My parents refused to drive with me until I had completed Drivers Ed. I turned the key for the first time with a stranger next to me and two random classmates in the back seat. I learned the finer points of accelerating, braking, and turning with a snickering audience who had the privilege of private lessons before performing in front of peers. I discovered blind spots and the carelessness of pedestrians. I learned to merge into highway traffic while a man forced my knee down harder and harder onto the gas pedal. I felt the rage of others. I had never been more afraid. This was one afternoon.
I still remember the thought I had when I first felt the power of metal and speed in my hands.
I could kill someone.
The enormity of such a responsibility was staggering; that understanding flooded my mind again as I considered the potential I now held in my hands.
There was no fear; the safety was on. I held a gun for the first time standing next to a man I trusted. I learned to check the chamber and load my gun. I passed over zombies and aliens to choose a target that didn’t easily allow for a flippant attitude during a lesson in deadly precision. I felt the weight of a ready gun in my outstretched arms. I centered my sights, held my breath, and fired.