Olympic shooting began at the Summer Olympic Games in 1896 but has not been consistently part of the Summer Olympics every four years. However, with mass shootings like Parkland that have happened in 2018, I do find it ironic that it is a sport that rewards participants for shooting.
Shooting requires skill and precise aim in order, which pays off in something like the Olympics. You have to take shooting as a sport with a grain of salt because there are people who have that mindset of “if it doesn’t affect me personally, then it’s none of my concern,” which is an extremely selfish way of thinking. Even though shooting is considered a pastime, I find it ironic that we are spending our time, money and effort on supporting Olympic shooting and watching it on TV or in person.
You have to keep in mind the context of Olympic shooting because shooting as a sport is more about precision and target. I would like to see more regulations on gun purchases because it is way too accessible for people to buy guns. Exerting time and effort into participating in Olympic shooting sends mixed signals. At the same time, we try to address our concerns about shootings like Parkland and attempt to protest about gun control and regulation.
For the United States, I think Olympic shooting will always attract a specific demographic. Especially in the South, gun owners will refuse to stop participating in shooting because they will argue that this is a free country and we have the right. But even though you have the right, you need to understand the appropriate time for shooting, which is restricted to Olympic shooting or hunting. It comes down to how to handle gun ownership appropriately and responsibly. I consider Olympic shooting to be appropriate but only in a sport setting, not a recreational setting. That is when the door opens up for tragedy and abuse.
You have to ask yourself if you support this sport or not based on what you believe. But keep in mind events like the Parkland shooting have happened. That sport that you participate in for fun has taken lives because gun owners have abused their right and were not prepared for the responsibilities that come with owning a gun. If you are going to participate in the sport, then you need to recognize the responsibilities and the consequences that can come with shooting as a sport.
Gracie Donoghue, Columnist
[photo courtesy of Javid Nikpour]