I was in West Yellowstone, Montana a couple of weeks ago and while walking around the town checking out the stores and restaurants, I saw this sign:
… and I thought it was a bad idea.
Their website posts the following testimonial:
“All our family can talk about with our Yellowstone Adventure is the fun they had shooting the machine guns at Big Gun Fun.”
Not the geysers and the fascinating thermal pools and “paint pots”, not the wildlife, not the hiking trails, the rivers and lakes. Nope. Just shooting machine guns.
Well it turns out that no matter how much fun a family had shooting machine guns in West Yellowstone, it’s a bad idea for unskilled people to get their kicks pretending they are James Bond, Clint Eastwood, or… Hit Girl.
I read today about a deadly shooting at a similar facility in Arizona. The Guardian reports:
The manager of an Arizona shooting range where a nine-year-old girl accidentally shot and killed her instructor with an Uzi said he has trained children as young as five on the use of firearms but the range’s policies on minors is currently under review.
The Mohave County Sheriff’s office released a video of the incident apparently captured on a phone by the girl’s parents, which it provided to the Guardian.
The video shows a raven-haired girl wearing hot pink shorts and ear muffs gripping the Uzi in her hands as she takes aim at a silhouette target. Before she shoots, Vacca adjusts her stance, and places one of his hands under the gun and the other behind the girl’s back. She fires once, hitting the dirt beside the target.
“Alright!” Vacca says cheerfully. Then he switches the settings from “single-shot” to “fully automatic”, and shouts: “Alright. Full auto.” She fires several rounds rapidly, and the video cuts.
Investigators said that when the girl pulled the trigger on the automatic Uzi, the recoil sent the gun over her head. Vacca was shot at least once in the head. It is unclear how many shots were fired.
A nine-year-old girl was allowed to shoot an Uzi? (Be sure to click on the The Guardian link to see the still shot from the cell-phone video of the girl and the instructor). Crazy enough that he let a little girl shoot and Uzi at all, but in full-auto mode? How crazy is that? How could he ever have thought that could possibly be an okay thing to do?
Having seen Kick Ass a few times, I couldn’t help but think of the movie when I read the story. Nicolas Cage plays the father of Hit Girl who is played by a young Chloë Grace Moretz, and she looks like she could be nine or ten years old in the movie. Hit Girl’s father was pretty crazy and obsessed with weapons, but he was a far better gun instructor than the man killed in Arizona.
It’s bad enough that he died a tragic and senseless death because of several stupid people making terrible decisions simply because people thinks it’s Big Fun to shoot machine guns. But what about the girl? She’s only nine years old and she’s shot a man in the head with an Uzi and killed him. How fucked up is she going to be? Probably a lot. Well unless she’s been taught by her parents that sometimes people make mistakes that can easily be erased just by saying “My Bad” like they do in the movies. Then all is forgiven and everything will be okay.