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"Iowa moves back to Pittsburgh" - The Flint Journal > F. Nick Michaels > THE TOMARKEN INTERVIEW SERIES:The Gun Toter! (05-24-04)
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The Gun Toter!

04.21.04-Pullman, WA

The following interview was conducted on behalf of TOMARKEN.COM by Intervalist F. Nick Michaels.

F. Nick Michaels: Start telling me at the youngest time you shot a gun and what gun you shot, and then tell me as the guns got bigger, and how old you were when you got these guns.

Kevin Adams: The first gun I shot… I think the first gun I ever shot was my dad’s .22, when I was 7, I think was the first gun I ever shot.

Michaels: A .22 is a rifle?

Adams: It’s a small rifle, it’s like bigger than a BB gun, you know what I mean? Then, uh, I started shooting shotguns when I was 8. I could shoot the 12-gauge OK, but I mean, that was still too big. Then I got a 4-10 when I was 8, which is like a small shotgun.

Michaels: A 4-10 is smaller than a .22?

Adams: A 12-gauge shotgun is like a 3-inch long shell and it’s like, that big around.

Michaels: Like and inch in diameter?

Adams: Uh-huh. The 4-10 is the same length but it’s a little skinnier.

Michaels: Usually those numbers are the millimeters of the bullet?

Adams: Typically, like the diameter of the bullet. Anyway, I got that when I was 8. That was when I really started hunting a lot. Cause we had 15 acres so we could just hunt.

Michaels: Where did you live when you were 8?

Adams: Illinois.

Michaels: What town?

Adams: It’s called Burlington. And then, uh… I don’t know, my dad used to have shooting parties and stuff. He’d have like 15 of his friends come up and they’d all shoot. They’d bring M-16s and handguns, and I remember my dad was shooting a .44 magnum once. There were all kinds of guys. One guy came out of the Marines and he had a fully automatic M-16 that he brought up, that he would shoot. That thing was… I got to shoot that once.

Michaels: What do you shoot it at?

Adams: A backstop.

Michaels: Is it made out of metal or something?

Adams: No, it’s like 4 log posts. Then you put logs in the bottom so it makes kind of like a valley, and then you stack it up, making a box basically with the 4 posts, and then you fill it up with dirt and rock.

Michaels: And then you just shoot into the dirt and rock?

Adams: Yeah, you just shoot it at it. And you can post shit on it, cause it would be all logs on the one side and you could put plywood on it if you want.

Michaels: Did you learn to shoot by shooting at backstops or did you ever go to a range?

Adams: No, I never went to a range.

Michaels: Ever?

Adams: No, never. There was no point. My dad was really big on gun safety, always was good with that. That was the first thing I always learned, was always about that. I mean, he’s real smart about it, I think, and I’ve never had a problem. I had one accident, but it wasn’t my fault. And that was, it’s been, 15 years now.

Michaels: And what happened then?

Adams: What with the accident? We were hiking, and I was in full camo, in the back on our 20 acres…

Michaels: Was this still in Illinois?

Adams: No this was here. This was a few years ago.

Michaels: In Battleground [WA]?

Adams: Yeah, we were hiking in our back yard and we spotted a deer and we were kind of like, pitting it. My dad was to my left and the deer head moved closer up towards me and my dad thought the deer was me at one point. And he fired and it went about 4 feet in front of me and PHOOM – buckshot through the woods. Then I fucking ducked and screamed at him. And that was the only accident I’ve ever had.

Michaels: When that happened was that it for the day or did you keep looking for deer?

Adams: No, I think we kept looking for deer. I don’t know, I didn’t care that much. It could happen to anybody. It was a pretty long shot he was taking. It was kind of a stupid shot. His eyesight’s shitty, so…

Michaels: You don’t wear orange you just…

Adams: We were hunting in our backyard, we don’t have rules in our backyard.

Michaels: So if you were hunting in a reserve or a national forest or something…

Adams: I’d have to were orange, yeah.

Michaels: You have to have orange?

Adams: Yeah, anything orange. A hat, a vest, a lot of people wear a vest.

