Saturday, April 22, 2006

Do I feel lucky? Well, do ya punk?

I have had such an interesting few days that it is hard to know where to start. I have thought long and hard, and finally come up with a name for the Vegas shag - since he is my teacher, I think Thackeray is the wittiest one I can find for now. He has commented that he wants to make this my most memorable trip to the States every. Rest assured, with the things I have to tell, this will be my most memorable trip. EVER. But I will get to those details later.

Friday's training class finished early, and afforded us some time to explore some activities in Vegas that didn't involve gambling. For those who many not know, the area around Las Vegas has a long history of atomic bomb testing. Something like 800 above and below ground tests were performed in this area over about 30 years, and as a result, there is a significant museum devoted to this history. The museum detailed the history to the development of the bombs, the test sites, and all manner of both technical and political palaver that is associated with it.

Watching one of the videos describing the test process, I was overcome with a sense of dread. Suddenly, the hippy movement of the 60's made sense. And the cold war made even less sense to me. And the continued testing by Asian nations these days, leaves me even more perplexed as to why. Chatting with my colleagues while wandering around the museum I realised how political an issue bomb testing still is. The way in which the tests were conducted, now seems both idiotic and immoral. Perhaps, 50 years from now, some of our testing methods currently used, will look just as barbaric.

In a great ironic turn, after we left the Atomic Testing museum, we headed off to a shooting gallery to shoot guns at shit. I am not a gun person. I am actually a little anti-guns. Not the actual guns themselves, but the mentality surrounding them on occasion. But despite this, the boys from class decided to hang their testosterone out and see what it got them. So we fronted up, and were asked what guns we would like to fire. I have no experience with weapons, and have never even touched a gun before. So with my usual class and style, I stated to the guys that I "preferred to hold something with two hands, rather than some little one-handed thing". Obviously, I took some ribbing about that comment. (Mind you, it did follow on from lunch, when I was asked what size sub I wanted, and I responded "Definitely, no less than 9 inches.")

I was handed my weapon (a 9mm Beretta), my ammunition, and my target of choice (I declined the picture of Bin Laden, and went for the standard circles on a body outline). We were then directed to hearing and eye protection, and taken in for our two minute introduction on how to load and fire the gun - apparently it is all about a gently squeeze technique. Rest assured that after the results of my target came back, if I was to shoot at a felon, they could be almost guaranteed of escaping virtually uninjured.

And so ends week one of training in Vegas!

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