God will judge between the nations, and settle disputes of mighty nations. Then they will beat their swords into iron plows and their spears into pruning tools. Nation will not take up sword against nation; they will no longer learn how to make war. – Isaiah 2:3-5
My first ever expedition to a shooting range (Tuesday) was both extremely interesting, and powerfully instructional. We were invited (me, Rebekah, Andrew, and Naomi) – and supervised – by cousin Ed and our nephew, Reed.
I started out with a .22 pistol, followed up with a high tech rifle, then emptied the chamber of a classic six-shooter. There were a few other weapons available, but I passed. For me, at least at the moment, I think the 25 rounds I fired were enough.
Rebekah impressed everyone with her shooting, then both Andrew and Naomi demonstrated remarkable marksmanship (Naomi was even accurate with a heavy sidearm).
I believe it was a good experience for me to handle the weapons. Until now I had never fully understood the potency of even a small firearm. I was surprised at the level of noise, impressed by the force of a single bullet, humbled by the explosive power of the shotgun, and shocked by the amount of damage at the point of impact.
Then I found myself disturbed at the whole premise of something designed so specifically and ingeniously to maim or kill another human being. Not re-purposed – like picking up a rock, or a baseball bat, or a shovel, or a knife in anger – but cunningly devised to take life. So I was interested, I was intrigued, I was educated, and I was horrified all at the same time.
Surprising, I found that I could not separate the sport of target shooting – something I thought I would enjoy – from the specter of the violence. From the perspective of holding a gun, the brutality seemed very personal.
I did, however, grab a few marvelous photos, so I’ll share them here. I’m grateful to Ed and to Reed for the experience, and it goes without saying that I understand I still have a lot to learn.
As for the other kind of shooting, Monday morning, we put together a foursome for golf, spending a delightful few hours negotiating the beautiful but treacherous Arrowhead Pointe Course.
Between us we donated a significant number of balls to the water and the woods, enjoyed a lot of fun, narrowly missed a hole-in-one, and managed to shoot some fairly decent scores.
It was good to be together, and a real privilege to walk around such a spectacular tract of land.
So enjoy the photographs – both of the golf course and the shooting range. Then say an extra prayer for peace in this world, both at home and abroad.
For me, the two shooting events reminded me that our freedom, and the quality of life we enjoy here in the United States, are blessings it’s imperative we appreciate with every fiber of our beings. How precious it is to experience life! But we cannot afford to ignore the direct relationship that exists between our ability to enjoy this beautiful world and the constantly tenuous and shifting balance of peace, justice, and responsibility.
– So, peace, to all, and more peace, and still more… DEREK
Derek has published seven books in the past decade (you can find them at https://www.amazon.com/Derek-Maul/e/B001JS9WC4), and there’s always something new in the works.
Before becoming a full-time writer, Derek taught public school in Florida for eighteen years, including cutting-edge work with autistic children. He holds bachelor’s degrees in psychology and education from Stetson University and the University of West Florida.
Derek is active in teaching at his church: adult Sunday school, and a men’s Bible study/spiritual formation group. He enjoys the outdoors, traveling, photography, reading, cooking, playing guitar, and golf.