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Fireworks and the savory scent of gunpowder | Andy Hobbs
Kudos to the fireworks show July 4 at Celebration Park in Federal Way.
Thousands of people packed the park to feast on a 22-minute extravaganza of technicolor explosions in the sky. At least two pieces of cardboard "shrapnel" from fireworks fell on my sweaty hat as I inhaled the air's gunpowder perfume.
I shot a few photos filled with bursts of light and crooked smoke trails. A police officer chided me earlier for photographing (unsuccessfully) a man cursing the cop while bent over the squad car's hood with hands cuffed behind his back. The cop said I was blocking the sidewalk's flow of traffic. I should have corrected the officer because everybody else was already staring at the scene.
Despite renegade residents who bucked the law and set off their own fireworks, this city-sponsored fireworks show plays a quiet role in preventing unwanted incidents. The peaceful festival offered Federal Way families a safe and free opportunity to celebrate Independence Day in their own backyard.
I fired a gun
Recently, for the first time, I fired a gun. Two guns. And I liked it.
A friend invited me to a local shooting range.
The first paper poster target showed a plain nameless thug pointing a weapon. The warm-up gun was a .380 pistol — pop! pop! pop! pop! pop! — five holes in the bad guy's body. Then another paper target, depicting a terrorist strapped with bombs. We had several options for targets at the front desk: Masked thugs, Osama bin Laden, Iran president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, etc.
The shooting room, set up in booths, was silenced after he fired the .44-Magnum. With the gun in one hand, he aimed at the terrorist. Fireworks exploded off the end of that well-hung barrel, kicking like a bronco. Other shooters were shaken from their booths; they leaned back in curiosity, envy, caution and awe. The gunpowder put a Fourth of July firecracker taste in my mouth.
It is my turn. I first gripped that alpha gun like it was made of glass. Then I gripped it good and tight, ready to kick some ...
I liked holding that gun.
Firing the Magnum felt like smacking a steel beam with a baseball bat. Yet, I had control over this handheld cannon, eyes on a target several feet away, pulling that little trigger until it went click.
The adrenaline cocktail felt like a cross between winning the lottery and escaping death. One of my shots pierced the terrorist's raised hand. I liked it. I wanted a gun. All that talk for years about keeping guns away from my house and children? I just shot a hole in that notion.
He had chosen the third and final target: A non-descript scuzzy man holding a grade-school boy hostage by gunpoint. You could not see their eyes, which was an odd bonus. It was the only disturbing target on the lobby wall, although my friend refused to shoot at a woman.
With six bullets in the Magnum, he fired his three shots, with two grazing the hostage-taker and one connecting.
I aimed high and fired. On the booth's wall, there's a switch that reels in the poster. I don't remember where two of the shots landed, but there was a large hole in the boy's forehead. I did not like that sight, for it made the gun finally seem deadly. And the danger is part of the fun.
Thank you, Second Amendment, for ensuring the right to buy such a powerful toy, should I ever find the urge.