Michaels: What if you put orange zinc stuff on your nose?

Adams: No, its got to be a visible, large piece of clothing. I usually wear an orange cowboy hat sometimes. If you get a camo screen that clips to the top of it you can just mob it. I usually get a boonie hat, sometimes I get a cowboy hat.

Michaels: What’s a boonie hat?

Adams: It’s like a crush hat you can just shove in your pocket.

Michaels: OK, so then you were in Illinois and you were 8 and you had those shotguns, and you got your own shotgun when you were 8, right?

Adams: Yeah, and then I got a BB gun after.

Michaels: What kind, like a rifle?

Adams: Yeah, like a pumping BB gun.

Michaels: You don’t shoot that at the backstop, what do you shoot that at?

Adams: I don’t know. Birds.

Michaels: Like crows and…

Adams: Yeah, we had lots of crows. I don’t know. I never used it much. I had the shotgun.

Michaels: You used the shotgun on crows also?

Adams: Yeah, I used it [the BB gun] like twice and then I put it away. I was like, this is pointless, I have a shotgun.

Michaels: I think it’s weird that you got the shotgun first and the BB gun after.

Adams: Well the shotgun was a good deal for my dad. I have the shotgun downstairs. It’s a collector’s item. It’s a Winchester specialty model. There’s a special engraving on the side.

Michaels: I’ve heard of Winchester. I know they’re an old and a good rifle.

Adams: Yeah, it’s a real expensive rifle and it’ll be worth a lot of money. It was broken when he got it. It was in perfect condition except the mechanism was fucked up so he took it down to the gun shop and they fixed it. He got it for free from this guy and gave it to me. And that’s why he got it, cause it was a deal.

Michaels: So then you got the BB gun when you were 8 or 9. What was the next one you got your own gun?

Adams: When I was 10 I bought my own .22. I saved up. It was like 250 bucks. Maybe I was older than that. I think I was older than that. I think I was, like, 12 actually. I think I got a … yeah I did. I got a 20-gauge when I was 11. A 20-gauge shotgun, a pump action. My brother got one too.

Michaels: Your brother’s 2 years younger than you?

Adams: Yeah. So he was 9 when he got his 20-gauge. And then we would turkey hunt with it.

Michaels: Was this still in Illinois? Or was it in Indiana?

Adams: I don’t remember. I think we were still in Illinois. I couldn’t tell you, it’s been too long.

Michaels: You got the 20-gauge, and you also had the .22. What was the next one?

Adams: The next one after that? I didn’t want any guns after that. I didn’t get any guns after that. Adam, my brother, was the one that got really into it, cause he’s big into joining the marines and stuff. So he kept buying guns. My dad’s wasn’t going to pay for any more and I didn’t want to pay.

Michaels: What kinds of guns do you have now?

Adams: I have all three of those guns but then I got my handgun. The handgun was the last one I got.

Michaels: What kind of gun is that?

Adams: It’s a Ruger. It’s a P-94.

Michaels: Is it a 9mm?

Adams: It’s a .40 caliber. .40 Smith and Wesson.

Michaels: Those are the only guns you have now, right? What other guns have you shot? And when and where?

Adams: I don’t know. I shot my first handgun when I was 11. This guy Bill brought over a .22 and showed me how to shoot that.

Michaels: Did you shoot that at the backstop too?

Adams: Yeah. And then, uh… Oh, one thing we used to do that was pretty cool – we used to have this quail trap that was out back. And we would buy quail and you put ‘em in this pen out in the middle of this big grassy field we used to have in Illinois. And then we would let ‘em out. Like 3 or 4 of them. Then we would leave and come back like half an hour later with the dogs. And we would flush ‘em out with the dogs and then shoot ‘em cause they fly over the grass. We used to do that a lot. That was pretty cool.

Michaels: That was when you were like 10 or 11 or so?

