Shooting ranges have gotten a bad rap lately, what with the whole "letting young girls loose with Uzis" situation. It's unfair, really. Shooting ranges are safe, wholesome places the whole family can enjoy. They're like Chuck E. Cheese, but they replace the scary, mechanical animal band with scary, mechanical weaponry.
The NRA knows this, and that's why they tweeted out a link to an article called "7 Ways Children Can Have Fun at the Shooting Range." I didn't click on the actual link myself because I didn't want to inadvertently find myself on the NRA's mailing list or whatever, but the ideas mentioned in the HuffPo article (zombies! colors!) are pretty good. Though mine are better.
1. Forget having the kids shoot at zombies. Zombies are cool! We like zombies! Also, shooting at zombies is a little passé. It's been done -- yawn -- and kids are always on the lookout for the next hot thing. So, up the ante. Have the kids shoot at something truly reviled, like broccoli spears or a picture of Justin Bieber. But why not stop there? Let the children come in with their own targets, like Jimmy, that asshole who stole Jenny's lunch money during gym class, or Mr. Belding, that jerk teacher who gave Jenny a low grade in math. Personalize the experience. It will be more meaningful that way.
2. Make the target background look like a Minecraft world. Pretty sure I don't need to elaborate on this one.
3. Dress-up! Give kids the fun experience of donning the same clothing as noted gun toters from history and the movies. Little Cayden can be Dylan Klebold, Jayden can be John Wilkes Booth, and Brayden can go as Bonnie Parker! It's a learning experience and a roleplaying game.
4. Pin coupons for free ice cream and cookies over the heads and hearts on all the target silhouettes. Hit a coupon, win a cookie. Positive reinforcement.
5. Musical Machine Guns. The kid left without a gun when the music stops becomes the target while his armed friends hunt him in the woods. It's basically the Hunger Games, and kids love the Hunger Games! Also, since all of Johnny's friends are training to be such good marksmen, it's in his best interest to learn how to run like the wind.
6. Coloring books and crayons! To use as skeet, of course. Art is for sissies.
7. Videos! Specifically, videos of other kids around the world -- kids from Africa and the Middle East -- being taught how to shoot by their own parents and elders. The videos could be a heartwarming look at how we're not all that different. Naturally, the song "It's a Small World" would play over the images. On second thought, that song might drive the parents crazy, and in a room full of guns...well, that could spell trouble.
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