Monday, July 12, 2010

A Lesson in Class and Grace

Tonights Top Shot...

There's a way to do it, and a way not to do it. Caleb Giddings showed the world that he knows how to do it.

I realize this was months ago now sir; but I have to congratulate you for showing that you were, in every way, the better man.

... Actually, that leads me into something that bugs me...

Look, I know it's easy to poke fun at Caleb because he's short, and he looks and sounds like a kid... It bothers me that the producers decided to play that up.

It doesn't surprise me, but it bothers me.

Frankly, I don't think that Caleb has been treated with the respect that he is due.

I've given Caleb a lot of shit over the past few years, but that's good natured "blogger and shooter to blogger and shooter" shit. When it comes down to it though, I'm right there to acknowledge and congratulate him for his shooting accomplishments, on his excellent journalism on competitive shooting, and for his efforts to advance the shooting sports.

I think it's only what he's due.

They label Caleb as a "collegiate shooter", but never mention in the show (it is on the web site) the fact that he is a competitive and in general highly ranked (he is one of the top shooters in his region), IDPA, USPSA, and Steel Challenge shooter.

Obviously, this was to play up his apparent youth, but he wasn't by far the youngest (Caleb is 27). Kelly of course is only 22, but Brad is just 26; and on the other side, Andre, and Blake are just 28, and JJ and Peter are just 29.

Also... and this one REALLY bothers me, much more than anything else...

...Unlike all the other veterans on the show, where they always put "former marine" etc... under their name, they never label, note, or bring up that Caleb is also a veteran (it isn't even really on the website, just a quick note about the Coast Guard academy). I find that extremely disrespectful, both of Calebs service, and of the Coast Guard.

It's just a matter of respect, plain and simple.

Yeah, I know, the Coast Guard has been moved under homeland security, and yes I know they get a lot of crap about not really being military... Bull. I've known a lot of Coast Guardsmen in my life, and every one of them deserved the same respect and courtesy due any other service member.

Oh and another pet peeve of mine (this one Caleb and I have actually talked about)... those of you who think the Coast Guard isn't military, because they "don't put themselves in harms way" (I have actually had other servicemembers say this to me, nevermind civilians) I'm sorry, that's just silly and ignorant.

I'll give the Coasties as much shit as anybody else (including calling them coasties, which they hate), but (not to denigrate any of our armed services) at the end of the day I will guarantee you that most Coast Guardsman spend more time in harms way in their career than 90% of the members of the other services (and for damn sure they save more lives every year). Not only are they the nations defacto drug cops on our coasts and waterways (and all the risk that entails. Drug smugglers don't play nice), but they also face a much bigger enemy, who attacks in times of war and times of peace equally... The Ocean.

Every sailor knows, The Ocean is doing it's damndest to kill every last person floating on it or in it, every moment of every day, and if you screw up, she's got you.

The Coast Guard has an unofficial motto that I think says everything you need to know about the service:
"You have to go out... you don't have to come back".

I know Caleb has nothing but positive feelings about his experience on Top Shot, and that it was a tremendous opportunity that I'm sure will prove out to be a great benefit to his career as a firearms and shooting sports journalist. And I'm sure he's going to disagree with the fact that I think he wasn't treated properly...

I just don't think that anyone who has put on this countries uniform and put himself in harms way; and has come home and taken care of his family, and gone on to shoot at a championship level; should be portrayed on national television as a beardless boy.