Adams: Yeah. And then, uh, I shot my next handgun, another .22, at my friend Mike’s house. I don’t know, what else have I shot? I shot Steven’s 2-70. That’s a big rifle. I shot an M-16, but that was when I was little, when I was younger. That was the Marine guy’s. His name was Bob. My brother has an SKS, I’ve shot those. I’ve shot everything my parents have.

Michaels: The M-16 and the SKS, do you take that kind of stuff hunting?

Adams: No. Not at all.

Michaels: Are you allowed to take those hunting?

Adams: Sure, with like a 5 round box magazine. An normal M-16 comes with a 10 round magazine, you’ve got to get a 5 round magazine.

Michaels: With the M-16, can you just hold the trigger down and have all 5 bullets come out?

Adams: No, you can’t buy an automatic weapon. Well you can buy an automatic weapon if it’s legal in your state.

Michaels: You can’t take an automatic weapon hunting can you?

Adams: No, no, no, no, no, no, no. You can’t take an automatic weapon anywhere.

Michaels: I don’t really know, an M-16 is like a big rifle?

Adams: No, no, no, no, no. The new M-16s…

Michaels: I want to know about the one you shot.

Adams: I thought it was cool. It was just another rifle to me.

Michaels: Was it big?

Adams: Yeah, it was big.

Michaels: And what’s the SKS?

Adams: An SKS looks like an AK-47, kind of.

Michaels: Is that the Rambo gun?

Adams: No that’s an M-60. It’s like… I don’t know, you always see the terrorists with the AK-47s. Wood stock, wood handle, and a wood front grip. It looks really similar to that except it’s longer. It’s like a cheap Chinese weapon. Adam bought it for a hundred bucks off some kid. It comes with a 30 round magazine. It’s fucking indestructible. You could throw it in the dirt and let it sit there for a week and pick it up and still shoot. That’s how it is. It’s pretty nutty, cause it’s really accurate, it’s really reliable, and it’s REALLY powerful. It’s way better than the M-16 I think.

Michaels: You said you didn’t want to be an animal near your house. You said you shot birds. What other animals did you shoot?

Adams: Rabbits, squirrels, chipmunks, deer if we could find one.

Michaels: In Illinois, and Indiana, and Washington.

Adams: Everywhere. Not as much in Indiana. Indiana we only had 5 acres so we couldn’t hunt as much. But we went to this forest reserve all the time and we’d hunt there. And then, here in Washington we’ve got 20 acres. I hunt here all the time. Got my first deer here in our woods.

Michaels: How long had you been hunting for deer before you got one?

Adams: 3 years.

Michaels: Did you ever see one and shoot and miss?

Adams: No. We used to hunt whitetail and they’re really small and real hard to hit. And we were just too little then. When I moved here I was finally old enough where I could really hunt. Like, be efficient at it.

Michaels: When you go home, what kind of guns are in your house right now?

Adams: There are two .30-06s — those are hunting rifles. You could drop an elk with it. Easily. They’re mostly hunting rifles, Adam’s the one with all the assault rifles.

Michaels: What else does he have?

Adams: Adam? Adam has the M-16, the SKS, he’s got a 12 gauge, he’s got a .30-06, he’s got a 4-10, he’s got two .22s, a handgun, he’s got a 9mm. For a while he had this tricked out .22 that had like a 50 round magazine and a sawed off stock. I don’t know if he still has that. What else? Oh, he’s got a 20 gauge too. And I think that’s it. So he has like 12 guns or something.

Michaels: I know you keep a handgun by your bed and if you were in bed and someone was coming in you would use that gun. But if you had a chance to get ready with another gun, would you still get the handgun?

Adams: No, I’d get the shotgun. You’d get in trouble for the handgun. I would anyway.

Michaels: So it’s easier to use the handgun… You can get in less trouble if you use it in close quarters, like somebody’s in your bedroom.

Adams: Yeah, I’d have no choice. I’d still get fucked. They’d probably just fuck me cause their cops. But, I mean, I think it’d be worth it. Fuck that. What if that guy wants to kill you? I mean the probability of it happening is so low, I don’t even think about it. It’s just… if it happens, fuck.

