DISCRETION IS ADVISED. Please note, this week’s topics revolve around guns. With that said, it is intended for mature audiences. Everyone is entitled to their own opinions. And I say this now, I do endorse responsibility and not irresponsibility.
Over the weekend, for the first time ever, I went to a legitimate gun range. And I had a blast.
Over the weekend, I went to the Battlefield Las Vegas Shooting Range. With a group of friends and family, I took on shooting the Colt M4 automatic assault rifle and the M249 automatic machine gun. Feel free to look them up.
I won’t lie to you, it was pretty sick. I’ve never been to a gun range before; and by having these to be my first ones, it was pretty wild.
Shortly after we paid for the session and signed a waiver, our group was called to the prep-area. Veterans introduced themselves, taught us a little run down of what was going to happen, safety, etc. It was pretty straightforward; safety first, wear your eye and ear protection, they’re going to load the guns for you, listen to what they say, they’ll tell you when to pull the trigger. That sort of thing.
As soon as I walked through the two secured doors, the first thing I noticed getting into the range was how freaking loud the damn guns were. Holy balls. Even with ear muffs, it still made me jump a little. More importantly, when it was my turn to pull the trigger, I’ll admit it now, I had the butterflies build up in my stomach. I didn’t know what to expect. And still, even after my session, I was a little jumpy and more alert listening in to the other parties next to us.
I don’t know. Maybe, I’m just a pansy. Lol. But, I certainly felt like I earned some “man” points there. It was empowering, to say the least.
What I’m trying to get at is, regardless of whether this was my first time or not, I can’t even imagine the stressors in the lives of our military Veterans.
As an acute inpatient psychiatric nurse, serving the Veteran population, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (aka PTSD) is HUGE. I repeat HUGE. A soldier listens to consistent gun fire, takes on the stressors of the trigger, the physical and mental part… these human beings are trained to be killing machines… while maintaining a calm, subtle composure. The sounds and triggers of war become natural to them. And we continue to wonder how and why our veterans manage, when they come back to a quiet home.
Here I am, enjoying the luxury of our freedom to shoot guns recreationally at some range; having anxiety over pulling a trigger for just an average of 5 minutes for roughly $150. And I still get to come home, eat a delicious meal, and spend time with my loved ones.
Many of our vets enlist straight out of high school, serve for 3-4 years (maybe even more), and those are the types of things they went through. Needless to say, that’s a big gap in someone’s life. That’s a 4-year college degree, a big chunk of a child’s life, a typical length for a car loan. Meanwhile, we continue to wonder how hard it is for our veterans to find a good, meaningful, normal life when they come home; the continuous substance use, suffering from traumatic brain injuries, finding a job, building relationships, depression, anti-social personalities, etc. Remember… they volunteered for this. And yet, we expect so much out of them when they come home; we expect them to be adapted to us.
The big question is, I feel, how do we re-integrate veterans back into normal civilian life and minimize PTSD drawback? First, acknowledge that it is a problem.
P.S. You shouldn’t feel sad, you should be thankful.
Let’s Stay Connected! Share Your Thoughts!