Unfamiliarity and Fear, Clouded Perception

Just a quick post to catch the tail end of April. Whenever we are introduced to something (a thing such as a firearm, perhaps, but also living creatures) to a significant extent for the very first time, some of us are overcome with amazement and/or fear. Amazement at seeing this thing in person and fear of the unknown that comes with it. We may not be aware of it, but for many of these things, we have a subconscious expectation of what our senses will perceive in regards to them – what they look, feel, sound, smell, or taste like and other senses. If and when these things do not match our expectations, it becomes a puzzle in addition to everything else.

The details are never recorded in our minds at the time, partly because we are still trying to make sense of them. We want to see the thing as we have seen it in our mind’s eye, not as it actually is. It takes significant cognitive capacity to overcome this, so much that our memories will not be able to accurately reconstruct the information received, even if we have only been out of contact with the thing for a few hours. It becomes a vague shape, almost formless and constantly shifting, never clear. Soon, it melts away into our subconscious, swimming again in the sea of perception and expectations that do not often match the reality we live in.

What this means in terms of firearms is that whenever there is a chance to introduce a complete novice to these things, don’t miss the opportunity to at least ask if they want to tag along for a range visit or similar. Just once is nowhere near enough. It takes a while for the mysticism and Hollywood to get out of their system. Be active in sharing the knowledge. If it comes up, tell them about your own firearms and why you have them set up the way you do (eg. “The thicker grips fill my hand better” or “These sights are easier to pick up in the dark”). It is these details, delivered in moderation of course, that will allow those who are unfamiliar with firearms to get a clearer picture and a better understanding of what they are.

Well, that’s my 2 cents on the matter. Remember, I’m not a psychologist. This is similar to the process I went through myself and have helped others with. I think it’s very important to address this full-on, and directly as well if necessary. Otherwise, don’t expect there to be much of a change.

-DH

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~ by demonhide on April 30, 2012.

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