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Bang! Bang! Fizzle

Bang! Bang! Fizzle


Hand gun. It's all I've got.

My journey toward learning to kill zombies has been fraught with misadventure and failure, and I have yet to actually shoot a gun.

Over the past few weeks, I’ve discussed ways to evade and trap zombies while you’re on the way to your pre-planned, fully-prepped boat, which will take you to your desert island haven. But even while planning evasion tactics, we’ve all known that at some point, you will meet a zombie, and you will have to kill it or be killed.

As I have no upper body strength, the idea of crushing or bashing in a once-human skull is not only revolting, but improbable. But since my finger muscles are in decent shape from all the typing I do, I am probably capable of shooting a gun.

Despite my Idaho roots, I didn’t grow up in an AK-47-toting family. (In fact, I just googled AK-47 to make sure it’s a type of rifle and not, like, a landmine.) But I do believe people should be able to own and bear firearms, at least the kinds you use for recreation and self-defense; I probably believe this in part because of my authority issues, but more so because the good ol’ Founding Fathers apparently wanted us to be able to defend ourselves and form militias. I wouldn’t want Thom and Ben rolling in their graves because their Constitutional intentions have been thwarted.

That said, I’m not really big on the idea of shooting people, even in a Founding Father-approved group of bullet-wielding citizen vigilantes. Ideally, there are ways to protest and resist the powers that be that don’t involve ammunition. Sits-ins, you know. Chucking tea into the ocean. Living as an expatriate in Paris — much more romantic, much less bloody.

But a despotic senator overtaxing us or threatening to steal my cat or whatever, that’s one thing. In the apocalypse, there will be things much worse than big government meanies: there will be undead nasties trying to eat my brain.

Thus, I have been trying to learn how to use a gun. I had a couple of friends who were going to take me shooting, but they backed out. Three times. Apparently “meeting work deadlines” and “dealing with family stuff” is more important to them than surviving the zombiepocalypse. Short-sighted, I say, but whatever.

With deadlines looming and inspiration lacking, I did what any intrepid journalist would do. I staked out a gun club.

I wish this was a great story about how I befriended the NRA, learned how to be a sharpshooter, and now have become part of a quirky but good-hearted community of gunslingers whom I can call on in my time of dire need.

It’s not.

The gun club I visited is situated at the end of a long, dead-end country road and dotted with big empty buildings and big empty shooting ranges. I saw two people while there: a nice older man and his grandson who were just leaving with their rifles as I arrived; they pointed me toward a building the club secretary might be in, but he was out mowing the grounds.

I wandered through a couple of buildings, but I did not find any kind gun nuts with a spare pistol and a spare 15 minutes who would instruct me in the ways of shooting. I did find a schedule of gun safety and usage courses, but the timing wouldn’t work.

Back in the 1970s, my mother and some friends piled in a pickup and headed into the wild to go rabbit hunting. (Hey, it’s boring in Idaho; we’ll take ideas for weekend fun from anyone, even Elmer Fudd.) My mom had never shot a gun before. Her friend handed her a handgun and told her to practice shooting. “At what?” my mom asked. Her friend suggested a chunk of rock by the road. She aimed, she shot, and the bullet ricocheted off the rock. Her friend promptly took the gun back from her. “Becky, don’t shoot at rocks,” he said. “You hit them.”

I hope I inherited my mother’s knack for marksmanship — or at least her beginner’s luck — but as I haven’t yet tried shooting anything, I don’t know.

If I’ve learned anything the past few weeks, though, it’s that guns are hard to come by. And in the chaos of doomsday, it will undoubtedly be even harder.

So if you plan to survive the zombiepocalypse, find a gun, stock up on ammunition, practice shooting, and maybe even join a gun club (but go during a scheduled event; those places are ghost towns on weekday mornings).

As for me, I’ll be practicing using alternative zombie-skull-impaling methods. Like boomerangs, maybe. Or sling shots! I mean, zombies can’t be more thick-skulled than Goliath, right?

Next week: How to survive your desert island, part one.


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