By Celeste Miller
I was raised in a household where beliefs were firm and silly notions were told to see the front door. My parents are of strong character and mind. Growing up under their guidance greatly benefitted me; it still does today. I was never raised to fear guns. Perhaps fear those who wield them, yes, but not guns as objects themselves.
My family comes from a background where guns played a key part of our lifestyle. Whether it be sheep herding or hunting, it’s just in our blood. It’s in everyone’s, if you care to think about your ancestors. Guns have been around for a long time, and they aren’t going to disappear overnight. But there are two sides to this story.
I met a woman on one of my shooting experiences at a range during an Appleseed shoot. I never spoke with her personally, but my father did. But I could see how she feared the guns. The banging as a round was shot made her flinch. She needed the encouragement of the shoot bosses and instructors to even begin to ease into the process. But over the course of those two days, I could see her growing more at ease with the rifle.
Learning how to put lead on paper and make the shot.
Learning to not fear.
There are some who are raised to love guns, who find it an everyday part of their lives. Increasingly our everyday lives are filled with work, deadlines, kids needing rides to activities and technology. It is hard to get out to a range. It is difficult to find the time to learn. It’s easy to fear something that could cause so much harm.
But it doesn’t have to be so. Just one day out of a 24/7 schedule can be all it takes. To learn that you can change something. Learn something that your grandfather knew. Learn a skill that may or may not help you.
There is something liberating when you get down to business, rifle in hand, taking in deep breaths as you focus on the target ahead. In the pull of the trigger and recoil. The bang that fills your ears and the smell of smoke.
I was taught not to fear guns. I was taught to be smart with guns.
There are people who abuse this weapon, who make it so that they are feared. But that is a weakness I wasn’t raised to let hinder me. I wasn’t raised to cower in fear. That’s not who I was meant to be, and I’m not going to let that fear dictate who I will become.
That woman at the range who feared guns, walked away loving the experience. Walked away with a smile, telling us that she was going to go buy herself a firearm. She came with fear and left with strength.
So I ask you to ponder this question, take the time to think it out and be smart: How many of you want to get rid of your fears? And how many of you want to be strong?
About the author: Celeste Miller fired her first shot with a rifle not that many years ago. She’s since become involved in Appleseed as an Instructor-in-Training. When she turns 18 in a few years, she’ll probably become a full instructor.