Whether you are putting together a magazine or a new kitchen island, you need skill, tools and, more often than not, a little luck. Towards year end, or at the January-held SHOT Show at the latest, I generally spend some time with W&G’s contributing writers going over what features they are interested in doing, and discussing any ideas I might have which might interest them. By February I have a pretty good idea what’s coming down the pike, but the order of things is often changed, because neither I nor the writers can control a host of variables, including when manufacturers may have test samples available (many of us, for example have long since given up expecting a certain company’s carbine, touted as coming soon, just about every year at SHOT) and our contributing editors lead lives which don’t revolve around the magazine, leading to the occasional glitch or (ahem, certain columnists) even inexplicable delays in getting me material. So, when we end up with what might be considered a theme for an issue, it’s almost entirely by accident, even if it is, in my opinion, a fairly serendipitous one.
So, about half way through putting this issue together, I started thinking of it as “the DIY” issue, since many of the features focus on things like skills and tools.
Lynn Givens’ training article on Page 45 sort of sums up the situation we often face when speaking to non-gunowners and the media about women gunowners: “Just to go around the block, the female driver has to operate the ignition, the steering wheel, the gear shifter, the turn signals…How is it, then, they could not learn to operate a handgun.” My exasperation with the media sometimes takes a similar turn when I say, “We have no problem with women owning their own homes, managing their finances, operating a Cusinart—but we don’t think they can handle guns?!?”
Guns aren’t toys (see Genie Jennings column, Page 36), but they aren’t rocket science, either. If things like different types of actions (Diane Walls, Page 16) and the proper way to rack a slide (Lyn Bates, Page 10) are competently taught, then the operator—even if she’s wearing a “Hello, Kitty” T-shirt, is more than capable of being a gunowner.
With those types of basic tools in place, she is then free to explore new tools, like the next generation of sonic cleaners discussed in Carolee Boyles’ piece on Page 28.
Once you have a bunch of tools—from guns to accessories, then you have to start thinking about maintaining them, as Bob Campbell talks over in his feature on Page 22. It’s no accident that both Bob and Lynn use cars as metaphors and jumping off points in their articles. When you stop to think about it, the millions uponmillions of people driving cars today are using a pretty big “tool” to go about their daily lives.
I mentioned the kitchen island in my opening paragraph because I recently had the experience—there really is no other word—of first acquiring one (a much more complicated process than you might think!) and then putting one together. After two days work by two otherwise fairly intelligent adults, there remained only a recycling bin’s worth of packaging material, four wooden dowels and a 24-page pictograph booklet. Fortunately, the gray hair was in place before the project was started. The island, gentle reader, was finished.
Could the whole process have been simpler—from sale to assembly? Of course! Could the booklet have been better written? Yes, especially if after whatever translation program was used to render it into English, the lawyer who insisted that every time a Phillips-head screwdriver was shown a caption proclaim, “item not included,” had been told—“I think they got it after the first 12 pages.”
Nevertheless, I suppose more information is better—and that there is, roaming the land, a woman more hapless than I, thinking “some assembly required” is going to be a piece of cake—and not a hand-rolled, fondant-covered seven-layer one, either.
Whether your next DIY gun project is hand building a modern sporting rifle, or just assembling an all-encompassing cleaning kit, I have every confidence you can do it! (Just hang on to the dowels in case you ever need them.)