Half cocked

Lisa Paine — Sports Editor

Lisa Paine — Sports Editor

I just don’t understand the logic sometimes used by large groups as it relates to audiences in the sporting venues.

In the most recent edition of the American Hunter, President David Keene relates how the London city government announced recently that “the very sight of firearms is so injurious to the mental health of young people” that it has prevented youngsters from taking part in a program that would have given them free tickets to the upcoming Summer Olympics to view the shooting events.

Are they kidding?!?

Today’s kids are so completely unaffected by the sight of guns with the vast numbers of video games that include shooting and killing. More importantly, this isn’t about the Rambo-style vigilante shooting they many still try to link to all uses of firearms. Rather, this is about watching some of the world’s best marksmen putting their skill sets to use, all while representing their countries for Olympic medals.

It shocked me that anyone in England would take this stance because so many countries competing are well renowned for their shooting teams. ThisincludesthegoodoldUSofA. The British Shooting Federation can’t be too pleased with the decision, nor the other countries. I can just imagine the conversations this has brought up…“Sorry, son, you can’t come watch mom’s/dad’s events because they might permanently scar you for life.” Absolute rubbish!

Kids all across the globe have been taking part in youth and collegiate shooting sports, and the London government’s views and statement are just plain ridiculous.

On this side of the pond, the National Shooting Sports Foundation champions the safe, SUPERVISED, and competitive nature of shooting guns with its many programs that carry over into adulthood for many shooting enthusiasts. Scholarships are also available for high school kids and college athletes alike that take part in the skeet and target clays shooting, and archery, which by the way, is a summer Olympic sport. I wonder if they are going to ban the viewing of that, too! Archery typically is one of the sports that you have tune into at 3 a.m. Rarely does it get the exposure of the other marquee sports.

Just to be clear, the shooting events at the upcoming Olympics have been around since the Athens games of 1896 and has increased to 15 events from the original three. The events range from pistol, rifle and shotgun events that include a running-target event for pistol and the rifle that tests a shooter’s accuracy to the shotgun events that include trap shooting.

Sweden, China, Australia, the Czech Republic, Cyprus, Denmark, Estonia, Mexico, France, Italy, Croatia, Holland, the US…need I go on? All have national shooting federations.

There certainly ought to be a public outcry on this one, simply because of the lame rationale and stupidity.

Locally, our high school athletes— girls and boys—participate under the umbrella of the Scholastic Shooting Sports Foundation and its Scholastic Clay Target Program. The Boy Scouts of America enjoy seeing one of their top three badges revolve around its shooting sports, that yes, include guns and bows. To say that the sight of these weapons are injurious is ludicrous. It’s a typical knee-jerk reaction to anything involving firearms. I’ve shot clay targets and I’m a competitive archer and neither certainly is injurious to the young. I’ve stood shoulder to shoulder at some of the nations largest archery events, and this included kids starting at age five and up. Past Olympic archery champs Ed Eliason, Jay Barrs, Richard Johnson, Denise Parker and others among them. Shooting sports injurious? My eye!

The local Boy Scout troops were the score keepers at the sporting clays tournaments I’ve shot in and they were super jealous that we got to shoot that day and they had to pull the clays and keep score. They marveled at the skill of the shooters and the rest of the world should be able to do the same without censorship.

Locally, Goodrich, Davison, Burton Bentley and other Genesee County high school teams also shoot competitive trap and skeet. Their aspirations to succeed at the next level is fully supported by agencies in the U.S. and no one is denying anyone the right to view them and others because it might do great permanent harm.


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