Last night I was approached by a shooter that had a very worrying tale to tell and a link that he told me to click. It was a post from a shooting club that stated it had asked a member to remove a post that was promoting the sport. Now, my initial reaction was one of complete and utter surprise, why would a club feel the need to police someone’s personal social media? Especially if the post was one trying to get new people into the sport.
So I commented on the clubs post asking for some clarification, a little illumination into the reasoning behind their assumption that they had the right to censor another shooter, did it give away coordinates to a gun safe? Was it a picture of firearms being used in a dangerous manner? Was it an itinerary of members movements to and from the club? Surely if it was as grave a matter to require official club action to censor the man they wouldn’t mind telling me his crime……..right?
Almost as soon as I commented I was messaged by the shooter apparently censored and he informed me they contacted him out of the blue, he isn’t a member of their club and actually lives over 100 miles away. His post was indeed of him shooting (legally I might add) and to quote him, “I was surprised they contacted me to say the least, I didn’t accept the message as what the **** has it got to do with them?”
So I replied to my own comment on their page in order to ask a few more questions, said thanks and waited for a response. 30 minutes later I got it loud and clear when my comments were deleted and I was blocked from their page.
This left me no option to get their side of the story so I went ahead and made a post calling out their behaviour on this page (you can’t block me on that). If the block was removed and dialogue started I would remove it again. Fair is fair after all.
The screenshot below is an edited (Facebook T&Cs friendly) version of their post where I’ve highlighted what I’m concerned with. (I added the bound hand) I’ve censored the club name to protect the innocent members that have no bearing on authoritarian management and don’t deserve to be painted with the same brush.
Now the block was removed last night and I was able to comment again so I assumed it was a momentary lapse of judgment by however runs their social media so I removed my own post in order to get their side of the story. However I was greeted with a statement on their post talking about safety and not promoting you have firearms so as someone doesn’t rob you. My questions had been ignored and every time I commented again they were deleted.
So I messaged the guy commenting and yet again it was ignored. I repeatedly told him I’d messaged him and wanted his side of the story, but each time it was deleted.
No club has the right to harass shooters, especially if they are not even members and they are promoting our sport for good.
So now you are up to speed.
SOME ADVICE FOR THE 21st CENURY
The thing about some clubs is that there aren’t many young shooters in them, and they tend to be old school in their shooting philosophy. They see shooting as an exclusive club that only a few deserve to partake in, that because they are on a committee it is up to them who the right is bestowed upon, that you must never talk about the sport for fear someone finds out you own a gun. No point in trying to educate the public, no we should remain silent and let them vilify us at every turn.
Well I’m 35, I’m a very active shooter, I promote the sport daily and I take a new shooter at least once a month to try it as it is my philosophy that people only fear the unknown. If you get a chance to actually fire a gun you learn respect for firearms rather than fear, you become accustomed to the realities of using firearms and the more we open peoples eyes the more shooters there will be.
While I agree it is a good idea not to promote the fact you are leaving your home for long periods on social media due to tempting those that would rob you, I do not agree with pretending you don’t shoot at all, I do not agree with keeping quiet about shooting nor do I agree with over zealous clubs policing the inernet. So here are my top tips for navigating the internet and avoiding FUDDs.
1/ keep your posts set to friends only as that way you have some control on who sees them.
2/ Don’t assume because someone shoots at a club they are pro shooting. Vet friend requests wisely.
3/ When travelling to a club with firearms in the car don’t stop necessarily for long periods. A to B and back again is advised.
4/ Don’t advertise when you are going on holiday
5/ Never be afraid to promote your sport or your achievements, if you’re in a club that says otherwise perhaps you’re in the wrong club.
6/ Encourage others to take up shooting as the more we do that the bigger the influence we as shooters will have.
7/ FUDDs are everywhere and they are as bad as antis. In fact I’d say they are worse. If you come across one it’s best to avoid them.
Shooting has evolved in the last few years and some shooters don’t want to embrace the change, encourage new members or to rock the boat. If some clubs don’t evolve they will go under.
All the best and happy shooting.