Continuing on from my previous post, Update 1. I learned a great deal about myself at that class, and I advise everyone to attend it if possible. I plan on attending further classes at the Pathfinder School as time and finances permit.
So, since I was on the subject of personal skills, what others have I been trying to improve on? Land navigation, comms as well as first aid round out the list. Shooting is a constant for me and was the focus of my biggest endeavor to network. If it wasn’t for guns there would be no “right wing”, conservatives, libertarians, or probably even red necks. What else would people really have to rally around? Taxes? Immigration? Government debt? Invasion of privacy? Deep state pedophiles? Nobody cares about those things nearly as much as their guns. So, I started a shooting club. No, not a sporty spice shooting club with jersey’s and magnetic holsters, but a practical shooting club, practicing practical shooting skills. The kind where your typical gun guy can grab his regular gear and come out and use it in a realistic manner.
It’s a lot of fun, and I’ve met a lot of great people through it, but it’s a shit load of work. So much so, that I’m burnt out on it. I got permission from a local land owner, who is very pro-gun, to build a range there just for this practical shooting. I built a 10’ tall tower, as well as a 20×20 shoot house. Complete with steel pistol targets, and rifle targets from 300-600 yards, and about 50 paper target stands. It’s about as close to a real fire and movement range as I could possibly hope to have. The problem I currently face is I have no time or energy to network and organize things for it anymore.
One thing, as cynical as it sounds, I have learned through it is that people or more than happy to take, but rarely want to give. I’m not necessarily talking about money, but more about time. I’m sure somehow this is mainly my fault. Perhaps if I was a stronger, more convincing leader, I might have been able to motivate them to help more. Or maybe I really am just a good-intentioned arrogant prick. It just seems like when it’s time to play, suddenly there’s a bunch of people coming out of the wood work, but when it’s time to work, not so much. That’s not to say I haven’t had any help, but honestly there should have been a lot of people helping that just didn’t.
All I’ve tried to do, is put a friendly, fun face to tactical training. I made a game of it, with rules requiring the use of cover and requiring good solid hits. I made a course that was physically demanding, much like a real combat training range. I even disregarded all use of weapons classes, instead allowing individual shooters to use the equipment they would most likely want to use in a real life and death situation. But still, I’m faced with less than ideal results.
The ironic thing is that the most enthusiastic shooters are mostly former combat arms guys. I even had a 65 year old 101st Airborne vet come watch, and comment on how fun it looked and how he wished he could take part. Quite a few Marines and Soldiers have traveled hours to come shoot, all with nothing more than word of mouth advertising. The bad thing is that none of them are local, and so it’s the civilians that I have the hardest time getting to commit.
Granted, these aren’t Elmer Fudd’s, they have more money tied up in tactical gear and firearms than I do. Some have even been to a few 2-3 day classes. I’ve thought a lot about why this is the way that it is. I’ve got a few theories.
One is that there is a distinct difference between a collector and a player/user. Some people collect cars, guns, or tools to simply look at them and feel good that they have one. Maybe put some pictures on Instagram and feel good about the fact that they own an item with a particular image or idea attached to it, that so many other people desire.
I think this same psychology is even being used by companies like Black Rifle Coffee Company to make the tactical beard guy meme marketable and more attainable to people who haven’t really earned it. Cool SF guy with hot chick and beard says something is cool, check. Grow a beard, check. Get a coffee subscription, check. Wear the T-shirt, check. Put them together on Instagram, check. Never volunteered to go fight in a global war on terror and now feeling regret, but feel better that I look like I did, check.
Standby for incoming rant: By the way, I love their coffee, and support them fully with a 2 bag a month habit, and I applaud every other veteran who finds a way to be successful in today’s world. It just pisses me off when I see guys my age, who could have volunteered to go to Iraq or the Stan, but didn’t, now middle-aged and buying into an image and then strutting around the local range with their toys, putting Instagram photos up with their plate carriers and III% patches; it’s borderline stolen valor in my book…I digress. Fuck that, no I don’t. Go play golf with all the other overweight former class of 200_ who dicked off in college and ignored two wars. I don’t even do that photo op shit out of respect for the ones who didn’t make it back who really deserve all the glory. Hell, I didn’t even go to the VA to cash in on disability because I felt guilty, I’m damn sure not going to do it for social media….Now I digress. Rant over.
Other people buy cars, guns, or tools to use them, and use them hard. You either idolize the tool, or you idolize the creative process that the tool is a part of. In the case of practical shooting, this creative process results in a better understanding of yourself, your gear and your weapon, and how to use them more effectively. You don’t get that with Instagram likes. Imagine a master wood worker being more concerned with taking selfies with his new saw blade instead of building something…
Another reason, is that I’ve built a mirror of sorts. Something that reflects the truth. Or maybe more like I’ve established a bar or standard, and many egos have been shattered on its rocky shores – including my own. It’s easy to look over one’s arsenal or assortment of weapons and equipment and think that it somehow makes them a more effective or dangerous man. Walter Mitty anyone? I’ve blown up weapons caches with more firepower than most of these people have ever seen.
Having a bunch of stuff by no means makes any personal change in you, nor does it automatically imbue you with magical powers and +10 Damage Per Second, and I think that hard slap of reality is very hard for a lot of people. Maybe deep down, that’s what I was trying to do all along. Get these people out of their comfort zones so they will quit being delusional. Guess it backfired. You’re not a hard-dicked bad ass because you bought a bunch of shit, and if you don’t change your ways a real hard dicked bad ass is going to show you that the painful way if this thing ever goes T.U. Better start learning to sit while you pee in other words.
Maybe that’s the real problem. Maybe that’s why the F.A.G.’s get it, and the civvies don’t. They’ve seen collapsed societies already and know damn well it isn’t something to take lightly. They’ve learned that the only law in WROL is a strong man with a gun. But the arrogance of the modern American male won’t allow the idea to creep in that maybe, just maybe, they might not be as big and bad as they think, and they could use some help and more training.
And even then, if the training isn’t popular on social media, it may as well not exist. I mean, why do something if it doesn’t get you likes on Facegram or Instabook from complete strangers, right? I’ve busted my ass to try and organize some of the best training, from reputable F.A.G.’s, at prices that you’d have to be a mental midget to not take. Nope, no takers. But we’ll make videos of doing up drills with ‘so and so’ from Instagram/youtube/facebook. $1,500 for a new toy that goes bang like the last toy? No problem. $400 for valuable life lessons learned by blood and sweat and years of dedication? Sorry, no can do.
I’m not particularly religious, but I can imagine Noah must have felt some of the same things when he was building the Ark. Did he ever just throw up his hands and say “Fuck it, drown you dumbasses”?