Saturday, October 23, 2010

Shooting guns just 'because'. Is it wrong?

I recently received a comment, which you can read below, from a soldier who found this post disrespectful. My intention was never to dishonour the heroic work that military persons do. Quite the opposite, ironically. I was just wondering if paying money to shoot guns for fun (not sport, not education, just fun) was disrespectful to soldiers who died at this very spot. I guess I hadn't thought of the fact that it might help us to understand the war better, although, having been there, I'm not sure that was the point of the exercise. Many people died at the Cu Chi Tunnels in Vietnam. While I understand the need for guns, something about 'playing soldier' just didn't feel right. There are a number of old war tunnels in Hong Kong, and many are marked by signs that say it is illegal to play war games inside, because it's disrespectful. So, that's where I was coming from. But, I'm sorry to anyone I may have offended. It was not my intention. p.s. I'm really not all that prissy - really.

Shooting guns, just 'because'. Is it wrong?

This curly question came a' knockin' when I was visiting the Cu Chi Tunnels in Vietnam last year, where tourists are offered vintage guns to shoot as part of the package.
Want to throw in a little Agent Orange with that? I find it all very bizarre and a tad disturbing.
In case you don't know, the Cu Chi tunnels are an underground tunnel system close to Ho Chi Minh City that were dug out by the Vietcong and served as their base during the Tet Offensive in 1968. As a sprawling network of tiny channels only large enough for the petite Vietnamese, it really was quite a genius idea.

Unless you're claustrophobic. Then the Cu Chi tunnels are really not that genius at all.

At this historical site today, visitors can buy bullets and shoot historical Vietnam War guns, like AK-47s, M16s and even M60s (machine gun).

The whole exercise is really, really ridiculously loud. Guns - I found out - are really, really ridiculously loud.

The sounds of the Vietnam War must have been horrifying.

B and I were weighing up whether to participate in this activity or not, and he raised the very valid point that it was disrespectful to the people that died in the Vietnam War.

On the other hand, we wondered if choosing not to shoot a gun was actually giving guns too much respect.

Again with the curly.

In the end we decided to shoot one round each and (crossing fingers and toes) never, ever shoot a gun of any form again. It was a once-in-a-lifetime deal.

So for around US$20 each we received a round of bullets (really, really ridiculously large sized ones) and were shown the basics of how to load and shoot.

There were two things that baffled me (aside from the ear-splitting noise):

1. How hard the butt of the gun would slam into my shoulder every time I took a shot. Shooting big guns is hard work and not at all comfortable. You could lose a shoulder. Or perhaps just take home a really big bruise.

2. I kept hitting the target. I am one of those embarrassingly unco people who swings at a tennis ball that goes sailing right past... I can't catch... I am usually terrible at anything involving aiming. Perhaps I'm just half blind. But I nailed that distant target like it was three inches from my face. I think B was shocked.

Maybe a new career as a sniper?

No, no, no, never ever.

No more guns for me.

1 comment:

  1. Please Explain how Firing some rounds threw some guns is disrespectful to people who died in Vietnam? I am a soldier and I think this post is very disrespectful to me. I believe the point of exploring the viet namese war sights and firing weapons will give a visitor a better understanding of the Vietnam war. I bet it would break your little prissy heart to know that I Own Lots of guns and shoot hundreds of rounds a week. Perhaps you should research the Holocaust and why Gun control was instrumental in allowing millions of people to be rounded up and sent from their homes to their deaths at concentration camp.


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