Shoot to kill? Nothing sporting about such rules of engagement
What counts is bang for your buck.
And there is something about guns that make them catnip for a lot of men. Here too, there’s ample space for diminutive knob jokes, if only to try and dilute the self-absorption of a minority of inadequates with lethal access to weapons, the savage potential of which has been seen all too horrifically recently.
But only the unimaginative can dispute the aesthetic appeal that some weaponry provides: which is all fine if you’re aiming at a plastic target, or a plate whizzing through the air. But you have to wonder at the empathetic deficit among those who get their jollies from killing animals.
The countryside conservation argument is invariably trotted out in response to the right-on brigade. But that’s really a latex-thin justificatory sheath for shooters simply doing what they want to do. And what they want to do is blast at something with an impulsive trajectory.
It would be fascinating to find out how many of the new converts began their gun fetish on clay-pigeon ranges, only to feel it insufficient for their shooting urges.
Moreover, the numbers feeling that are obviously significant since you can hardly drive round a country bend these days without a fat pheasant struggling to rise high enough above your car.
However, there remains something very different about raising an animal for the food chain and raising one for target practise – no matter how much florid Hemingway-esque prose gets reached for as justification.
Papa always gets dragged into the argument with all that wonderful stuff about blood returning to the earth and the elemental life force. And in fairness he could back up the shaping with his fair share of backbone in a crisis.
But no amount of gorgeous prose can alter the bloody reality of ammunition entering flesh. It’s messy, painful and just plain stark.
None of which is going to persuade anyone in thrall to the primal relish of feeling a shotgun kick against their padded shoulder to hang up their holster and maybe drive the Rangaloid off into the sunset – or at least to the nearest Dart.
But once home, instead of reading up on the latest ammo trends, it might help if they pondered how, for something to be considered a sport, it usually requires both sides to know the rules.