What could be more romantic than sharing a handgun with a potential suitor? Just about anything, I discovered only moments into Singles Night at the Firing Range.
Maybe it was how our retired-cop-turned-gun-safety-instructor led off with an anecdote about a single girl blowing away the knife-wielding guy who broke into her house, or the way he described women as hyenas and men as lions, or just the frequent references to “your assailant.” Something, anyway, was making me feel more queasy than sexy.
But not my fellow attendees. When I signed up for the event, my friends had all assured me that I’d meet a bunch of hipsters, there for the irony or even, like me, for the blogging potential. After all, we live in Philadelphia, where boys wear skinny jeans and flaunt their masculinity by brewing their own beer.
It must have slipped our minds that Philly is also the city that averaged about one gunshot death per day for the past few years. My fellow attendees apparently wanted to get their share of the action–on the dispensing end, of course. I grew up around men who belonged to the NRA and had gun racks on their trucks. But it never occurred to me that there were people would only allow Obama to pry their guns out of their cold, dead hands (to paraphrase the poster in the firing range bathroom) because they wanted to shoot each other.
I learned real quick when my shooting partner (the firing range equivalent of a speed date) broke the ice by asking, “Who do you want to shoot?” I laughed but HE WASN’T KIDDING! Even the more normal attendees could tell I didn’t fit in. Later in the evening, one of the girls who I had thought I got along well with said to me, “You seem really nice. What are you doing here?” It gradually became apparent that they were all violent crazies, even the organizer, who initially seemed like a nice suburban type. (She works in marketing, for god’s sake.)
After my time on the front lines, she asked, “So do you think you could shoot someone?”
“No way!” I said.
“Yeah, it is a little tough to get the hang of it,” she said.
“No, I mean, like morally, I couldn’t shoot someone,” I explained.
“Hunh,” she said.