The Washington Post is on the case:
In between completing problem sets, writing code, organizing hackathons, worrying about internships and building solar cars, a group of MIT students make their way to the athletic center, where they stand side-by-side, load their guns and fire away.They are majoring in biological engineering, brain and cognitive sciences, aeronautics, mechanical engineering, computer science and nuclear science. Before arriving at MIT, nearly all of them had never touched a gun or even seen one that wasn’t on TV.
“Which is strange because I’m from Texas,” said Nick McCoy, wearing a T-shirt advertising his dorm and getting ready to shoot.
How weird is that? A guy from Texas, new to shooting! Truly, the flyover heartland is a strange and wonderful place. I wonder who — or what — has corrupted this poor lad? Let’s check the headline:
Gun industry’s helping hand triggers a surge in college shooting teams
Aha! Big Firearms!
McCoy is one of the brainiacs on MIT’s pistol and rifle teams, which, like other college shooting teams, have benefited from the largesse of gun industry money and become so popular that they often turn students away. Teams are thriving at a diverse range of schools: Yale, Harvard, the University of Maryland, George Mason University, and even smaller schools such as Slippery Rock University in Pennsylvania and Connors State College in Oklahoma.
“We literally have way more students interested than we can handle,” said Steve Goldstein, one of MIT’s pistol coaches.
The horror, the horror. I hate to break the news to Michael S. Rosenwald, but when I was in high school in Hawaii, we had a rifle team and mandatory Junior ROTC, as did many high schools across America back when it was a country of men instead of women and metrosexuals. But perhaps real men are making a comeback:
Although some collegiate teams date to the late 1800s, coaches and team captains say there is a surge of new interest from students, both male and female, finally away from their parents and curious to handle one of the country’s most divisive symbols. Once they fire a gun, students say they find shooting relaxing — at MIT, students call it “very Zen” — and that it teaches focusing skills that help in class.
Some also find their perceptions about guns changing. “I had a poor view, a more negative view of people who like guns than I do now,” said Hope Lutwak, a freshman on MIT’s pistol team. “I didn’t understand why people enjoyed it. I just thought it was very violent.”
Anyone who’s ever shot knows that Zen is precisely the word we shooters use. Everything is focused on the target; in my experience, nothing clears the mind like successfully putting a few hundred rounds exactly where you want them to go. Nothing “violent” about it. But that darn gun industry…
And that’s precisely what the gun industry hoped it would hear after spending the past few years pouring millions of dollars into collegiate shooting, targeting young adults just as they try out new activities and personal identities.
Okay, Rosenwald, you got us. What Big Firearms is doing is akin to what Big Tobacco did, “targeting young adults just as they try out new activities and personal identies.” It wouldn’t be a Washington Post story without some pseudo-Freudian, au courant references to “personal identities,” now, would it?
The rest of the story goes on in this vein, full of wonderment that otherwise sensible top-tier college students have been seduced by the Cult of the Gun. If there was ever a story that spoke to the division of the cultural weaklings in the media and the rest of us, this is it.
Some students plan to continue shooting after they graduate, but others say it will depend on family situations and how tough regulations are wherever they wind up. And they acknowledge that many in society don’t think about firearms the way they now do — that it’s less about the gun, as one student put it, and more about who is using it.
Amazing what a little actual experience will do for you.
Be sure to read the comments at the link. There really are Two Americas, only one of which can shoot.