Well, it’s that time of year again. Time for peace on earth, goodwill toward men, and the exchange of presents.
And so it is with visions of shiny airguns dancing in my head that I got to thinking about Christmas presents for airgunners. Then I got to thinking about presents we could give each other as airgunners, and I’ve come up with some that are low cost and … THERE ARE NO PAYMENTS UNTIL JUNE 2009! (Sorry, I’ve seen just one too many holiday commercials.)
The first present that we can give each other is to try to be more courteous in the online forums. And one way to do that is to “pause on the reply.” Put simply, it means, when you’re checking out a post on a forum, and you’ve just seen something that tweaks your sensibilities (for whatever reason, it could be a misspelling, an outright stupidity, a misstatement of fact, arrogance or whatever), giving a little extra pause and reread the post before you reply. You may find the thing you found offensive wasn’t so bad the second time around, or that this is an obvious newbie whose ignorance should be forgiven, or – Heaven forfend – that you misread the post the first time around. Pausing on the reply provides a moment or two of reflection before we jump in with our thoughts.
It might be just me, but I’ve found there are very few times when I have regretted what I didn’t say, but many times when I have regretted not holding my tongue. Besides, a well-considered reply is very, VERY classy.
Another gift we could give to our hobby would be to spread the word about how neat airgunning is. Consider addressing a group at a local gun or archery club or a group of boy or girl scouts. Show up with a few of your prize pneumatic tackdrivers, show them how they work, and tell them how much fun they are. A small amount of your time could plant a seed that could later become a proud new airgun aficionado. (You might also consider donating guns, ammo, or other equipment to youth shooting organizations.)
Another great present to give is to be a mentor for someone who is just getting into airgunning. It doesn’t matter if they are young or old. all that matters is that, if they have an interest and you can help, you can provide a great introduction to this wonderful hobby of ours.
Another gift is the contribution of your physical help with airgunning projects. If there is an airgunning club near you, offer to help with clearing lanes, setting up targets, or whatever else needs doing. All too often, a ton of work falls on a very few people. Step up. Help out. And when you do, don’t be surprised if, in the end, you find you’ve received far more than you have given.
Until the next time, I hope your and yours enjoy the peace and joy of the holidays.
— Jock Elliott