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GUNS Magazine November 2011 Digital Edition - Page 24

• M I k E “ d U k E ” V E N t U R I N O • P h O t O S : y V O N N E V E N t U R I N O • A good kind. ntire volumes have been written about men’s desire for e power over other men. usually the result of someone gaining such power is negative. There is that old saying, “Absolute power corrupts absolutely.” I hope a quest for power has never been part of my personality. I’ve usually been quite happy just to go my own way, or perhaps better said, to live and let live. However, in the last few years I’ve come to realize I do possess power. I have power mostly over teenage boys but also to a lesser degree over some girls. I have the power to get them to fetch things for me, to help me carry stuff, even walk my dog. Most importantly I have the power to get them to listen to what I have to say. What I have is machine gun power. That’s not power from fear of fullautos but the power that arises from young people’s desire to shoot my machine guns. Promise a teenage boy who usually is focused on doing as he pleases, that by lending a hand he will be able to shoot your machine gun, and you will have his full attention. This I learned early on after taking possession of my first couple of World War II vintage submachine guns. Some friends have their own private range where occasionally they put on invitational BPCR Silhouette matches. It’s a weekend event with camping at the range and a picnic atmosphere with kids, dogs, bikes, and ATVs. The first time I took along my sub-guns the idea was to let some of the competitors have a try with them after the match. However, when I turned loose the first burst from one, parents from all over the range area later told me that their kids stopped in their tracks and collectively said, “What was that?” Then they dropped what they were doing and hot-footed towards the firing line. As things worked out, very few of the competitors got to fire my This 10-year-old fellow, Sean Depaso, was not at all intimidated when shooting this German MG42 with its 1,200 rounds per minute rate of fire. POWER! Thompson or German MP40 that weekend. The kids crowded them out! Almost all of them had their photos taken while shooting so they could have bragging rights with other kids. And every single one of them had a huge grin on their face after their turn. Right here I want to stress that I have let none of the young people shoot the guns without their parents’ consent. Also I’ve insisted they wear eye and ear protection. Furthermore I hover in easy reach and prefer to have another adult to their right and slightly back just in case. So far, not once, never, has one of the kids done a single dangerous thing. All seem to have intuitive respect for what is in their hands. Come A Runnin’ At the next invitational BPCR Silhouette shoot I showed up the evening before. Most of the kids were off on ATVs in the foothills. So I proceeded to let loose a burst from whatever full-auto I had brought. Later I was told that upon hearing that sound one of the kids jumped on his 4-wheeler and shouted, “Mike’s here! Let’s go.” In 2010 there was a cancer benefit in the form of a turkey shoot here in the Yellowstone River Valley. I donated ammunition and let people shoot four of my sub-guns with all their fees going to the benefit. At the end of the day there was an auction at some distance from the firing line so most attendees drifted that way. I began to pack up. However, two 14-year-old boys hung with me just asking questions about the guns. One of the boys was son to one of the cancer patients so I knew his life was tough during this time. I said, “You boys want to shoot some?” They looked sheepish and replied, “We don’t have any money.” I said, “I didn’t ask you if you had money. I asked you if you wanted to shoot some.” We plinked for another 45 minutes with all four sub-guns. I will always remember their fun doing it. I hope they do too. That’s not all. Later I got a card from one of the boy’s mother—the one battling cancer. She 24 WWW.GUNSMAGAZINE.COM • NOVEMBER 2011

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