Michaels: You have the handgun mostly in case somebody comes in at the last minute. And the other guns, do you use all three of them when you hunt? Do you take different ones at different times?

Adams: Yeah. I take the handgun when I hunt. I keep in my pack.

Michaels: What would you shoot at with a handgun?

Adams: Like, a bear or something.

Michaels: So it would usually be in close quarters again? It would be last resort?

Adams: Yeah. I usually hunt with a shotgun cause you can hunt anything with a shotgun if you have the right ammo.

Michaels: How close do you have to get to something to kill it with a shotgun? Like a deer and a rabbit.

Adams: Depends what kind of ammo. Cause there’s birdshot and then there’s slugs or buckshot. Birdshot, the shell has like 150 pellets and the pellets rip apart. When it’s a slug it’s just a big piece of metal in their and it’s kind of pointy.

Michaels: So, if you were going to shoot a deer, how far away would you do it?

Adams: Depends how good a shot you were. I could probably hit a deer with a shotgun at 60 yards, 70 yards probably. That would be stretching it, it’s been awhile.

Michaels: Do you ever take the other guns?

Adams: The .22 we take when we camp, cause it’s fun just for fucking around with. You can just go down and – plink – shoot shit.

Michaels: I always see the street signs out here with all the… Do you shoot at the street signs ever?

Adams: No, that’s just stupid. That’s like a federal offense.

Michaels: I want to know more. Is there a good story about guns? Give me an anecdote.

Adams: I don’t know. We’re usually real safe so there isn’t much to tell.

Michaels: Mostly just hunting and shooting at backstops?

Adams: We hunt and then we just blow shit up all the time. Fuck man, I must have killed about 1000 rabbits.

Michaels: What do you do with the rabbits after you shoot them. Do you just leave them?

Adams: No we usually take them and cut off their tail…

Michaels: You cut off their tail?

Adams: Trophy.

Michaels: Then do you have piles of tails?

Adams: Yeah, we keep them in a big Ziploc bag. I’m such a hick. I used to love it. I don’t know how anyone could not like guns like that. I mean, they are so fun. Like you should see when you go to a gun show. Holy shit! You can pick up some weapons, like, I can’t believe this thing. You can pick up a fully automatic, insane little gun. Just crazy! They’re so fun to shoot. Like with the M-16 you can line up a row of bottles and this thing is so accurate from 100 yards you can just tat-tat-tat-tat-tat and just completely destroy that whole row of bottles in like literally seconds. In like 30 seconds you can take them all out.

Michaels: What other kinds of… do you like put junk outside and shoot the junk? Like, ever shoot a TV?

Adams: Oh yeah, coffee cans, milk jugs, there’s always stuff lying around.

Michaels: If big household appliances don’t work anymore do you take them out and shoot them?

Adams: Yeah my dad broke a frying pan once and he threw that out and shot the fuck out of that.

Michaels: Did he throw it up in the air or shoot it on the ground?

Adams: No, no. You don’t shoot rifles in the air at all. A .30-06 round has a lethality of 7 miles. My handgun downstairs, that thing’s lethal up to a mile easy.

Michaels: So if you were some kind of psycho you could go outside, sit on top of your car, and just – plink!-and it would land on somebody…

Adams: No. To be kind of honest, if I wanted to be a crazy DC sniper or something, I could do it and get away with it and probably never get caught. Like, literally, I probably could. It’s not hard. I could shoot easily a moving target with a rifle and what ever it is just shoot it and hit it. My brother makes silencers and shit all the time. (Directions how omitted.)

Michaels: Do you think you can go out on the street and look down the hill and get away with it here? Or would you go to the park on the hill or something?

Adams: Shoot somebody? It wouldn’t matter. I mean you’d have to be mobile. You’d have to be somewhere you could easily move and have exit routes and shoot from somewhere and not be seen or heard.

Michaels: What if you just got in your Jeep and you had your gun and pulled up to a stop sign and stood up and shot and then sat back down?

Adams: I’d be totally fucked. They’d just be like Yeah it was the guy in the black Jeep.

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