Why is he criticized?
just a meter less than eight feet tall
The reason this came up in discussion is, we both attended an IPSC match at Dundee last weekend, and one of the stages (Bay 1) featured a close-array of IPSC targets which were protected by a four-foot vision barrier which had been designated as 'hard cover'.
This was an issue because ... no, I'll let him tell it in his own words:
Put a 4-foot wall in front of a 5'2" shooter and hide targets down behind it and I'll ask for a step up every time. I shouldn't have to hang over a wall up to my armpits to shoot targets. That does not present the same challenge to all shooters as should be the case.Let me see:
Five Foot Two figures out to 62 inches. Subtract four feet (48") from that, and you have 14 inches 'overhang'. I haven't done the math in detail, but since I'm 6' tall (72") this is roughly equivalent to requiring me to hang my frame over a five-foot fence. Because the targets were within three feet of the barrier, a shorter person has to hang his entire upper-body, from armpits up, over the barrier in order to get a clear shot at the targets. My armpits are 57" from the ground, which is 4'9". Fish's armpits are approximately 11" lower than mine, which means that he can easily address targets behind a (4'9" minus 11" = 3'10") vision barrier which is two inches shorter ... but NOT one that is 4' high!
Okay, my math may suck and you think that I'm making a mountain out of a mole-hill, but the fact remains that a target array which is easily and comfortably available for me is neither for Fish.
In point of fact, it is similarly uncomfortable for juniors and lady shooters who of similar stature.
What, aren't we trying (in IPSC and USPSA) to encourage these 'minority groups' to compete?
If so, why aren't we trying to encourage them?
In the actual event, Fish requested a 'step-box' which would allow him to achieve the height necessary to compete at the same level of his taller bretheren. Nobody helped him on this ... he's a man, he can deal with his own problems ... but he showed up when it was his turn to shoot the stage with part of a vision barrier build on a 2x4 frame with what was effectively a 2'x3' shooting platform (board) on top of it. He placed this in front of the tall barrier, and turned in a respectable time on the stage.
If he hadn't been able to find his own 'step-box', which allowed him to engage the target array with the same height advantage which most of us enjoyed, he would have found himself at a considerable DIS-advantage. His score for the stage would have suffered accordingly.
Here's the bottom line:
If you are the stage designer for a match, you owe it to your CUSTOMER BASE to make sure that there is no significant advantage in being "tall". By "tall", I'm talking about, say, five and a half feet from ground to pate.
The reason that the vision barrier was 4' tall, is that it's easy to build a vision barrier by cutting an 8' support stick in half. I don't think that there was a conscious effort to make the barrier 'too high' for people who aren't tall. I believe that it was an oversight. A convenience to the setup crew.
But when a shooter has to drag a platform onto a stage just to let him shoot the stage without incurring a disadvantage, two things happen:
(1) He makes a big disruption to the stage and within the squad,
(2) some folks think he's a dork because ... well, because they're dorks and the only way they can understanding THEIR shortcomings is to make a big deal out of the other guy's shortcomings.
So to speak. (I've already decided that there is no way to avoid the word "short" in this blog, so I'm not even going to try. So much for Politically Correct speech, which is just another way of saying "You're DIFFERENT from us, and we're going to rub your nose in it by SEEMING to avoid the word.")
The bottom line is, if you're a stage designer and you want to put up a 'low wall' on your stage ... how about avoiding the four-foot wall? Do your friends a favor and make it a 3.5 feet tall instead.
How hard is that?
BTW, Fish send me this link, which purports to represent grafitti found on a concrete support column near the 2005 USPSA Nationals "Off I-72). I haven't bothered to follow up the Thread on the source (the Brian Enos Forum), but I'm inclined to believe it if only because it perfectly illustrates the informal rivalry between Limited and Open-Gun users.