Friday, August 12, 2016

Firearms Friday: An Olympic Record

History was made today as Kim Rhode received a bronze medal for her extraordinary efforts which was her sixth consecutive summer Olympics in which she has stood on the podium dating back to the Atlanta games in 1996. She is the first athlete, man or woman, in any sport, to do so at the summer games. She is one of the athletes that you can count on to add to the United States’ total every four years. Unfortunately, there is little fanfare for her accomplishment as there is a tremendous stigma associated with her chosen specialty which she has mastered… skeet.

Rhode, who lives in California, has always been a firm proponent of second amendment rights and, following her recent victory, let her thoughts be known regarding the recently proposed legislation in her home state:

“I shoot 500 to 1,000 rounds a day, so having to do a background check every time I purchase ammo, or every time I want to bring ammo in or out of a competition or a match, those are very challenging for me,” said Rhode. “Also, I’ve had guns in my family for generations that have been passed down, and now I’m going to register them as assault weapons. And they will not be passed on to my son, or to me from my father. It definitely does effect me and give me a reason to speak out more.”

This is why the media doesn’t mention her dominance at the Olympic games and even downplays her significant accomplishment as was the case on the NBC Olympics homepage where the ‘reporter’ states: “Many would argue that a shooter doing this is far less impressive than, say, a gymnast or a swimmer. The act of shooting requires fewer physical attributes, extending Olympic lifespans...” Other outlets chose to focus on mass shootings and, as noted by Bloomberg News, “Olympics Sponsors Want Nothing to Do With Team USA Shooters”. Of course, this is why you won’t see this particular group of Olympians in any of the advertising spots flooding the television stations every night.

It truly is a sad state of affairs when our country refuses to support our Olympians especially those as distinguished and decorated at Rhode. It is sad but it is not surprising given the segregationist stance that the media has taken in recent years… after all we now have Olympians and “those other Olympians”. But, for me, I would like to convey my congratulations to Kim Rhode and to all of the other members of USA Shooting Team both for their performances and for representing themselves, our country, and our sport the way and Olympian should represent the best of us.