I recently had the privilege of attending a charity dinner on behalf of two of our eminent members. It dawned on me that while we quite legitimately complain and fight over being treated so unfairly and badly as firearms owners, there are times when we could step up, rise above our negative and nit-picking detractors and prove our individual and collective moral worth.
There are innumerable well-deserving causes and charities out there and SSAA branches and clubs have always been at the forefront of such community support. However, sometimes as individuals, we could be looking much closer to home when there is an opportunity to support our own in times of real hardship.
This dinner was for long-time SSAA members and publications writers Steve and Lynn Bain, who late last year endured a series of tragedies that has challenged them both personally and financially. Their public story is only the tip of the iceberg but the dignity and optimism of both Steve and Lynn is humbling and inspiring. A wonderful support group Wounded Heroes Australia is coordinating backing for this remarkable couple and their story and plight is outlined on its website and Facebook page.
This tale, of course, does not cover the whole of Steve, Lynn and their family’s lifetime commitment to our sport and the Australian outdoors apart from writing about it and promoting it for more than a quarter of a century. Even currently Steve had a piece published in the March 2019 Australian Shooter and look for another couple of Lynn’s fabulous game recipes in Australian Hunter 68.
Anyone who has enjoyed their writings or simple but fantastic recipes might like to make a contribution to this worthy appeal through the Wounded Heroes Australia website.
As an unfortunate matter of timing came the tragic flooding event that occurred in rural North Queensland. While nature can be a wonderful provider and sometimes a harsh mother, most natural events can or should be managed and dealt with. This case was quite different. Unforeseen and unmanageable, the scope of this flooding will have lasting effects for years to come.
Many of the property owners affected are those who have shown friendship and made their properties available to SSAA hunters over generations. The opportunity to return the goodwill to these people is here and now and long into the future. Practical support can be directed through groups such as ‘Blazeaid’ or directly to property owners where a relationship already exists. Like SSAA, ‘Blazeaid’ is an organisation that actually makes a real, on ground difference through its efforts rather than just talking about issues.
As SSAA members we are rightly proud of our decency, integrity and independent worth. A helping hand to a mate in tough times may be disappearing in the big city environments but we have an opportunity to show what real Aussies and SSAA firearms owners are all about.
On a more sobering note, with a Federal election imminent, I appeal to every member to take the trouble to assess carefully their local and Senate candidates and sort out the fair-weather political friends. On election day, cast your vote towards a candidate who will support you and if there is a risk that they might not be successful, do not let your preferences flow to an anti-gun candidate or party. There is strength in numbers.
In the meantime there are lots of shooting competition events on the calendar, while duck and quail seasons are upon the luckier ones among us and I might even run into a few of you around the deer ranges. So get out there and enjoy.