Can the gun community all just get along? The short answer is “probably not,” but I think we should at least make an effort. That’s everyone from legit warfighters and switched-on concealed carry types to the snarky Bro Vet, tactical LARPerator, and anyone that prefers so-called Fudd Guns to all these newfangled firearms and military LARPing.
Military LARPing and Fudd Guns: So what?
Remember the minor (~ish) controversy surrounding Medal of Honor recipient Dakota Meyer and his comments about people who like to have gear? If you’re wondering what’s going on, watch this:
This is hardly the first bit of drama to arise from what you might call the Internet Gun Culture, and it won’t be the last. Before you get too spun up about it, remember that these are all the opinions of strangers and it’s probably not worth getting outraged over.
Listen, kids, I was a Geardo before it was cool. I had a Blackhawk (excuse me, BLACKHAWK!) vest back in the 1990s. At one point I had a small pile of load-bearing gear sufficient to equip several people. I didn’t have much use for it, I just liked collecting it. I had a plate carrier vest (a South African nylon vest with two Level III steel plates) before the phrase “plate carrier” was even coined.
I also served in the military for twelve years and am a veteran of Afghanistan.
I’m not going to sit here and speak ill of Dakota Meyer. That young man has been through hell and quite literally went above and beyond the call of duty for his country. That’s worthy of respect, even if his opinions on some topics are disagreeable. Not everyone is going to agree with everything you believe. That doesn’t make them bad people or your mortal enemies — that’s just life in the real world.
Dakota Meyer isn’t completely wrong. (Hear me out before you type up an angry response.) There ARE Tactical Timmies out there who spend time military LARPing and want to be “operators” or “Samurai” or “sheepdogs” or “warriors” really badly, yet despite the country being in a protracted conflict for twenty years, they couldn’t find the time to actually go do warrior stuff. Go read some Facebook comments sometime; You’ll find a bunch of kids who think InRange TV’s “2 Gun Action Matches” are basically combat training. There are some silly people out there who seem to think that taking a one-day carbine class and watching a bunch of Garand Thumb videos means they’re better trained than the infantry.
Real talk: good marksmanship is only one component of winning on the battlefield, and depending on the situation, it may not even be the most important component. Leadership and tactics are probably more decisive factors than individual shooting ability. A dozen champion IDPA/IPSC/3-Gunshooters thrown together wouldn’t automatically become the best infantry squad in the world.
The Tactical Timmy/Wannabe Warrior/military LARPing stereotype exists for a reason, as does the Boomer/Fudd stereotype and the Bro Vet stereotype. Those sorts of people can all be insufferable in their own way, but I don’t think any of them are as common as people think. Even then, I don’t think most of them are TRYING to be dicks, they just come across that way. As messed up as things are, I’m still willing to bet that if most of these people were actually able to sit down and talk to one another (versus insulting each other over social media) they would mostly get along pretty well. It’s a lot easier for many people to be assholes over the internet than in person.
The world is more connected than ever before, thanks to the internet. Paradoxically, to me, it seems that we’re more alienated from one another than ever, not just in “the gun culture,” but as human beings.
What I would say to everyone is, “Let people enjoy things.” Yeah, some people are posers, but that’s not everybody. While you’re not likely to get into a running gun battle with your rifle, what is the 2nd Amendment really about? A “well-regulated” militia means trained and equipped. If you’re actually in a situation where you NEED a rifle, you’ll probably also benefit from some kind of load-bearing gear so you don’t have to stick magazines in your pocket. Body armor may not be a bad idea if you’re worried about people shooting at you.
Treat yourself this Valentine’s Day! Certified Used ship FREE!
Shooting guns and owning gear isn’t the same thing as pretending to be something you’re not. You can argue that for many, something like an advanced carbine class is tactical fantasy camp, but so what? It’s fun. If you ever do actually NEED that carbine, you’ll be glad you got some training with it. This is especially true for people who use a carbine as a home defense weapon. Even if you never need it, at least you went outside and had fun instead of sitting on the couch scrolling Facebook all day.
People who go skydiving aren’t “wannabe paratroopers.” Scuba divers aren’t “wannabe Navy SEALs.” Getting a pilot’s license doesn’t make you a “wannabe fighter pilot.”
That all said, some of the folks who are angriest at Dakota Meyer seem to be the ones who do plenty of trash-talking themselves. If you’re the first one to call other people boomer, Fudd*, poor, or whatever else? Don’t dish it out if you can’t take it. Better yet, how about we all chill out a little and quit being dicks to each other?
No? Well, it was worth a shot. Enjoy your internet drama. I think I’ll go put on a tactical vest and shoot a revolver just to see how many different people will call me names. Haters gonna hate.
(No, I don’t care if that’s a dead meme. Suck it.)
What is a FUDD?
The term “Fudd” or “Fud” gets thrown around an awful lot these days. It is, I think, commonly misused. It has evolved to mean “any shooter who isn’t as cool as me,” “anybody who isn’t pro-2nd Amendment”, or possibly “anyone who isn’t as pro-2nd Amendment as me”, but that’s not how it started.
Since a lot of people using the term are probably too young to get the reference, let me break it down for you.
Elmer J. Fudd is a hunter character created by Warner Bros. for their Looney Tunes/MerryMelodies series of cartoons. Designed in the late 1930s by animation legend Tex Avery and originally voiced by Mel Blanc, he served as a nemesis to Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck (since both ducks and rabbits are commonly hunted game animals). Other than being an incompetent hunter, his notable traits were speaking with a speech impediment (a common gag in Warner Bros. cartoons from the era), wielding a double-barreled shotgun, and wearing a distinctive cap with the ear flaps tied up.
The term Fudd, as an insult in the online gun community, started being used in the early 2000s, as near as I can recall. It came to mean those “hunters and sportsmen” that antigun politicians always pander to, politically palatable gun owners who didn’t care for scary “assault weapons”.The phrase “You don’t need an assault weapon to hunt deer!” comes to mind and remains a common trope from the anti-gun crowd.
Of course, the 2nd Amendment has nothing to do with hunting, so their entire point is moot.
The archetypal Fudd was an outdoor writer named Jim Zumbo. In the mid-2000s he wrote an article blasting so-called “assault weapons”, and was met with severe backlash by the internet gun community. But, they didn’t just bash him. He was invited to a Pat Rogers carbine course by Denny Hansen and Rich Lucibella, two of the men behind The Firing Line, which was the biggest online gun community at the time.
The term specifically means people who think traditional hunting and sporting firearms, such as over/under shotguns and bolt-action rifles, are okay, but semiautomatic, magazine-fed guns (“assault weapons”, as they call them) should be banned or restricted. Get it? They’re hunters, so all they care about are their hunting guns.
Such people are rare these days, especially with how comparatively few people even hunt anymore.
Carrying a 1911 in a leather holster doesn’t make you a Fudd. Shooting High Power matches with an M1A doesn’t make you a Fudd. Even being a hunter doesn’t make you a Fudd.
Let people enjoy things and quit being a dick.
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