Former NCJ intern and all-around stand-up guy Zach St. George wrote a cowboys-and-guns article and now it's been picked up by The Atlantic online.
St. George, originally from Alaska, left Humboldt earlier this year after graduating from Humboldt State University. He's now in graduate school at U.C. Berkeley.
The Atlantic piece, "What No One Wants to Admit About Guns: They're Fun," features single-action shooters -- recreational shooters who dress like cowboys and use old, Wild West-style guns:
Cowboy shooters -- or members of the Single Action Shooting Society, as their group is officially known -- are part of one of the fastest-growing shooting sports in a country of gun lovers. The men (and few women) who partake in it are not slick, like the crew-cut, law-enforcement guys who meticulously measure the distance between bullet holes they shoot in human-silhouette targets. The hats, the nicknames, the old guns -- the whole thing is a little dorky. But cowboy shooting, with no solid connection to either self-defense or hunting, is also unique among the shooting sports in its purity of purpose.
St. George doesn't downplay the seriousness of gun violence in our society, nor the divisiveness over what to do about it:
Less than two miles away from the Richmond Rod and Gun Club, in notoriously violent North Richmond, weapons are being wielded in earnest. According to the Small Arms Survey, a monitoring center in Geneva, Switzerland, Americans own roughly 300 million guns, or just under one gun for every child, woman and man -- the highest rate of civilian gun ownership in the world. Advocates of gun control point to the roughly 10,000 Americans murdered with firearms every year. Gun rights advocates retort that Americans have a founder-given right to bear arms. Guns aren't the problem, goes the refrain -- it's the people who use them.