Tuesday, August 24, 2010


On Mimi’s birthday in June, I ended up taking her to the gun shooting range in Bellevue; the experience was a pretty unqualified success: she got to fire several hundred rounds of bullets from a Walther P22 pistol at a zombie-themed target under the helpful hand of a former student of mine who said that his job at the range afforded him the one place to use his skills acquired in the Army and who threatened, after assisting the kid, that he would make a Republican out of me yet; consequently, all the kids in the neighborhood want a similar celebration and, as a result, I ended up spending all day yesterday at a much more involved version of the event in honor of her friend’s birthday at the Tacoma Rifle and Revolver Club, a members-only facility to the south of Seattle where, in a park-like setting, folks can blast away at targets to their hearts’ content.

The kid and the birthday boy got an all-day long lesson in marksmanship, starting with air rifles and progressing up through .22 caliber firearms and culminating in something bigger and louder that I didn’t get all that close a look at since I wasn’t wearing the requisite ear protection for standing nearby.

I amused myself during the four-plus hours mainly by reading the last half or so of Jane Austen’s novel, Persuasion, which struck me as a kind of amusing juxtaposition to what was taking place all around me; there I was enjoying the mannered machinations of 19th century British society members, my daughter was firing bullets from an arsenal of guns provided to her by a guy with an NRA sticker on his truck and a vanity license plate that read “SYCOGZR,” (which took us all a little while to translate into Psycho Geezer.)

I’m glad the kid had the opportunity, though; back in Jane Austen’s time, the only weapon available to her would have been wit and manners.


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