I have a bit of a reputation professionally and personally for shooting from the hip, metaphorically speaking. People who say that about me speak it as if it were a bad thing that indicates recklessness. They also say the same type of thing when professional quarterbacks are quick to throw the ball down the field under risky circumstances—they call those people “gunslingers,” as if the term concocted abandon of calculation and patience. So I need to set the record straight on a couple of things that I have been thinking about as I have contemplated the root cause of my sudden obsession with Cowboy Fast Draw. Like my bullwhip work, most of the targeting is done more through feeling than in properly lining up the barrel with a target with careful assessment. I happen to be good at quick targeting, as I have shown under many competitions of speed and accuracy with bullwhips and am routinely very good at the Ohio Bullwhip Fast Draw that we perform each year at the Annie Oakley Days in Greenville, Ohio. There is no time to take care and to aim the bullwhip at a target. I have learned through muscle memory where all the points of trajectory are, how wind affects my aim, and to consider all the factors of targeting under stressful, timed conditions. I have it down to seconds with a bullwhip, and my new obsession with Cowboy Fast Draw is to further speed up my thinking to the hundredths of a second instead of just a second or two. That’s why I’m personally attracted to those types of hobbies—but I find society’s labeling of those types of people to be disturbing and indicative of something much more symptomatic of an overall disease that is crippling our country.
With the Cowboy Fast Draw Association what I love most is that the aim and accuracy of the endeavor is all performed by shooting from the hip. If a shooter takes the time to aim, they will lose. Too much time is taken off the clock unless a shooter literally plucks the gun from their holster and levels the barrel just above the rim with a quick pivot and unleashes a shot within a hundredth of a second from seeing a light indicating that action needs to take place. I have thought about this concept for years with my bullwhip work and the net result for me is that when I need to make a hard decision fast, I can and do with tremendous accuracy. I have a great track record of making good decisions in a split second manner. But that’s not good enough for me. I want to be faster, so I am taking up Cowboy Fast Draw to improve myself. When I say that I intend my official career to be that of a gunfighter, this is part of why I reference it this way.
That is why in many manufacturing fields across the United States, from aerospace to auto manufacturing our ability to produce has been greatly crippled by allowing these timid types who require of themselves to aim very carefully in order to hit a target to strangle our productivity because their primary objective in life has been to diminish the input of the traditional gunslinger—the bright eyed problem solver who shoots from the hip often and hits most of the time. Their jealousy and need for social equality have actually crippled our manufacturing capacity with mundane academics that are so timid to pull the trigger on anything for fear of not landing a mark that they shoot slowly and miss often. When they declare that “so and so” “shoots from the hip” they mean it as an insult, but what they reveal is the source of a vast detriment—the root cause for the declining effectiveness of American manufacturing through improper association toward definitions of quality.
In Cowboy Fast Draw the rules are strict, just as they are in the world of manufacturing. You must have your gun holstered and your hand cannot be in the trigger guard. You must use a single action firearm. The distances you shoot from are 15’, 18’, and 21’, which is quite a distance for a firearm. You cannot shoot before the light comes on. Within that context, you must figure out a way to draw your gun, hit your target and do it within a fraction of a second. If you miss, yet beat your rival to the draw, you don’t get a score. You must have speed and accuracy—just like in our bullwhip competitions. The goal of the skill is to develop both, not just be strong in one facet. You have to be accurate and fast, not just fast, not just accurate. By that unit of measure the timid fuddy-duddy is just as wrong as the hasty fool who is often referenced as a “gunslinger.” So when the bureaucrat says that the person who shoots from their hip is reckless, they are just as dangerous, because their inaction is just as detrimental as a mistake. Just because a shot isn’t taken doesn’t mean it wasn’t needed.
In the field of life, there are many targets and most of them have to be hit at 21’ or less, metaphorically speaking. And they require speed and accuracy to deal with them. Necessity dictates that the quickest to the target gets the prize, and in the competition of life, the first to draw and hit their target wins. Time does not wait for the timid to pull their gun, aim the sights, take a deep breath, let out half of it, then to squeeze the trigger at just the right moment. In life, you have to draw and shoot before an eye can blink. Bureaucrats try diligently to stop time itself with mountains of paperwork to hide the fact that they don’t have the courage to draw and fire. Both actions require decision-making rooted in having a conceptual understanding of the target and hitting it without the aid of eyes and time to guide the bullet to the intended destination. You have to know where the target is in space and time and trust yourself to hit it faster than a mind can think about it.
Those who are successful at shooting from the hip are those like the people in Cowboy Fast Draw. There they dress up in cowboy outfits from the late 1800s period of American history. But they might as well be the deal makers and job creators who have made the economy of America the greatest in the world. Shooting from the hip for them is necessary, and a skill that few have. In their hands, it’s a competent task. But in the hands of the bureaucrat it’s a serious risk that is nearly a guaranteed failure. Bureaucrats are incorrect to assume that all people shooting from the hip are reckless just because the skill in being successful at it is something they lack. Rather, they should work hard to become better and to stop trying to stop the world with paperwork so that they can “feel” successful. In life you have to hit your targets and you have to do it quickly—before someone else does. The world doesn’t stop for anybody—especially those laced with indecision and timidity that lead to massive bureaucracy. Success finds those who shoot from the hip, because they are able to do things in life with the two ingredients necessary for accomplishment—to perform tasks with speed and accuracy. Nothing else is suitable for a definition of success—and that is why the term “gunslinger” has been slandered to hide the real incompetence of the typical bureaucrat.
Rich “Cliffhanger” Hoffman