"Downrange" Perspective Changed
I just recently received an email from a buddy of mine. He's an Army Chaplain in Afganistan. He started his email with this:
"Just wanted to say hi and thanks for your prayers while we are downrange. Afghanistan is a very interesting country with lots of dangerous places."
I wrote him the following:
I was just reading your email again and got all choked up at your first sentence where you refer to yourselves as being "downrange."
I belong to a gun club and go shooting a couple of times a week. After every 15 minutes of shooting, the rangemaster calls: "Cease fire, cease fire. Clear your actions and leave them open. Step back behind the yellow line. Do not approach the bench during the cease fire." After the Range Safety Officers inspect all the actions to make sure they're open and no rounds are chambered, the rangemaster says: "The range is clear. You may go forward to post and check your targets." At this point, we all have the confidence to walk downrange, knowing that the safety officers are making sure nobody is approaching the shooting benches, eliminating the chance of getting shot.
But, in reading your email again, I realize that you and everyone else over there are always "downrange." And there are no cease-fires, and there's nobody to make sure that actions are open and clear to keep you guys safe. This makes me profoundly sad, Dave. "Downrange" has a whole new meaning for me, now.
From this point on, every time I walk downrange, I'll remember you and everyone else who really are "downrange." I've cc'd a few of the guys I've met at the club. Maybe they'd like to also remember this every time they are afforded the opportunity to safely walk "downrange".
For all of you who can safely walk downrange, let's remember the guys who really are downrange! Share this with your shooting buddies, please.