Friday, 15 May 2015

Day 4 – Friday 17th April

The Second Amendment to the United States Constitution is the right to keep and bear arms, and many Americans feel strongly and passionately in favour of this. Being British, I’ve always struggled to understand why anyone would feel this right to be necessary, but now that I’ve fired a handgun, I’ve found it to be quite liberating – if incredibly unnatural. I remembered how during my first year I was asked my reaction to seeing a picture of two children holding guns, and my response was that it felt cruel and shocking, and my opinion has not changed. The men we met and spoke to within the gun store felt that gun ownership was a way of life for them, the man looking after us on the range even had a gun and a knife on his persons. I also couldn’t help but notice that you could buy a handgun for as little as $50 in the store, which makes them accessible even for those who can’t afford a top of the range gun. I’ll never understand completely why gun ownership is a right people need in their lives, I feel guns are extremely dangerous and that too often they fall into the wrong hands, but luckily for me, I live in a country where guns aren’t such a big deal.

(Top: A picture of me shooting a handgun, an experience which felt completely out of my comfort zone.
Bottom: A list of all the shooting packages which are available in the Gun Store's shooting ranch, varying from handguns, to machine guns.)
Las Vegas is completely surrounded by conservation land, and Red Rock Canyon lies at the heart of this. It offers an interesting juxtaposition of nature and city within one sweeping view, a phenomenon which I’m sure I’ll be pushed to find anywhere else on quite this scale. It’s a wonder that the city hasn’t encroached into Red Rock, and that such a beautiful place can coexist with such a hectic city. Perhaps because the nature of the land at Red Rock is so uninhabitable that the city has no choice but to avoid the area altogether, or perhaps it is preserved to become the playground for those who come to the city, but still yearn for nature and space.

(The view of Las Vegas from the top of the Calico Tanks trail at Red Rock Canyon.)
I thought I wouldn’t enjoy the hiking elements of this trip, but I’ve surprised myself with how ‘fit’ I am, and how since my arrival, this is the most clear my head has been.  It’s such a beautiful thing to have lungs that allow you to breathe this fresh air, and legs which allow you to climb mountains, and it’s a shame that sometimes we don’t realise that is all we need in life. I feel privileged to have hiked Red Rock Canyon, and experience the freedom of nature alongside the crazy confinement of Las Vegas.

(Hiking back down from Calico Tanks at Red Rock Canyon, showing the rocky terrain.)

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