Pistols and rifles... they don't have to be used in anger

05th June 2017

After seeing the weekends news reports about the horrific terrorist activity in London I reflected on how lucky we are to live on our small safe island.

Guernseymen and women know that our Channel Islands offer us a special place to live, away from the extremes of the modern world. It is very rare that any major incident comes close to our sandy shores.

We enjoy a calm, peaceful lifestyle and we are spoilt by the choice of activities and sports easily available to keep our leisure lives busy. Also, we can easily (and no, I'm not trying to start a debate about Aurigny and Condor travel difficulties) gain access to the wider world as and when we choose and we are assured that Guernsey will remain a 'safe haven' whenever we return.

The observation that 'triggered' (pun intended) my reflection was the realization that firearms have featured both in the national and local news and also in my own weekend’s photographic work.

Firstly there was the use of firearms in London to end the violent act of terrorism. It is sad to say that this use of weapons in modern society has become a necessary reality and we have to be grateful that those charged with the task of keeping us safe are brave, highly trained and capable.

There was also a display of weapons on the streets of Guernsey. A few armed police officers were patrolling St Peter Port to reassure us that our own safety is a priority.

However on Sunday there was a second display of weaponry in St Peter Port... but this time they were historic and part of the Royal Guernsey Light Infantry Commemoration Parade. It is one hundred years since over one thousand Guernseymen were sent to fight in France. More than 300 didn't return. This was a timely reminder of the horrible use of weaponry in warfare and it was an honour to remember those who paid such a high price protecting us all.

But it isn't always the case that firearms are used in anger. This was proven to me as two of my weekend’s assignments involved the use of firearms... but this time they were used for sport.

On Saturday I photographed the XMA Junior Schools Individual Athletics Championships at Footes Lane where a starting pistol played an important role in the track events.

I then covered the Guernsey Rifle Club's weekend competition at the Fort Le Marchant range against a visiting team from the National Rifle Association. I have photographed rifle shooting before and it never fails to strike me how powerful and loud a high velocity rifle is when you are standing just feet away from the competitors. However I also appreciate that I'm completely safe in the controlled environment.

So my weekend has shown how contrasting places and experiences can be. For a few unlucky people in London life will never be the same again because of the use of knives and firearms. In Guernsey we simply went about our normal lives and I’m thankful that my only contact with a weapon was entirely safe… and long may that continue.

I’ve added a couple of picture galleries that feature the NRA weekend and the Junior Athletics: