OSD 198: Think of the children
This week we came across a video on /r/CrazyFuckingVideos of someone (presumably a dad) teaching a 10-year-old (presumably his son) to do rifle-to-pistol transitions. The kid is proficient. He’s got all the gear, works ably from the holster, and generally looks like he’s training to be Lucas’ mini-me in the next T.Rex video.
First, an observation: the comments are mostly supportive. That’s cool, and probably wouldn’t have been the case 10 years ago.
Second, a question: what does this look like 10 years from now?
Consider a spectrum of kids’ recreational activities. The left end of the spectrum is labeled “pretty much unstructured”. There you have things like recess and playdates. The right end of the spectrum is “extremely structured”. There you have high school football at a school with a nationally ranked program.
Rec league soccer, say, is at about 70% on that spectrum. Some amount of chaos, especially in the younger age groups, but pedagogically it’s pretty structured. The league is organized into teams. The teams each have a coach. The coach teaches you the rules of the game, and about widely known, bread-and-butter plays. Stop the ball, use the inside of your foot to pass. All that good stuff.
Compare that to shooting, which today is at maybe 20%. The younger generation knows Cooper’s four rules of gun safety. But after that, the standard body of knowledge is really nascent. For most kids, what they learn about shooting isn’t the skills-in-a-can starter kit they’d get if they played soccer. It’s just whatever ideas about marksmanship happen to be in their family. That’s the curriculum. It might be good, it might be bad, but it’s just down to oral tradition.
What you see in this video of the 10-year-old transitioning to his pistol is the internet moving us from a world where shooting is passed down through oral tradition to a world where shooting is a formal, well-mapped skill. The value of that is in the feedback loops.
The oral tradition of your family’s shooting lessons may be just fine, but it’s all in your family. It doesn’t benefit from innovations discovered elsewhere. The internet stumbling towards a standard body of knowledge is the opposite. It’s millions of strangers iteratively refining a single shared book called Shooting 101. And in the video above, someone’s reading that book to his kid.
That’s a recipe for accelerating improvement.
This week’s links
Lucky Gunner on this age-old question.
The racial disparity here is so stark that it seems like it should be the main story. Unsurprisingly, the best ideas are over at Astral Codex Ten, in a post from June called “What Caused the 2020 Homicide Spike?”
YouTuber builds rockets and rivets knives to them. The internet is the best.
Top-quality hats, t-shirts, and patches.
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