Wednesday, October 26, 2005

An Adult Moment

Yesterday was tactical team training. We crammed a lot into one day- entries, vehicle assaults and recertification on a variety of less-lethal weapon platforms. How's that for jargon? Less-lethal describes new technologies in law enforcement designed to incapacitate a threat with less chance of doing serious injury. Not no chance, just less chance. These are things like bean-bag rounds for shotguns. The 'platform' is what the LL round is fired from.

Anyway, due to bitter experience, I'm largely skeptical about the effect of LL rounds in real life. Rubber bullets have blown holes in people and bean bags have bounced off with no effect in my direct experience... I've heard of other failures often.

I'm not going to get into a debate about the efficacy of LL technology. The citizens want something as likely to put down a crazy, violent, drugged threat as a handgun without the messy death and vicarious guilt part. Businesses are trying to fill this gap.

Back to the subject- I trust things based on my experience. We have a round that we haven't used yet- essentialy a shell for a 40mm grenade launcher filled with .60 cal rubber balls. I've been curious about its effects largely because I've been less than a yard away from a flash/bang type grenade that also threw rubber balls and never felt them.

So, during a break in training I found myself staring down the barrel of a 40 mm from 15 yards. I had a helmet with face shield on my head and another helmet held over my groin (I'm not completely stupid).

"Ready?" the Deputy called as she sighted in.
"Ready." I said and lowered my head so the face shield would cover my throat but I could still see.

Then, for just a second, I wondered, "Why am I doing this?" It was an adult moment. Very grown up, very mature. They happen sometimes. I had one just before my fourth jump out of an airplane. Just before I got married.

I always got over it. Got married, jumped without hesitation... and saw the flash as the 40mm fired.

It stung a little bit. There are two welts on my arms and I felt a third just barely when it hit my body armor. Oh well.

The adult moment is very much about fear, sure, but also something else. People don't change or grow by doing the mature, sensible thing and staying in their comfort zones. Kids are growing all the time. I will be too, learning and experimenting and pushing through fear and pain to the big world outside the zone. There's way more world outside my comfort zone than in it, and the world is full of cool stuff.

No comments: