Ever had a guilty pleasure? Sure you have. For me, it’s the documentary. Grainy, gritty and often featuring hand held footage that makes the brain slosh against the walls of the cranial vault, they are exciting because they represent things I know relatively little about. Because of this requisite lack of knowledge, I’m drawn in, wanting more, abandoning the Netflix et al to dig out particulars from Wiki and Google after the show ends.

When I was young, it was Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom that turned my crank, documenting week after week, the exploits of things furred and feathered on the Savannah, Serengeti and in the Amazon to name a few heavy hitters. A few shows come to mind when looking back. Time lapse photography

Beautiful and deadly.
Beautiful and deadly.

charted the life and death of blossoms in one instance and funky caterpillers that napped under thick ice in another. Watching the little beasty reborn one spring after another was a lot to believe and yet, there it was. Likewise, the remarkable Cheetah, topping 93 miles per hour—but only to a maximum of two minutes—culminating in a killing, combining grace, elegance and gore in one fluid motion.

That I love animals (except arachnids; these freak me out) regardless of genus and species is given; that the comely Cheetah’s exploits drove me to the fridge to sate my hunger each and every time was the sum total of the guilty pleasure heretofore mentioned in paragraph one.

Which brings me to the McMillan Tac 50, a tapered long barrel of a .50 calibre sniper rifle so powerful as to be able to punch through concrete walls and take out three targets at once and at a distance of one mile or more. I had no idea.

“Come on,” my husband yelled from the top floor bedroom. “It’s sniper night on (the watchamacallit discovery-type channel, but not Discovery, I do not think *scratching head)”

Now before I’m lumped in with Michael Moore, who has every right to express his opinion, I want to tell you that I, too, have firearms experience. Although I haven’t seen American Sniper to which which my friend Gilda, a.k.a The Smartest Woman in the World (more on her later), gave a five star endorsement, I can appreciate the swirl of excitement both positive and negative that surrounds the film. Handling a firearm is overwhelming. Powerful, dangerous, it is also a precision instrument requiring careful cleaning and tending lest it jam and explode in the operator’s face.

Like many kids of my generation, it was not uncommon to take hold of Grandpa’s .22 calibre rim fire varmint rifle and shoot up spent pop cans off a rotted old log out back of the cottage. Though we’d never taken a firearms course and had never heard of things like PROOF and SAFE, the idea that we not point the thing at one another was kinda inherent. Likewise, the natural bracing that came with the squeeze of the trigger. To big shots, a .22’s recoil is laughable, but to a 12 year old it was real enough.

Which brings me back to the McMillan Tac 50. While I’ve never seen .50 calibre ammunition up close and for real, I could easily infer from the doc that these are mighty big buggers. As is the recoil. One user in the doc basically said that it’s not a weapon you enjoy being behind after 10 or 12 shots. I get that. I felt the same way after two weeks of night shifts at the funeral home. But it’s a job, and those who do it, do it because they want to. And so I was really surprised to learn that a Canadian sniper holds the record for long distance shoot to target: one and a half miles. I dont’ know what to make of such information other than to say that I’m intrigued.

Who invents weapons? Chemists? Genies? Engineers? Alchemists? Rocket scientists? Professor Snape? I’ll let you know, once I pry myself away from Wikipedia.

Adult, unapologetic and cognizant, I wish you good day. Let’s stay above it.


Photo Credits:

Tac 50 and Cheetah: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/deed.en Creative Commons Share Alike 3.0 Unported


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