Use of weapons

An unusual aspect of firing an assault rifle is that you don’t hear the bang, even though the weapon is pressed to the side of your face. The sound you hear – as well as feel in the bones of your skull – is of the bolt and mechanism ejecting the spent cartridge. It’s over so quickly, that it’s more like a noise you remember hearing, rather than something you actually do hear, if that makes any kind of sense. The weird thing is that you can clearly hear someone else shooting from a few paces away, but you are strangely deaf to your own weapon. Yet another metaphor for life: sometimes you are too close to something to take it all in. You can get so caught up in the details as to miss the bigger picture.

And then there is the flip side – sometimes you are concentrating on the overview to the extent that you cannot appreciate the details. When you are far enough away to actually register the sound of the shot, it overwhelms your attention to the point that you completely miss the subliminal ‘clunk-ping’ that immediately follows the squeezing of the trigger.

So what the hell am I talking about? Something about achieving a balance, maybe? Something about how keeping your eye on the final goal doesn’t necessarily prevent the crocodile from biting your backside? I wish I knew.


12 thoughts on “Use of weapons

  1. What is balnace really? To me it’s God, nothing else can bring balance to *my life but Him. Then again I also think that it depends on one’s “present” situation, on where one is in life and what one needs to bring balance at that particular point in life. I am definitely going to test the assault rifle theory though, I want to “see” if I can hear it when it fires or not.


  2. Agreeing with Anne here. No idea what you’re talking about either, but it makes a lot of sense.

    But when your rifle blows up in your face it doesn’t matter whether you missed the clunk-ping or the bang itself – either way you’re left wondering what the hell happened.


  3. This reminds of a time when I was waitering (during my varsity days).

    One of the grillers was sweeping the floor when there were two loud pops. He hit the floor and then peered cautiously over a dividing wall. Two balloons had popped and he had thought we were under attack.

    It was both a funny and sad moment. In 1991, political violence in the townships had many people living in fear. Even beyond the townships – I knew one of the people killed in the St. James church massacre. It was sad that the first thing crossing the griller’s mind was gunshots.

    We do become accustomed to things and when they change / end we still act in a ways familiar to us.

    And, strangely, even though those times might be changing for the better, we cling on to the familiarity of the past.

    The other thing your story reminds me of, is that perspective is difficult to maintain when you are fighting in the trenches. These past few weeks have made me feel like I have failed on a grand scale. The reality is different. And it was only through having a friend nearby to listen to my fears and sadness, that I was able to regain perspective.

    Good luck. And stay away from weapons…


  4. Ah, the problem is you’re looking at things from an assault rifle’s point of view, where you should be looking at something like a semi-auto 12-guage shotgun. You feel it, you hear it, everyone around you feels and hears it, and you only need to aim in the general direction of your target and you’ll be pretty sure to hit more-or-less what you’re aiming at.
    It’s also great for crowd control, but I don’t think that fits in with the point of this post.
    Then again, none of us seems to know what we’re talking about here anyway, so what the hell – point and shoot and roll with it!


  5. banquo: A sensory cross-over experience in the making.

    anne: It does, doesn’t it?

    lisa: Ah grasshopper, you have taken the first step on the path to enlightenment. Meditate upon this.

    IITQ: Perspective? Isn’t that the plasticky stuff they make helmet visors out of? Don’t seem to have much of it around here at the moment…

    terri: Yeah, yeah, I’m a total pansy. You don’t have to rub it in.

    anduin: You can relax – I don’t have one any more. I prefer explosives, anyway.


  6. You sound as if you are going through a bit of a tough time at the moment. And since you are, all this introspective stuff is probably good but just don’t get too bogged down in it.

    Wood, trees, seeing…you know the saying. 🙂

    Oh, one last thing….I frown at your use of the term ‘pansy’ 🙂


  7. You are so good at metaphors. Seriously, I love how your posts give real life explantions that perfectly portray feelings that are hard to describe.

    I shot a gun once. It really freaked me out.


  8. I’ve never shot a gun, but I’m sure it would freak me out too.

    My weapon of choice is love and compassion.

    (Ok, I know that was really cliché…but I said it anyway)


  9. paul: As long as the other guys are also only using slingshots.

    nomad: Don’t make me hit you with my disclaimer.

    zube girl: You are so kind 🙂

    juliana: I used to have a weapon like yours. Could have sworn I left it somewhere around here…


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