Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Now I Know How Jerry Feels

I got a phone call last night from Tonya, my daughter. It started with a statement very similar to this; "Hi daddy, I need to learn how to shoot a rifle".

Now I've heard a lot of people say they "want" to learn how to shoot a rifle, but this was the first time I had ever heard anyone, not to mention my sweet petite daughter, say I "need" to learn how to shoot a rifle. Tonya is fairly well acquainted with a pistol, as is her mother. Her mother, by the way was always able to outshoot me with a pistol or revolver. But Tonya and I have never shot pop bottles with a rifle of any sort.

Naturally I had to ask, "Tonya, why do you 'need' to learn how to shoot a rifle"? I then went into roughly the same dialogue with her I just had with you about the difference between 'needing to' and 'wanting to'.

It seems that quite some time ago Tonya applied to the Danville City Police Department, and at about the same time to the Pittsylvania County Sheriff's Department. She was subsequently called in for some interviews with the Danville Police Department and, without getting too deep into the particulars, it seems a reverse discrimination affirmative action kind of thing kept her from being hired. Then, last week she was called by the Pittsylvania County Sheriff's Department for an interview and some physical testing. She passed the physical stuff, and apparently the interview portion as well, and is scheduled to take some firearms tests on Thursday. Tomorrow! She was worried that she may have to show some proficiency with a rifle at that test, and she is somewhat intimidated by that thought because she has never handled a rifle. In my ham-handed fatherly way I assured her that she would probably not have to deal with a rifle because a deputy would most likely be issued a shotgun instead. Oops, that was hardly reassuring. Now she's not worried about a rifle, instead she is concerned that she must deal with some big bad shotgun. I think I was able to convince her that actual proficiency with the weapon would not be what they are looking for, that can be taught, but instead a general knowledge of firearms handling. On that score I know she will do well.

Of course after all of this was settled, I had to ask why she waited until this late date to let me know all of this. She was afraid that my reaction would be too similar to that of her mother, a patronizing tone and a questioning of why anyone would want to aspire to such a silly thing. Yep, her mother has always been a great cheerleader for Tonya. Of course I told her just how proud I was of her for making this decision, and how I was behind her all the way. I didn't express my concern that in Pittsylvania County, it being Virginia's largest County, backup may take some time to respond. She just needs to know that I love her, I'm proud of her, and I'm behind her. And I'll pray for her safety every day.

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