The gun hobby- or more properly hobbies- take in a lot of territory. Muzzle-loading, long-range rifle, cowboy action shooting, antiques, three-gun competition, collecting… there is a screw for every nut, and with the advent of the internet we can all find like-minded souls to share these interests with… and people that simply can’t resist telling that your particular interest is stupid. There is a technical term for these individuals.
We call them ‘assholes.’
As unfair as this is to that useful and worthy aperture, it is appropriate. Shit comes out of both of them. In the one case it’s a necessary function of biology. In the other it’s a function of disrespect, insecurity and a desire to feel superior.
Meet Brandon Wallace from Outlaw Innovations. I don’t know Brandon, but seems like a nice guy with some real talent. Among these talents is gun-spinning.
Gun-spinning is a uniquely American art form, with roots reaching back 150 years into a romanticized and colorful period of American history. It’s akin to juggling or, more appropriately, sword-dancing. It bears as much resemblance to a martial pursuit as those arts, but it is in the realm of firearms interests. It requires safety, practice and dedication. It may not be your thing, but it is a complex and impressive art worthy of respect, and deserves to be judged as what it is- a performance.
Brandon posted the video you see above to a Facebook group for revolver enthusiasts, and there was some interest… but there were also some assholes who just had to make themselves heard. One particular fellow said, and I am paraphrasing here, “When I draw my revolver it’s to get a good sight-picture and put rounds center-mass as quickly as possible, not to do some stupid shit with it.”
OK, the dude’s entitled to his opinion. I think it’s a stupid opinion, but I’m entitled to mine too. What I question is why he felt it was necessary to publicly express that opinion, particularly in social media. What purpose was served by this blatant show of disrespect and contempt?
If this were an isolated incident I’d be more inclined to shrug it off, but I see it all the time on social media, online forums etc. I seldom see it in person; maybe it’s less fun when faced with the immediate prospect of being punched in the nose.
“You have a Taurus? You’re stupid to trust your life to that!”
“You haven’t done force on force training, then your opinion is useless.”
“You don’t have the (flavor-of-the-month-Tacti-cool-thing)? Hard to take you seriously…”
“That fantastic plastic crap sucks. I like REAL guns!”
“You carry a .38? Real men carry calibers that begin with Four.”
“You’re real-life experience means nothing! I’ve been to classes!“
It goes on and on, and it never stops being boring, hurtful, pointless and divisive. I wish it was hard to fathom the motivation for this behavior, but it’s simple and obvious. They want you to know that they are better than you… and they want everyone else to know it too.
In a less enlightened age we might have attributed this to doubts about the size and quality of a certain male attribute, but in this more egalitarian age we have to acknowledge that women are as capable of being dicks as men are of having them.
This sad state of affairs is not limited to our community, of course. Whether you make jewelry, collect model trains or knit there’s always someone just aching for the chance to express their superiority by pointing out that they are better than you. But these communities are not under attack, facing the constant threat of having their rights limited, constrained or outright denied. The people in our community are. Nobody doing Crossfit, cosplay or quilting needs to worry that their pursuits will be outlawed. We do. In this day and age it would strongly serve our interests to hang together so that we do not hang separately. We need to be more inclusive and tolerant of our differences, not less. Don’t like ‘cowboy’ guns? Don’t like trick-shooting, Glocks, 1911s, revolvers? Then do what your mother taught you, and if you can’t say something nice keep your damn thoughts to yourself.
I know, I know… displaying respect and common courtesy is a lot to ask, especially when you subscribe to the pathetic notion that tearing down others makes you look better. It really doesn’t, but the argument that pointing out to others that you are an asshole is a public service is not sufficient to justify it.
Next time you feel the need to tear someone down to prop yourself up, keep your mouth shut, your fingers off the keyboard and consider what is wrong with you that you think this is the thing to do. Maybe a little honest self-examination will lead you to become a better person… someone that doesn’t need to be an asshole to feel better about themselves.
Check out Outlaw Innovations on Facebook; they do gunsmithing and some pretty darn nifty leather-work. Pretty good gun-spinner, too.
Michael Tinker Pearce, 11 February 2020
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