I arrived early at the Westside Rifle and Pistol Range. While I was waiting to take my first hour class on gun safety, I spoke with some of the women I saw who were coming to shoot with the Women’s Shooting Sports League.
There were all kinds of women: Alexis was bubbly and friendly; her brown curls bounced when she laughed— frequently. Erin, tall with long, red flowing hair, was very quiet until her friend Alexis arrived. She wouldn’t let me take her picture, which was too bad, because her arms were covered with the most beautiful tattoos I’d ever seen. Winding around her arms on a green ground were riotously colored maple leaves.
Erin told me this was her first time, though she’d shot a gun once before. “At first I was so tense and scared,” she told me, “and then, the second I shot, I’m like, ‘Oh, that was it?’ I don’t know what I was expecting – I didn’t know what to expect.”
Earlier, an older woman dressed in pants and a green sweater with gold necklace, earrings, rings and bracelets, was wordlessly picking up the pieces in front of her on the table. She was reassembling her pistol. I introduced myself and asked to speak with her. Her dour expression didn’t change. She barely looked up. “No,” she said flatly.
Later, after sitting sometime in silence, I asked how long she had been shooting. “I won’t tell you anything,” she replied with barely controlled fury. “Stop talking to me.”
I have yet to find out the source of her hostility. I hope she takes it out on the target.