In a world where self protection and self preservation is such a real concern – the opportunity FINALLY presented itself for me to go to the gun range. (Brief background: My baby sister, has her license to carry and recently started going to the range to practice. I pursued my license to carry and was always interested in going to practice but never had the time.
This time we made plans to go together – I was so excited to bond and do something different. Side note: Aren’t you tired of the same ole stuff in life? I was so glad to go do something different.)
Neither pro-violence or pro-gun. I am pro-protect myself and my family by any means necessary.
We pulled into the secluded wooded area, I was probably excited the way my children are when they see their presents under a lit Christmas tree.
Hearing the pop pop sound, I knew we were close. However, the cautious over analytical person in me said, “What if a stray bullet comes your way?” I pushed passed the thought.
I should probably share – I am not a daredevil by nature. I have no desire to ride rollercoasters at the amusement parks, I experienced enough near death, real life experiences to be comfortable (almost excited to) eating fried dough, cotton candy and hold everyone’s bags while they prepare to feel the flip of their stomachs and scream like death is near. No thank you- I’ll stand by to make the call or go get help in case something happens. God forbid, the ride malfunctions – maybe that teenager or underpaid adult was not thorough in their quality check before the park opened. I can think of a thousand things that can go wrong.
As we enter the facility there were men, walking around servicing customers who were purchasing firearm and respective supplies (bullets, holsters, etc). A much different life, than growing up in Roxbury – seeing guns and knowing to never touch them because I didn’t want my fingerprints to even be associated, in case some prior crime had been affiliated with the firearm. My life is a testimony.
Seeing them walk around freely, was similar to having police walking around with their gun in their holsters but knowing they were just regular people. I was like yes, no crazy man attacking innocent people will get far. I was ready for my training. I signed the waiver – which to me was sealing my death with no recourse to my family if something ‘accidentally happened’ to me.
I signed, following my life lessons: no risk, no reward. The waiver was the barrier between standing in the waiting area or moving closer to our intended purpose.
A lane opened for us, it was our turn to select some firearms to ‘try’ and since it was my first time, I solicited the advice of the ‘expert’ – the man behind the counter with the gun on his waist – no other indication of his expertise. This whole process for me, was still risky. He checked each gun we selected and put them in a patched case. As we walk back, my sis gives me the rundown on the protective ear and eye gear. Ok! Ready. We walk towards the room where the shots are coming from, they get louder. As the door opens and I hear the bangs and pops closer and closer – all of my life skills from growing up in Roxbury/Dorchester kicked in. In my mind, remember personal space, too close is a threat, you hear that pop, you drop that bike and run in the opposite direction. But now, I’m walking toward and in the direction of them. I had to coach my body not to run…. I am dead center in an enclosed environment, I was taught to run from.
In that moment, I received my revelation and knew what God has been trying to get me to understand.
In my mind I hear: “The things you are use to running from, I called you to dwell in. This is how you get to the places you’ve never been. I called you to transform your thinking about the environment so I can do greater in and around you.”
Hearing the different bangs and pops, I instantly knew from unofficial life education and training, when a machine gun versus a hand gun was used.
In the moment, I had to adjust and tell myself, I will not run. All while the chaos of bullets flying and sounds of clips reloading.
Meanwhile, my sister is unbothered headed straight to our assigned lane, I was so glad she knew where she was going. I remember just following her feet because in those moments – I was having a pep talk, coaching myself that this was not a former life and I was safe. I could not comprehend what was happening around me. She was in a familiar environment as she removed the guns from the cases and began to load the clips. I needed a moment to observe. To gather my senses, it seemed unreal.
My turn: It was my turn to hit the target. She handed me the gun. I smiled inside because I knew I did not need to worry about a ‘body’ (that’s a good term for association with a prior crime) attached.
As I took the loaded firearm, I remind myself the rules of safety – I did not want to be responsible of accidentally hitting someone else. I held it, closed one eye and look over the barrel at my intended target……
After a few more rounds, I discovered my preferences and was a better shooter than I considered. We laughed and joked (cautiously holding or placing the guns on the counter) about our target having no chance. We both are really good shooters.
Reflection: In an environment, I could not think of functioning in – the longer we stayed I naturally tuned out the noise of bullets flying.
I’d adjusted and was now confident that the what ifs would not happened.
Life lesson: What scared me and would have initiated an immediate reaction was now just background noise.
“You have to leave your comfort zone to receive what God has for you in this New Dimension” – Bishop TD Jakes 11/29/2018