Friday, June 04, 2010

The Squirrelhunters

Despite the expert coaching of the Lancastrian dwarf I didn’t much enjoy shooting and I didn’t particularly like myself for the bits I did enjoy. This might have helped harden my lack of sympathy for the libertarian argument for guns-as-toys, but there are other, grimmer reasons too. Anyway, I don’t see why people need to own guns for reasons outside of occupational usefulness and I think the fewer guns there are about the place, the better. There may be a further tightening of our already tight laws, as after Dunblane – gun legislation is, after all, the only possible outlet for our desire to do something practical in the wake of the Cumbria horrorshow – or there may not. Personally I wouldn’t oppose further tightening on the basis that the British Olympic shooting team can’t practice (who cares?) or that blasting shotguns is fun (so is speeding on the motorway, if you’re a certain type of man).

Just over a week before Cumbria I was strolling the bottommost lunchtime lane in aching sunshine when some unseen shootists above, but not nearly far enough above, began blasting away. It was fearfully loud in the valley and annoyingly unrhythmical– what was peaceful became fractious and tense. After each shot I heard disconcerting whirrings and pings in the long grass above the lane. All local animal life buggered off and all enjoyment was ruined. I turned around and headed back, half-expecting to feel the hot sting of a wayward pellet at any moment (strangely, I specifically felt that my right ear would be shot off, can’t explain why).

The shootists were, I suppose, the camouflaged squirrelhunters for whom the Local Character showed such withering contempt. I wouldn’t necessarily have wanted to march up to them to put flowers in their shotgun barrels, but I did want to say “Oh, grow up.”

30 comments:

Willard said...

I thought the reason that shotguns are still allowed is so that farmers can shoot rabbits. Or do I have that wrong?

Either way, I'm for a complete ban. The only person who seems to delight in shotguns is Vinnie Jones, which pretty much makes the argument. No need for them. Let's forgo the Olympic bronze for shooting, annoy Vinnie, and let the rabbits run free.

malty said...

Anyone want to buy a used double barrelled twelve bore? going cheap, the problem is catapults are somewhat inaccurate, I guess that I will just have to swear at the little sods

Gaw said...

So the countryside should be run for the sole benefit of people who occasionally stroll through it?

Sean said...

Fake photos, Pictures of dead animals and now all Shooters are mad, or potential mad.

I challenge you to a duel. Its time I brought this sad blog to an end, my honour is insulted.

Brit said...

Yes Gaw - specifically, me.

Brit said...

Nah Sean, you'll know it when I insult your honour.

Brit said...

By the way, that "! Walkers" sign was entirely genuine, even if it did look fake. But, I noticed yesterday, it has now gone. Perhaps CamClegg have been on the case already...

Recusant said...

I'm with Gaw. Strange how the those of us from an agricultural background, who then fled to the delights of the inner city feel more rural than those who have chosen to live in the country, but only on their terms.

Gaw said...

I wish I ruled the world too.

Brit said...

Come on chaps, give me some credit; this is a complaint, not a White Paper. I also don't like windfarms and people who ride speedboats on busy beaches.

Recusant said...

Ah, but Brit, this is a blog: no-one gives anybody any credit and moderation is an unknown quality.

Tomorrow, however, I shall agree with you.

Brit said...

..save for Nigeness of course. But then Nige has unique non-combat skills.

Hey Skipper said...

Where I live, I'm about the only person I know who doesn't own at least one gun.

Hardly any crime, and no chance of a Dunblane.

Brit said...

Yes that's what they used to say in Cumbria. And indeed, in Dunblane. There's no chance of it happening anywhere.

Willard said...

It's like the NRA over here...

Brit said...

Yes, W... imagine what would have happened if I'd actually advocated banning guns...

Sean said...

Shootin' and a lootin'

Willard said...

Oh, I thought that's what you were advocating. That's why I was the only one to agree with you. In which case, I don't agree with you, you Vinnie-Jones-loving rabbit hater.

Brit said...

Ah excellent, now everyone thinks I'm wrong.

The important thing with blogging is not so much to say anything in particular as to provide a space for commenters to make their personal favourite arguments.

Willard said...

No it's not.

malty said...

Dear city dwellers, ex carrot crunchers and inner M25ers.........

I draw the Smith & Wesson from it's holster and use it against the Following.

Cuddly, fluffy bunnies
Lovable grey tree rats
Crows (sorry Nige)

In the interests of fair play I do shout 'draw' first.

I am tempted to blast the telly every time Vine appears, and Dimbleby.

I am however restrained by the wife, who prefers using her shotgun against it.

Peter said...

You are all ganging up on Brit quite unnecessarily. If any of you took the time to read the post carefully, you would see it is the epitome of the post-modern urbanite's notion of fair compromise. He appears to be quite content to keep guns lawful, provided they are all fitted with silencers.

Willard said...

I don't come to this blog to read posts carefully. I come here to quickly skim read and then leave a scathing attack on its author.

Brit said...

Excellent. I award you the inaugural Swineshead Prize for Quickly Skim Reading a Post Then Leaving a Scathing Attack On Its Author.

Willard said...

That's the problem with blogs these days. They give out awards for just about anything...

Hey Skipper said...

Yes that's what they used to say in Cumbria. And indeed, in Dunblane.

Okay, I was being a bit provocative, but not much.

In my neck of the woods, had Mr. Dunblane opened up, he would have been outgunned six to one within a couple minutes.

We have our massacres too, but it seems that none of them -- Columbine, et al -- occur where people are allowed to carry guns.

And Yorkies attempting to haul people out of cars so as to beat them to death be a little more reticent.

Which is why fewer isn't necessarily better.

Or maybe we should ban cleavers, too.

Brit said...

Sorry Skip, repeating the gun debate from the Daily Duck years is just not going to work for me, with that elephant in the room.

2202 said...

I have shot clays 3 or 4 times, found it quite enjoyable as I managed to hit 70% of them. However it was always in a controlled environment. The last occasion within a 'bunkered' club area adjacent to the M40 and Booker Airport.
My answer would be to allow guns only on the premise that they are kept within the confine of the shooting club (heavily regulated) and never to leave the premises apart from competitions at other clubs.
Otherwise there is no real need for them.
Dont forget, fags kill more.

Hey Skipper said...

Otherwise there is no real need for [guns].

In the last week, people have had to shoot three bears at locations within a half dozen miles of where I live.

David said...

Dont forget, fags kill more.

Careful, around here you'd get shot for saying that.