Hi. I’m Ramon and I love shooting.
When I was a kid I had a BB gun that I loved using and that I shared with my little brother. I never shot anything else until I turned 46.
Throughout my life I was anti firearms, but I had a bit of curiosity. Getting to know some sport and leisure shooters that dared to speak publicly about their sport helped me take a more open approach to it and finally try it. I ended up hooked.
In shooting I’ve found the hobby I had been searching for years. I practice precision pistol shooting, mostly with a pellet gun but also with pistols at 25 and 50m. Each distance and pistol is a bit different, but one thing does not change: the challenge.
Contrary to what I expected, it is not explosive at all. There’s no sudden release of energy and tension from my body as I press the trigger. Quite the opposite: it is an exercise of control and mindfulness. It is a place for self reflection, inner peace, and enjoyment.
Hitting tens consistently is really hard, and that’s what I love. I have to be present; mindful of my body, thoughts and feelings; and I have to fight my own brain to try to deliver the same exact shot over and over again. I’m on a path to mastery along many other sport shooters, who are regular human beings like you and me.
This is a lifelong path to mastery. I know I will never reach it, but it is a journey worth living and working hard to achieve.
In shooting I’ve found the more inclusive sport I know, where women and men of all ages compete against each other at the same level. If you watch an ISSF pistol or rifle competition you will find elite athletes under 18 and over 50. Some of them have been competing at that level for decades, others have a long athletic life ahead of them.
In training and competition I’ve found a lot of interesting people who care a lot about the sport and could not be farther from being violent hateful criminals, to whom they are systematically equated.
The stigma around shooting has only a negative impact. It does nothing to stop the haters to hurt other human beings with whatever weapon they have at hand (be it a gun, a knife, a vehicle or whatever is handy).
The stigma hurts the peaceful shooters that have found a space to enjoy and work in improving themselves.
What we have to fight is hate. We have to fight crime. We have to fight violence. Fighting shooters and shooting sports does nothing to help with these, and it hurts a lot of people who are at best ostracized and who live in angst because the sport they love is always put into question every time there’s a firearm aggression.
I got tired of this. I can’t stand injustice and prejudice and this is a clear case of both.
So I sent a post out through social media that echoed a bit among other shooters. It stayed in my mind and ended up in my list of projects. I decided to launch Fight Hate Not Sport Shooters (#FHNS) to help improve the perception of sport shooters and the shooting sports. With #FHNS I hope to make it easier to have an open dialogue about shooting and to reduce prejudice.
What I’m asking from you is to help spread the word and be open about our sport. Don’t be afraid to engage in discussion and to say that you are a shooter. Hiding is only going to make it worst for our sport. We have to fight ignorance with care and patience. Share your opinions and explain why shooters are not the real problem. Point to what the real problems are and provide ideas for solutions. Help the world move forward towards a better place for all. Use the tag #FHNS in your social media posts and videos so that those that are curious will find people like you that are taking steps to reduce prejudice.
If you want to support #FHNS and like the t-shirts and other merchandising that we are making, go to the shop and treat yourself.
Wearing and using #FHNS will help spread the word, spark curiosity and open conversations.
I hope that you agree with me enough to take a stand and help. Let us focus on solving the real issues, not attacking scapegoats.
Looking forward to your thoughts and suggestions… and to see you at the range!
PS: special thanks go to Pascal van Den Driessche for making and donating the designs.