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Babe in Gunland

Babe in Gunland

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Published by aliza sherman

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Published by: aliza sherman on Jan 18, 2007
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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12/21/2012

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Babe in Gunlandby Aliza ShermanIf you really want to stop a conversation dead in its tracks, tell people you own agun. Depending on where you are located, people often don't know how toprocess the idea that a young woman is a proud, capable, unapologetic gunowner. Men aren't sure if you're a rabid, man-hating feminist arming yourself against the patriarchy. Women are a little more curious and might ask questions -why did you get a gun, what does it look like - but many of them would never consider handling a gun, much less owning one.I bought my gun in 1995 while living in New York City. I didn't buy it for self-defense as many people think. I bought it to gain confidence, face fears andlearn to feel comfortable with the power that comes with handling a weapon.When I applied for my gun permit through the NYPD, I was told that I should gofor a "home protection" license rather than a "target license" because it would beeasier to get. The home protection license meant I could keep my gun loaded inmy home but could only bring it to the shooting range once a month to shoot,carrying it in a locked box with the ammo separate.
 
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The target license allowed me bring my gun to the range to shoot as often as Iwanted, but I had to keep it in a locked box with ammo separate not only whencarrying it but also at home.I wanted a target license. My reason? How in the world would I learn to shoot agun if I could only go to the range once a month? I genuinely wanted to learn toshoot, to gain that skill. More than anything, I wanted to know that I could safelyhandle a gun and deal with the power that a gun represented.My fascination with guns has been long-standing. Ever since I was a young girl, Igravitated toward "shoot-em-up" movies and television shows. After bedtime, I'dpull a blanket over my head and across my 19 inch Zenith black and whitetelevision in my bedroom so I could surreptitiously watch
Starsky and Hutch
,
Charlie's Angels
and
Barretta
. I was in love with Dirty Harry. The bigger the gun,the better.Although I glorified guns in my fantasies, in reality I knew that they wereinanimate objects that had been so infused with power, danger, mystery and sinand had become a symbol of what was wrong with our society that owning oneseemed out of the question for years. When I finally decided to buy a gun, I tookthe entire process very seriously, taking lessons, reading up on them, talking topeople who owned them and making sure I was emotionally ready to shoot andown one.
 
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For me, learning to shoot a gun was an empowering and almost zen-likeexperience. The shooting instructor at 20 West 20th Street in Manhattan - anAsian guy named Darryl who strutted around the range with guns in holsters athis sides - told me that women are far better shooters than men."They have patience," he explained. "Men like to shoot rat-tat-tat-tat-tat. Womenlike to shoot POW...POW...POW." He showed me how to hold the gun - a 9mmSig Sauer 226 - and it was heavy and solid in my hand. With a slow release of air from my lungs and a gentle squeeze of the trigger, the gun in my hands explodedwith unbelievable sound and force. Adrenaline rushing. Heart pounding.I was still standing. I was alive.At first, I could barely hit some portion of the paper target 50 feet in front of me.Soon, I was able to hit the bulls-eye. Later, I traded in the bulls-eyes for caricatures of criminals and could hit their hand that was drawn strategically over their heart. Then I'd nail them between the eyes. Shooting took tremendousconcentration, steady breathing, and the innate acceptance of the power that Iheld in my hands. I was woman, hear my gun roar.When I decided to purchase my own gun, all of my "I'm so serious" attitude wentout the window. I wanted a bad-ass gun. I wanted an all-black, sexy-as-hell 9mm,

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