May 18, 2020

Pandemic Party of Families Shooting Salute Targets

A Pandemic Party - Families that Shoot love Salute Targets

by Col Mike Howard US Marines (Ret),

(Husband, Father of Five, Historian, Combat Engineer, Iraq War Vet, Shootist & Raconteur)

It is Spring 2020 and we are several months into the Corona Covid 19 Pandemic. Our world has changed!

The outbreak has been challenging and sensational, globally. Regionally it had affected folks in a variety of ways, some apparently devastatingly, others much less but scary and isolating. Of that, most can agree that there have been so many questions asked and concerns ranging from the virus itself, to changes in our routines, future jobs, stability of the economy, meal preparations, … and, to the availability of toilet paper, a wide variety of services, and to us 2nd Amendments types, ammo supplies. Many of our neighbors have now taken an increased interest in the availability and acquisition of weapons for home defense. The old adages of “A gun in the hand beats a cop on the phone” and “When seconds count, the police are minutes away” have resonated with many in a realistic awareness and concern. I have personally fielded many questions by phone and email from people who want to learn more about America’s 2nd Amendment and where to start regarding gun ownership, training, and responsibilities.

With the virus casualties rising, controversial press conferences, small businesses shuttering, and the race for the cure, there's been a lot of mixed news. We all await the “light at the end of the tunnel” with the hopeful expectation that America and other nations are opening up sooner vs later.

In classic American and British form, the Anglo-Saxon Western world has focused on the factual realities of the situation and buckled down to do what needs to be done. An indomitable spirit of freedom and liberty makes light of the situation. We have weathered world wars, great depressions and other challenges. And a vital part of our western civilization is free speech, free press, and of course the first port of call defense mechanism, to soothe collective anxiety: humor and light-hearted sanity checks. Whether that's quasi-philosophical coronavirus quotes or full-on coronavirus jokes, most of us have endeavored to give each other a healthy dose of humorous relief.

Many of us have used our time reading, writing, viewing media and a vast array of film libraries. We have gardened, performed home maintenance, and embarked on new culinary adventures within our kitchens. We have journaled and tried to write pithy, impactful statements.

One of the main areas of encouragement for me, my family, and close friends in our literal “neck of the woods” is shooting. We are blessed with several dozens of acres of forest and cleared area west of Portland, Oregon, in a historic area called Helvetia. Having founded Salute Targets on Christmas Day 2003 in-between Iraq War combat tours, I have a variety of private pistol, shotgun, carbine and rifle ranges laid out in appropriate areas based on range distances, impact areas and training requirements. Salute Targets started from a military need (reactive steel targets for US Marine and US Army forces training the new Iraqi Army) and has spread to both law enforcement and civilian shooter needs, wants, and joys.

This was no more clearly and joyfully demonstrated to me again recently than when a dear Israeli family came to visit us. The father is on assignment for several years to a local high-tech corporation that has an American-Israeli partnership. My son was attending a cooking class at a local church where I went to pick him up. I just happened to be wearing an Israel Defense Force Combat Engineer (“Handassah Kravit”) hat that was given to me in Israel when I visited a Battalion up on the Golan Heights that was commanded by an old friend. As I picked up my son, a young ten year old girl named Tamar noticed & read the Hebrew inscription on it and asked me if I was Israeli. Soon I met her Mom and exchanged pleasantries which lead to our families getting together for swimming and celebrating the 4th of July. And being good Israelis, our newly adopted friends showed a keen interest in shooting. And so another great “2nd Amendment” family and friends connection was established.

So a new version of a “Pandemic Party” took place here in Helvetia, Oregon, when we gathered again for cooking, eating and shooting. And what better targets for Tamar to “plink” at with a vintage Winchester Model 62 in .22 caliber than the Salute scarecrow targets protecting my wife’s Blueberry and Raspberry patches! Tamar, her brother, and Dad were soon placing hit after hit on our popular “Saddam Hussein” and “Osama Bin Laden” targets. As I told them, at Salute we have an old saying: “If you don’t hear the pling, you have missed the thing” … one of the other great aspects of steel silhouette shooting!

There you have it … another practical pandemic pastime! Shooting is indeed an international, cross-cultural passion that is exciting, challenging, important, and above all fun!

So check out … you won’t be disappointed!

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