Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Why we never say the "W Word" in recreational shooting sports.

If you have ever participated in a shooting education class hosted by Scouts, 4-H, the NRA or similar orgaizations, you might have heard someone getting scolded for using "the W-Word" or Weapon (oops, I said it!).  Sorry.  I've heard the wrath of an instructor several times, because I'm in that line of work, I've been chewed out myself in the early days and I've had to call a few others out in my own classes.  This is why...

The word weapon defined is any instrument or device for use in attack or defense in combat, fighting, or war, as a sword, rifle, or cannon; or anything used against an opponent, adversary, or victim.

Is that why we are teaching youth and youth volunteers shooting sports?  I think not.  We are teaching kids and the community safe, recreational shooting to build marksmanship skills, discipline and responsibility in the use of a firearm.  We leave weapon training to law enforcement and our military service members - where that word is appropriate.  It also has perfectly reasonable context in conversations about home and self protection.

The next time you're in a training situation, either as the coach or the student, I encourage each of us to call the firearm just that, a firearm or even better call it by its name.  Use the specific terms for them such as rifle, pistol, handgun, shotgun, etc.  That's more appropriate, and it won't leave images in the mind of your students of taking someone's life.

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