Thanksgiving is about much more than turkey
Tradition thrives. WRC-TV reporter Mark Segraves, whose dad was a colleague of mine back in my early days, broke a heck of a story this week.
The Lerner family, the owners of the Washington Nationals, want to build a $300 million retractable roof for Nationals Park.
Cool, you baseball lovers, say? Yeah, but they don’t want to pay for it. They want D.C. stakeholders to foot the bill. The reaction from the mayor was expected. He “started laughing,” according to one source, while another said it would be “cost prohibitive” and “butt ugly.” Not funny. It doesn’t matter what a retractable roof would look like, and it doesn’t matter how little or how much it would cost.
Mayor Vincent C. Gray and taxpayers nationwide who help foot the bills of the nation’s capital should send a resounding message: Hell no 300 million times. What gall. We followed tradition and built the Nats a stadium, and the team’s owners should be telling us “thank you” 700 million times.
Instead, they’re proving they’re not grateful at all.
In other sports news, today’s the day. Today’s the day Washington Redskins fans have to watch our arch rivals, the Dallas Cowboys, play for bragging rights to lead the division.
Dallas playing on Thanksgiving Day is a tradition. Sometime between the meal prayers and the sweet potato pie, and other goodies and libations, many Redskins diehards will begin the transition to the Dark Side.
I cannot be counted among that group,
For the next 5 1⁄2 hours, Mr. Chiapparoli led the class through the basics of handgun mechanics, handling and safety, as well as etiquette on the shooting range.
“The best safety is here,” Mr. Chiapparoli said, pointing to his head. “The best safety is the three rules. The safety [button] can fail.”
While Maryland law only requires a person to fire a single shot for their license, Mr. Chiapparoli had each member of the class fire 25 shots while being watched by range instructors and observed by a peer partner.
The range time was not without its incidents. One man cut his thumb on the hammer recoil because he was gripping the gun incorrectly, while another student accidentally began shooting before an official direction to commence fire and spooked the class. But other students proudly showed off their bullet-riddled targets and highfived their partners.
“I urge you to keep shooting,” Mr. Chiapparoli told the class. “It’s the only way you’re going to get better.”
Ms. Wachsmuth, 40, of Germantown, said she had taken a couple lessons in the shooting range, but the qualification class was a good addition to fill in the background on safety.
Petite, with a blond ponytail, Ms. Wachsmuth said she was interested in a gun for self-defense but was still uncertain about whether she might get one.
“We learned stuff I would never have known,” she said. “I might not ever buy a gun” she added, “but just knowing if I need to
People who take the class don’t have to make up their minds about a gun purchase right away. Completion of the class will fulfill the handgun qualifying license’s instructional requirement for three years.
The license itself is good for 10 years. Mr. Chiapparoli said that of the 18 students he certified in his class, 12 applied for the license.
“You get a wide variety of people,” Mr. Chiapparoli said. “It’s kind of a mixed bag. Some people are there to learn something. Other people are like, ‘Gimme the permit and I’m out of here.’”
When the class was asked why they were considering buying a gun, the answers ranged from protection to recreation to simply learning the basics of using firearms.
“Some people buy guns because it’s their right to buy guns,” Mr. Chiapparoli said.
Wayne Graham, 47, of Frederick, Md., said he enrolled in the class so he would have the license for a possible future gun purchase.
“It’s an important class,” he said. “We talked about safety and learned about the law. It was very interesting.”
Mr. Deleon, 23, of Wheaton, said he took the course for his future career.
“I’m looking to advance in asset protection,” he said. “Everything is pretty straight forward in the class.”
Jan Montgomery completed the course with her 82-year-old mother.
“She lives by herself,” Ms. Montgomery said. “We took the course because she wants a handgun. If we are going to buy a gun, we’ll be ready.”
At the Feast of Sharing, guests enjoy a hot Thanksgiving meal Wednesday at the Washington Convention Center. The Salvation Army, helped by volunteers, prepared dinner for more than 4,000 people in need.