Olympic Shooting Sports: Finally, A Positive Example

I like the Olympics. They are full of history. Mostly ancient Greek history, but also Celtic history. Many of our modern day track and field sports were well known at Celtic feis (arts and sports festivals). The shot-put, the hammer throw, and foot races, among others.

The Celtic hammer throw (Dublin Irish Festival 2012). (Image: Amanda Stiver)

But what I really like about this year’s games, especially in light of the tragic shootings in the past several years, is the positive image of the firearms and archery sports.

I’m pleased to see firearms used rightly, for constructive competition that celebrates eye-hand coordination and intense focus. Weapons are useless and inert without someone who decides to use them. I like that there are high-profile, skilled, focused, and honorable men and women who compete and show that using a gun or a bow is not inherently evil.

How a gun is used is the key. What you choose to do with it once you pick it up.

Positive reasons

Which leads me to the Cheyenne River in South Dakota. It’s our family locus. We go back there to visit and we compete in familial target competitions. We use our firearms carefully, specifically, and with great regard for safety. Many of my family also hunt for meat during the deer season. We are at home with rifle and shotgun. We take great joy in using them rightly.

(Image: Amanda Stiver)

We have a family tradition that goes back generations using not just guns, but also bow and arrow. It’s part of my family history.

The issue

Which is why it makes me sad and angry that people wantonly destroy human lives in tragedies like we have seen in Norway, Arizona, Colorado, and now Wisconsin. But frankly, it makes me mad that people murder at all, with or without weapons!

And that brings me back to the summer games. I’m proud to see athletes choose to use firearms and bows rightly, and in a safe, positive way.

Just as in every aspect of history, the choice is always down to us. We can choose to perpetuate bad historical precedents of violence and hate or we can choose to stand up for a moral code that values human life and positive traditions.

– Amanda Stiver

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