Student Range Visit Reflection #9: I Was Surprised By How Much I Enjoyed the Feeling

Students in my Sociology of Guns Seminar are required to visit a gun range with their classmates early in the semester and to write a reflection essay based on the experience (see the assignment).

Below is the ninth student reflection essay for Fall 2020. (Find the first here, the second here, the third here, the fourth here, the fifth here, the sixth here, the seventh here, and the eighth here.)

Like so many students, this one does a great job of grappling honestly with her thoughts and feelings. That’s all I ask in this assignment.

Sociology of Guns student at the range. Photo by Robin Lindner/RLI Media

By Shi Williams

As a kid, I grew up in inner-city Boston where gunshots, or “fireworks” as my mom used to call them, faded into background noise. Unsettling as it may seem, they always sounded so far away, and my house created an illusion of safety that I blissfully accepted in my youth. By the time I was older, I stopped hearing them at all until my friends would come over and point out the booming sounds that would occasionally ring throughout the house. My mom never seemed concerned, and I never really thought about what could be on the receiving end of the sounds.

When reflecting on my initial nervousness going to the gun range, I realized that since my time in Boston, my reality has become much less shielded.

Prior to our class trip on Tuesday, I would have never thought that I would hold a gun, not to mention actually fire one. Upon exiting the car and hearing the first shot from the parking lot, I felt myself drop to the ground, startled by the initial boom. Although I have heard this sound many times, the proximity and loudness still shook me to my core. Before stepping into the gun range that day, the only time I had ever even seen a gun in real life was on the waistline of a cop. I never truly understood why people would use gun ranges as a place to de-stress.

However, as soon as I was able to take a gun into my own hands, I felt a control over the situation which had a way of settling my nerves instantly. After missing by a considerable amount on my first couple of shots, I felt determined to improve and got excited stepping up to the plate every time thereafter. I was surprised by how much I enjoyed the feeling of consistently hitting the target, and I definitely did not expect it to be so fun! I walked out of the range that day thinking that I was pretty cool for getting at least some shots on target and even exclaimed that I would consider doing it again.

Sociology of Guns student range visit. Photo by Robin Lindner/RLI Media

Although my time at the range exceeded my expectations, I did feel somewhat conflicted when reflecting on the experience. In the past months, I have seen numerous graphic videos exposing gun violence and showing how they can be detrimental to society. Consequently, I have only really thought about how much better the world would be without guns, instead of considering the reasons why they are important in the first place.

I had a lot of fun shooting, but it was hard not to think about the video I watched hours before of Jacob Blake’s attempted murder with the same weapon. I truly feel that gun laws and regulations are a complex topic that many people form opinions on prematurely, myself included.

My hope is that this class is going to help me unpack the different aspects of how gun use, or lack of use, impacts society at all levels so that I can form a more educated opinion of what I think our country should do.

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6 thoughts on “Student Range Visit Reflection #9: I Was Surprised By How Much I Enjoyed the Feeling

  1. Pingback: Student Range Visit Reflection #10: I Have Always Viewed Gun Ownership as a Normal Part of Life | Gun Curious

  2. Pingback: Student Range Visit Reflection #11: I Am Still Struggling to Come to Terms with Enjoying My Experience | Gun Curious

  3. Pingback: Student Reflections on a Trip to a Gun Range | 357 Magnum

  4. Pingback: Collected Posts on Sociology of Guns Seminar | Gun Curious

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