’m not about to join the NRA (yet at least), and I’m barely even a good shot. I just believe that the existence of guns is CRAZY. You have this machine, that in the wrong hands can kill innocent people. Like I said, it’s just too much power. I wanted to learn how to shoot a gun, so that I can take back some of that power. I want to tame the beast.

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