Thanks For Nothing, Idiots

For decades – like, four or five of them – the old municipal shooting range in Jamestown North Dakota was where people went to plink, to practice their skeet, or to polish their aim or, in my case thirty years ago this summer, learn how to shoot.

Now, when we say “Municipal Range”, that may conjure up images of grandeur.  Or civilizaation.  Not so with the Jamestown range, located by the Pipestem Reservoir, about seven miles north of town on US 281.  There was a firing line with a couple of rough wooden stands and a log hot line.  There were some target stands downrange, and, 300 or so yards out, a big berm that someone had bulldozed into place.

And for decades, it sufficed; most people followed the rules, because someone would teach them.  One of my friends from the neighborhood, an Air Force veteran of sorts, hauled me out there when I was 22, lugging my Remington Nylon 66 that I’d just bought with my returned dorm key deposit ($50 at Gun and Reel Sports), and showed me the unbreakable rules, and started me plinking.

Some didn’t have the same benefit, or just lacked common sense; when we were downrange setting our targets once, a couple of moron kids with a 20-gauge shotgun started popping off at clay pigeons.  They were off on the right side of the range, away from the rest of us (me and a couple of other guys who were off to my left, and also downrange with me).   Yes, I remember what birdshot sounds like passing by 20 yards away from me.  I also remember the sound of the guy who’d been to my left, apparently a service veteran, barreling across the field yelling like all the hounds of hell turned loose on the kid with the shotgun, who I’m going to bet has never made that mistake again.

And there the range sat, decade after decade, without any problems – until now:

Shooting sports enthusiasts will be without a range to shoot here after July 1. Bob Martin, manager of Pipestem Dam for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, said the rifle range located west of the dam will close on that date due to safety issues.
“The safety concerns started popping up eight years ago,” he said. “There have been additional buildings adjacent to the down-range area. Outbuildings there have three or four (bullet) holes in them”

Larry Kukla, secretary of the Jamestown United Sportsmen, said it was unfortunate the range had to close.

“It is a sad day, but for safety reasons we have to close the range,” he said.

Kukla – father of a classmate and a former teaching colleague of my dad’s – and his group did all the caretaking on the range for years and years.  Which is how a lot of stuff got done back there; local groups taking care of things of local interest, without much need for governement.

But always, always, there’s gotta be idiots; even though they adjusted the range, nearby buildings and even the range’s safety signs kept turning up with bullet holes:

“Between careless, inexperienced and just being stupid,” Martin said, referring to the source or sources of the stray bullets. “If you are shooting at the proper targets, it’s impossible to shoot off the range. But you know they’re not just shooting at the targets by looking at the (damaged) signs.”

And so America’s real one percent – the one percent of people who can’t be trusted to use a public toilet without smearing something on the wall – as ruined everything for everyone else, yet again.

12 thoughts on “Thanks For Nothing, Idiots

  1. You fail to establish that it is 1% who are responsible for the safety issues — that is not supported by fact. It’s your desire to minimize the problems.

    The reality is that stories like this of bullet holes in houses and other buildings is increasing, in spite of the assurances that pushing for more guns comes without any safety risk.

    You just proved the point for gun control — keep guns in the hands of safe people, and restrict them from those who are not.

  2. Dog Gone is absolutely right, Mitch. It might have been the .0099% who shot up the place or it might have been the 1.0111%. There haven’t been any convictions so you can’t run the numbers on the calculator. You just don’t know. By blaming the 1.0000% for the problem, you’re painting with too broad a brush, casting aspersions, smearing innocents, blaming victims. You should be ashamed of yourself.

    Unless you were engaging in hyperbole. Then Dog Gone is just an idiot who completely missed the point again. One or the other. Hard to be absolutely 100% certain which is correct.

  3. In Hawaii, which has extremely strict firearm laws, many road signs in rural areas have bullet holes in them. My friend the cop told me it was cops shooting them, for sport. Only cops are allowed to have access to guns in their cars in Hawaii.

  4. DG,

    That may have been more stretch for less actual point than you’ve ever made in your long, dismal history of long stretches for no logical point on this blog.


  5. DG,

    And you go ahead and prove that, in a town of 15,000 after forty years of incident-free operation, it was more than one moron plinking at signs and DOI outbuildings.

    Get right on it. Of course, that’d involve work.

    And no, DG, such incidents are not increasing. Gun crime is down 50% in 20 years. That is an actual fact.

    You’re making stuff up as you go along.

    As usual.

  6. DG would be correct if we were discussing a city run by leftist slobs like, oh, say Obama’s adopted hometown of Chicago where the sheer volume of rounds being expended by young welfare dependents, who look like Obama’s sons if he had one, leave it statistically impossible for less that 2% of the population to be engaged in the mindless slaughter.

    But we’re talking about Jamestown North Dakota, where leftist slobs and their dependents cannot account for more than 1% of the total population.

    Once again, DG proves itself to be either lying, or just incredibly stupid. As Joe points out, it’s impossible to tell which.

  7. Just as with carry permits many worked for years to secure without harassment places where the shooting sports could be enjoyed. It’s unfortunate that one or a few bad apples messed things up for the good folks of Jamestown. But at least we have some protection here in MN.

    Suck on this DG !!!
    2005 Minnesota Statutes – Chapter 87A — Shooting Range Protection Act

  8. When I went through orientation last year at Oakdale Gun Club, the one thing they stressed above all others was that no round should ever leave the premises. No matter how many complaints of post sunset gunfire they defend (so far all have been found to be illegal gunfire at the quarry across I94), just one round proven to leave the premises will result in the club being shutdown. The alternative would be a multi-million dollar renovation to guaranty that no round could physically leave the premises. A multi-million dollar renovation that the club cannot possibly afford.
    The orientation also included stories about a few former members that were found to be doing things like shooting at signage that read something like “Don’t shoot at this sign you F*$%ing [redacted].” Short version, their membership badges were literally stripped from them on the spot. There isn’t any tolerance for people that endanger the entire membership by being idiots.

  9. SmithStCrx – I got the same impression in my class: adults take firearms seriously, bullets go into targets and nowhere else. I served my two days as RSO during the deer rifle sight-in period last Fall and heard half-a-dozen different customers comment that the thing they liked best about the range was the absolute commitment to safety. For a shooting range in an urban environment, that’s not only wise, it’s existential.

    That said, I sympathize with Mitch’s anger. My brother and I rode our bicycles to the town dump to shoot .22 rifle at junk, just like every other kid around. 100 rounds wasn’t an arsenal, it was an afternoon. It would never have occurred to us to shoot at signs or mailboxes or buildings – that simply Was Not Done. But then, it was a different time. I got stopped by a teacher when I was carrying my .22 rifle down the school hallway, not because the teacher was threatened – he knew I was taking it to wood shop to refinish the stock – but to make sure I had a hall pass. Different times. Different code of conduct. Different societal expectations. It’s sad to see them pass.

  10. Joe Doakes – I know what you mean, I used to get on the school bus with my rifle every Tuesday for gun safety class – me and half a dozen other kids. When I tell modern urban parents about that, they blanch with horror.

  11. It strikes me that we can infer the number of miscreants from the number of wayward bullet holes in the vicinity. I guess DG’s math holds up right there with her logic, sad to say.

    I remember a similar story at a range near Erie, Colorado where bullet holes were found in a new subdivision going up, but the rumors were that the 1%ers were police officers. Never saw proof either way.

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