Tuesday, August 02, 2005

TASK #42 Hit Your Targets (Shoot a gun)

So I'm in Las Vegas, looking through all the little attraction flyers for things to do; magic shows, broadway shows, lounge acts, shoot a machine gun...what! Yup, they had a flyer to go to this shooting range to shoot a machine gun. Ok, just to clarify - I had absolutely no interest in shooting a machine gun (well, maybe just a little), but I decided to check it out to see if I could get my "target practice" challenge done.

I get to the empty parking lot of this place, in a not-so-nice part of town, and there's a bicycle cop parked at the far end yelling at what appeared to be a homeless, or intoxicated man about 20 feet ahead of him near the car entrance.
Mind you, it's like 11am, and the desert sun is beating down at no less than 98 degrees.

I consider not getting out of my car at all but reversing right back out of the lot and returning to the comfort of my beautiful, slot-filled hotel. But I figure, why not just go in and see what it costs to shoot a couple of rounds. So I get out, and start looking for the front door. The building was a wide, stout block of bricks and it didn't seem to have a front door. So I knew one of the 3 side doors had to be for the gun shop.
While I'm wandering around trying to figure out how the heck to get into this building I hear the cop yell, "I'm calling your brother." Now, why the cop was giving this homeless guy a play-by-play is beyond me. But sure enough, next thing I hear him say to his cell phone, is "yeah, I just wanted you to know you're brother is going to jail". Then I hear the homeless guy yell back, "F#$% my brother!" and he starts running for the street. Hilarious! It was like a scene right out of one of those Cops shows!

Of course now when things just start getting good I find the door. I considered standing there and watching this mayhem unfold, but no, I opt for the door, just in case this got ugly.

The store was a large rectagular room with a jewelry-store like glass counter in the back and along the right wall. But of course, there was no jewelry to be found, just guns, guns, and more guns. I thought it would be cool walking into that, but in truth it felt wrong. So many this around me that could kill just felt unnatural.

"Hello young man, what can I do for you today?" That was George. A jovial 5'9" black man, I would guess about 50 yrs old. If there was anyone I would have picked to help me make this challenge happen it was a guy like George, but I didn't know that yet.

I explained I wanted to shoot "sometime" but first wanted to check on pricing.
"Ok, what do you want to shoot?" Any gun would be fine, I explained. He looked at me rather curiously.
I thought it best to explain - so I went into how I was doing this because I had a life list from this book I'd gotten. He smiled, like he knew - like he had a list himself. And he did.

George just went into his story - he was on an adventure too - see his wife of 20 years had been diagnosed with a heart condition and they'd given her only 6 months to live. They decided right then and there to do what they wanted with the time they had left together.
They wrote out a list and started their travels. He looked at me with a big grin, "That was 5 years ago!" For they're next trip, he continued, they would head up to nothern Minnesota to camp out for 3 weeks and watch the bears come out of hibernation. Crazy.

George helped me pick a gun - I think it was a .38 - pick bullets, and grab a life-sized target sheet. One of those human body figures with the concentric target circles on him.
He got me some protective headphones, goggles, and hit a big red button on the wall to prepare the shooting range.

I followed him into the range and he showed me how to load the gun, how to line up the target and how to breathe to optimize my shooting. He also said I can't shoot at the head. Kind of disturbing that he had to explain that.

The first shot I took was a shocker - Boom! It was literally like an explosion in your hands. Shooting a gun in a controlled way is no joke, and not easy. But somehow I was able to hit the target within the target rings. I thought shooting 50 bullets would take forever. I was done before I knew it and I ahve to admit - it was kinda fun.

I did forget to ask him to take my picture, but I got to keep my target sheet which I will post here shortly.
And I certainly will never forget George. Good luck to you and your wife, my friend. And safe adventures.

Next up - confess!

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