THE LIBERTARIAN ENTERPRISE
Number 867, April 10, 2016
"Clowns" is the only proper word for this
bunch, although "killer clowns" might be
more accurate and appropriate.
Special to L. Neil Smith's The Libertarian Enterprise
It was 1967 or so in the basement of the Compton police station, back when there was a Compton police department. the class was FIREARMS, a part of the Compton College police science department, later to become administration of justice.
First day on the range there were about six positions, each with a six inch K-38 in place. We were instructed to stand at a range position and pick up the revolver and point it at the standard 25 bull's-eye target, 25 yards away. All the students did that, except me. I opened the cylinder, checked to see if it was loaded, closed the cylinder and pointed it at the target as ordered.
The instructor, Lt. Dick Bidwell, went from one end of the range to the other and from that simple action evaluated the amount of experience each had with firearms. When he got to me, he said GUN NUT! I countered FIREARMS ENTHUSIAST.
I never gave that much thought until later. Finished the class with a passing grade and went on to the next class.
Years later I dealt with dozens of so called "man with a gun" calls in both Riverside and Orange County parks. I never had a problem with any of these folks, because, like Lt. Bidwell, I could tell the intention of the offender by the way he or she handled the firearm, and it was always, plinking or hunting.
Looking back, I decided this is something that needs to be taught. Man with a gun call for most police departments means bring out the heavy artillery, SWAT, helicopters, and whatever fancy gadgets happen to be around the department arsenal. How much easier and cheaper it would be if all had the knowledge and instinct of Lt. Bidwell. That only comes with years of experience and training.
By 1990 the golden state decided in all its wisdom that park rangers needed to go to cop school. Not the full blown run you to death academy, but some really simple stuff. Powers of arrest, felonies vs. misdemeanors, handcuffing. Working wilderness parks I never had a use for cuffs. I tried them once on a mountain lion, but they kept slipping off. No wrists.
Mostly material presented at cop school I had learned in the early sixties at Compton College. The really scary thing was when we got to firearms. A day or two of classroom and about the same on the range, but my, had things changed since Bidwell's class and my hungry years of working minimum wage security.
Both the college class and security guard qualification were one hand, 25 yards, bull's-eye target. The college class was more advanced and included low light or night shooting. Not much difference with security guard training or qualification. I don't remember anyone failing the firearms class nor failing to qualify. Cop school (PC832 CONCEPTS) was a whole different ball game.
Many of the students were obviously afraid of their firearms. In such an anti gun society as ours, this was probably the first time any had held a gun.
The course was unbelievable dumbed down from both the college police and security guard courses of the sixties. Instead of shooting with one hand, we used two. Instead of a smaller bull's-eye target we had giant people size silhouette targets. Instead of 25 yards it was 3, 7 and 15 yards. Even more disappointing was many went through the course 3 and 4 times and still couldn't qualify. No wonder MAN WITH A GUN call creates such panic. If law enforcement people are afraid of their own firearms, just imagine the terror they must feel when a citizen is holding one.
So, what's the solution? Bring back youth shooting!
I was very fortunate to have a grandfather who was a gunsmith and was handling firearms about the time I learned to walk. I remember shooting with my boy scout troop and our DeMolay chapter had a shooting team. Simple answer, get folks aquinted with firearms early in life. Bring back ROTC, junior shooting teams, and firearms safety instruction as young as possible.
Just click the red box (it's a button!) to pay the author
This site may receive compensation if a product is purchased