So many good sources come to mind to consider for an Independence Day Newsletter: Teddy Roosevelt, Thomas Jefferson, Ronald Reagan and more. But with pondering, it came to me that my best consideration of topic and source was here at Gunsite last week.
As the United States celebrates our 239th birthday, honoring life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, what should we look to as a source of excitement and hope for the future? Does it come from the writings and wisdom of our founding fathers, from review of our Constitution, from reading Teddy Roosevelt? That answer was on the Gunsite Ranch.
The Youth 250 Pistol Class was hosted here at Gunsite again. (The first of two for 2015.) It was a great source of inspiration and hope to see, visit with and experience great young people from all over the Republic coming together as responsible young Americans and learning life responsibilities.
Fourteen (14) teenagers met Sunday evening for a barbeque and “meet and greet” prior to class on Monday. If you follow us on Twitter and Instagram you saw the photo of them gathering together, establishing their nicknames for the week and getting to know one another. The week flew from there.
These young men and women carried their pistols all week as they learned Mindset, Gun handling and Marksmanship from the great Gunsite staff. They were treated as adults and acted like adults. While they learned the responsibility of gun ownership and of shooting, unbeknownst to them, they also learned much more.
If that young person learns to be responsible with a firearm, they are more apt to be responsible with dating, driving, pharmaceuticals and life in general. They learned this and much more and had a great time doing so.
So where does the excitement and hope for the future come from this?
In my prior life in law enforcement, it was clear that only bad news really made the media. While young people do many good things daily, all that makes the “top of the fold” is the bad news. As a result, we may get a jaded view of our future generations.
These young Americans rejuvenated my hope in America and our future. “Please” and “Thank you” were words spoken regularly. “Yes sir” and “No Sir” were not said because it was “Boot Camp.” Rather, the manners were exhibited because of what they had learned from their parents and grandparents during their brief time on our Earth and was being said easily. Their conversations were more than just the current sports or media sensation. They are aware of what is going on in our world. I was fortunate to spend a short amount of time with them in the Classroom and Range. It was the highlight of my day and week and we look forward to the next Youth Class is in mid-July. (For that matter, we are already planning the enhanced possibilities for the Youth Classes in 2016!)
Independence Day is even more exciting for me now, knowing by personal experience that there are many great young people out there to take up our fight to maintain our inalienable rights as Americans. (Que patriotic music in the background.) There is hope for the Republic.
There are two seats left in the July 13 Youth 250 Pistol Class and in the accompanying 250 Pistol Class. Don’t wait and miss out on an exhilarating life experience.
July also brings the Pistol, Carbine and Shotgun Simulator Courses. If you are a Pistol, Carbine or Shotgun graduate and want to tune up a bit and relive the excitement of the Funhouse, Playhouse, West Wash, North Draw, Donga and more, this is the chance. You warm up a bit with the respective weapon system and jump in the simulators.
Remember to check the calendars for the Off Site Courses. Indiana continues their long tradition of 150 Pistol Courses at the Boone County Sheriff’s Office in Central Indiana. There are still a few seats available. If you have not had the “Gunsite Epiphany,” this is a good start without traveling to the high desert. The end of the month is “Defensive Vehicle Tactics” in the Nashville TN area with Rangemaster Ron Fielder. Take advantage of these opportunities in your area of the country.
Also, the beginnings of the 2016 Gunsite Training Calendar is on the website. You will see a few new classes being offered as well as the tried and true courses. A few new classes are in the makings as well, to be added later.
As we continue to learn of the Social Media and how we can use it, we look for old Gunsite photos. If you have some photos of your experience at Gunsite these last 39 years, please consider sharing them with us. Email them to me (firstname.lastname@example.org) with a brief description so we may use them on Instagram, Facebook and the website. If there is a good story with it, all the better.
In closing, go out and celebrate Independence Day. Visit your community celebration, parades and fireworks. Remember to remove your hat, stand and cover your heart when “Old Glory” marches past. We have great reason to celebrate.
“But I must not stand here and brag all night. However, you won’t mind a body bragging a little about his country on the Fourth of July. It is a fair and legitimate time to fly the eagle. I will say only one more word of brag–and a hopeful one. It is this. We have a form of government which gives each man a fair chance and no favor. With us no individual is born with a right to look down upon his neighbor and hold him in contempt. Let such of us as are not dukes find our consolation in that. And we may find hope for the future in the fact that as unhappy as is the condition of our political morality to-day, England has risen up out of a far fouler since the days when Charles Ist ennobled courtesans and all political place was a matter of bargain and sale. There is hope for us yet.” Mark Twain
See you Down Range,