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Accuracy and Accountability

Rick Mansfield

“Bring money.  You can bring sandbags, gravel-bags; rock-bags.  Even your own bench.  Just be sure and bring money!”  This was the direction given to a friend asking about a “friendly” shooting match taking place at a cabin that coming weekend.  Along with fried fish and some types of libations, there was going to be some serious shooting.

No doubt a few of Anschutz and CZ-USA’s latest offerings.  Tika and Savage; even Ruger.  Most likely their Precision rifles or the 10/22 modified with KIDD barrels.  The caliber would be .22; shooting from a bench or prone.  The question asked was about the use of sandbags to provide additional support.  You read the answer above.  The emphasis was on “..the money!”

Now, no one is going to leave that contest rich.  Nor extremely poor.  No child is going to go unfed because of any losses; most of these shooters are grandparents or great-grandparents—their immediate families raised long ago.  Nor will anyone win enough to even purchase a new rifle.  A bit of match-grade ammo; perhaps.

So why the bets?  Along with being accurate; the contestants must also be accountable.  Remember, most of these men are old.  At least; older.  Many veterans.  All their lives, in or out of uniform, they have been taught to be responsible for their actions.  In the field, at work, at home.

17th century French playwright Moliere believed “It is not only what we do, but also what we do not do for which we are accountable.”  A century later our own Benjamin Franklin would state “He that is good for making excuses is seldom good for anything else.”  In the old days, excuses were not readily accepted.

Skip ahead to more modern times, the “Buck Stops Here!” Missourian Harry Truman famously declared “If you cannot stand the heat, you’d better get out of the kitchen.”  More recently, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People author Stephen R. Covey advised “Accountability breeds response-ability.”

Mahatma Gandhi believed “It is wrong and immoral to seek to escape the consequences of one’s actions.”  Matthew cautioned us that “…everyone shall give account….” someday.  Wish these words were being read in our capitol—Federal or state.  Or in our town council meetings; by school boards or county commissioners.  Even by a few parents.  Okay, by a lot of parents.

Our country has some real challenges before it.  A significant percentage of our country can no longer pass the Biology I class I took as a Freshman in High School.  Since about that same era; we are again considering “duck and cover” responses to a nuclear attack.  Our own president believes we are closer to Armageddon.  Many of our basic food items have risen by a quarter to a third in just this past year.

I watch little mainstream media; not a lot of news from any source.  I tell stories; present as historical characters.  Encourage our youth to read.  Try to preserve and restore some of our local culture.  The good stuff.  Don’t deny or delete the bad.

I do not begin to have all the answers.  Truth told, I have only a few ideas.  Beginning with we ALL step up and do that which we know is right.  We again recognize the importance of truth.

But maybe.  Just maybe; the answer is getting together with a few bolt-action .22 rifles and shoot targets for a few dollars each round.  Spend some time trying to be accurate and promising to be accountable.  Throw in some fried fish and libations for luck.  Thanks for joining us!

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