Television programs that feature weapons and shooting technology are becoming very popular.
One of my favorites is “Wednesday Night at the Range” on the Outdoor Channel — actually several different programs about self defense, competition shooting and the history of firearms. The History Channel has “Top Shot” in which top military, law enforcement and competitive shooters engage in competition with everything from antique pistols to .50-caliber sniper rifles and machine guns. Sometimes they even throw rocks or tomahawks and shoot crossbows and other primitive weapons.
Just getting selected as a “Top Shot” participant requires candidates to compete against men and women that are highly ranked in various shooting disciplines. Most are experts with a certain kind of pistol or rifle. It takes the ability to master whatever weapon is at hand in order to be successful on the show.
Federal Way Police Department’s Cmdr. Kyle Sumpter recently cleared all the initial hurdles and went on to compete in a series of “Top Shot” episodes in Santa Clarita, Calif. Sumpter supervises firearms training for Federal Way police officers and previously headed up Valley SWAT, the largest SWAT agency in the state. Although Sumpter has already completed the “Top Shot” competition, not even Chief Brian Wilson knows the results. Sumpter knows how he did, but the results will be a secret until the episodes air this spring (season starts Feb. 14).
My occasional talks with Cmdr. Kyle Sumpter, mostly by phone, have me looking forward to seeing him on and off the range. You don’t have to talk to him for long to realize that Sumpter is dedicated to the craft of shooting and that he is the kind of honest, straight talking professional that makes him worth paying attention to. That is why the Federal Way Police Department has him in charge of training officers.
Some of my best memories growing up are of watching Westerns on television with my dad. There was more to some of the programs than just bullets being thrown back and forth by men on horseback. Greatness of character and decency could often be discerned in some of the really good shows.
Of course, a gun itself is not somehow a mark of excellent character — or even being good with a gun. It takes courage to face the people in society that are organized against decency. Sometimes it takes a whole lot of character just to figure out who the good guys and the bad guys are.
I don’t know whether kids think about stuff like that today or not. But get your son or daughter to watch “Top Shot” with you this spring. If you want your kids to see one of the good guys who keep Federal Way safe, and learn something about why America is great, you will not be disappointed.