13 July 2008

Planting A Seed

Ready Line contributor Jude Cuddy writes today of a Civilian Marksmanship Program event he helped coach this weekend in Southeast Ohio. He brilliantly captures the sense of purpose of these events, held all around the nation every week of the year. I participated in the clinic and practice match, the first time I had visited this particular club. My experience follows Jude's eloquent overview of the event, and its importance in today's society.

Planting A Seed

By Jude Cuddy

Most concerned Americans note the general decline of our culture, the lack of discipline exhibited by the younger generation, and the seeming disappearance of traditions once held dear to our nation. However, none of this was lacking this past Saturday at the Zanesville (Ohio) Rifle Club (ZRC) high-power rifle range.

A Civilian Marksmanship Program rifle clinic -- brainchild of the great President Theodore Roosevelt -- was held with 24 participants in attendance. Ages were from 12 to 75 - women, men and Junior (youth) shooters. In brief, the class consists of rifle familiarization, shooting positions, sight alignment, range procedures and commands. Safety is stressed throughout. The instructors are those that have many years of shooting experience at sanctioned matches and are members or officers of the club.

The firearms used were all United States military rifles, either those carried by our fathers and grandfathers, the M1 Garand during WWII ("the most effective battle implement ever devised," as stated by Gen. George S. Patton), or the AR-15 (semi-automatic version of the current service rifle) for the juniors. Keep in mind that the AR-15 is the rifle that every politician loves to hate.

Three Relays, eight firing points, 56 rounds each. Some shooters had never held or even fired a rifle, others only cursory exposure from a friend or relative. Some were very experienced. Some had not shot since 1951 and just wanted to prove that they "still have it." Everything went off without a hitch, thanks to all of the volunteer coaches that afforded one coach per shooter throughout the day.

Thankfully this is not an isolated occurrence. Classes such as this are held all over the country to bring new shooters into the sport. Clinics and matches take place virtually every weekend of the year somewhere in the United States.

The biggest non-news event was that no one got hurt. Not even a broken fingernail. The hated "Assault Rifle" --- both old and new versions - did not attack anyone. Of the 1,344 cartridges fired that day. . . 1,344 . . . all landed safely in the berm or backstop, harmlessly expending all of their evil energy into southern Ohio soil.

Everyone walked away with a sense of pride in a job well done. It is good to see that there are still those amongst us who exhibit the maturity to absorb the lessons being taught. The shooting sports benefit from bringing new members into the fold. Our country benefits from another crop of solid citizens that can now demonstrate their new found abilities. The skills learned today are for a lifetime and will be imparted again to those yet unborn.

Semper Fidelis,
Jude T. Cuddy

NOTE: BG here. As I mentioned above, I participated in the clinic and match on Saturday. I was delighted that in attendance were Mr. Cuddy, a ZRC member and long-time high-power competitor, and Ellen Wickham, a central Ohio educator who has joined me to testify numerous times in favor of pro-gun legislation before the Ohio General Assembly. You have seen both Jude and Ellen's names in this journal often. They are regular contributors to The Ready Line -- two people for whom I have immense respect. I also had the opportunity to finally meet two individuals of whom I had heard much -- Mr. Joe Yaw, and Mr. Jeff Dutro. Two great guys who ran an outstanding clinic.

While I have practiced with the M-1 on and off for several years, it had been three years or so since I participated in a Garand match. The classroom portion segued into live fire. Military firearms abounded, with ammo aplenty for all participants. Following an excellent morning clinic, my group started off working the pits. I squadded with Ellen, servicing her target first, and she servicing mine later in the day. Of course, no match can occur without a rain delay. Rain was not expected until late evening, but it is Ohio, and the weather does change hourly. By the time it was my turn on the line, several of us were soaked from the walk back up the hill. From the line, my initial sighter shots were right on. A 9, a 10 and an X. Then a miss . . . It would be that kind of day. With prone slow fire I had strong scores. Consistent, too. But as the heat came up, I was cooking inside my shooting coat. By the end of the clinic match, when we fired offhand slow-fire, the proverbial wheels had come off the bus. In two different strings I had two misses. Misses will kill your score. Even my new buddies in the pits did not believe the misses, and my target was occasionally slow in coming back up as they searched for bullet holes. Not like me at all, and I got frustrated. Which raised my heart rate and pretty much did me in. Still it was a ball. Simply put, you will never have more fun punching holes in paper than taking part in a CMP match.

Of course the media was not present to see people from age 12 to 75 being trained. The gun control folks say training people in the use of firearms is just dangerous . . . that we are training future killers. They hate that this program exists. Can you imagine? More than 1,344 cartridges were expended in just a few hours. And NO ONE was hurt. Not a single shot was fired in anger. As Mr. Cuddy noted in a conversation we had later over dinner, safety and discipline are just out of fashion these days. That's why the legacy media (aka MSM) does not bother to show up to well publicized events such as these. They don't want to report on it either. Their preference is to report on carnage and mayhem. Or the possibility of carnage and mayhem. Which is why lots of people with "Black Rifles" merit no attention, from a media perspective, on a firing range in a competition. But if a politician hold a news conference about the dangers of "The Black Gun," or invite people to a staged "demonstration" at a police range, to warn of mayhem because "Black Rifles" exist, the media gathers like lemmings. Like sheep . . .

So to far away shrill complainers like Paul Helmke, Josh Sugarmann and Sarah Brady . . . and to those closer to home -- like Toby Hoover of the Toledo area . . . I have a question . . .

Did you feel fear on Saturday? Did you? . . .

No??? That's right. It was like any other Saturday in America. Where family events such as gun shows and CMP clinics abound. And no one gets hurt. Not even a broken nail.
One of the safest places you can be on the planet is at a CMP match on any given Saturday.

I have already filled out my membership application for ZRC.

I'll be back.


Ellen said...

Not to contradict you or Mr. Cuddy, but I did break a nail! It was worth it though and I too will be back to kick some butt at ZRC. It was a Garand day! Thanks to all who made it possible

Brent Greer said...

I am truly glad you had a good time!