Alexander Danilov is an Israeli pistol shooter, and one of the best in the world. As his surname suggests, he is one of the many immigrants to Israel from Russia, and originally competed on the Russian team. His accolades are well documented Wikipedia (some highlights):
- Alexander Danilov (born Nov. 10, 1969) is an Israeli pistol shooter, who was a member of the Israeli shooting team at the 2000 Sydney Games and 2004 Athens Games.
- Danilov has been among the world elite in both the free pistol and air pistol shooting events.
- Danilov finished in 2nd place in the 50-meter free pistol at the 1995 European Championships.
- In 1997, Danilov (competing for Russia) finished 5th in the men’s air pistol event at the Munich World Cup.
- Danilov then won the gold medal for Israel at the 1999 European Championships in the 10-meter pistol in Germany.
- Danilov won the air pistol event at the European Championship in Munich in 2000.
- He captured the bronze medal at the 2001 Atlanta World Cup.
- He finished fourth in the World Cup circuit 2002 tournament free pistol event in Finland, and second in the air pistol overall in the World Cup competition.
- He came in 9th in the 2003 European Championships in the 50 meter pistol.
- 2004 saw him come in 3rd in the Bangkok World Cup circuit event.
- On August 5, 2004, he won the Czech Grand-Prix meet with 668.7 points, a new Israeli record.
- In the 2004 Olympics Danilove came in 15th in the 50 meter free pistol.
- Danilov’s wife, Olga Danilova, is a former short track speed skater who competed in the 2002 Winter Olympics.
When I’d recovered enough to ask some questions, I learned that this particular gun owner doesn’t hunt, but he does own both long guns and handguns that he uses for sport shooting. I subsequently learned that shooting is an Olympic sport requiring tremendous precision, skill and training. With a bit more help from Google, I also learned that Israelis Alexander Danilov and Guy Starek are both distinguished competitive marksman. The former, a pistol shooter, won the gold medal at the European Championships in Germany in 1999 and the latter, a free rifle competitor, placed 7th at the 1995 World Championships and 4th at the 1998 World Championships.
Even with this knowledge, I was extremely disconcerted, not so much because someone I know owns guns, but rather because I–so quickly and so wrongly–had jumped to the conclusion that the weapons are handguns and thus are “bad” in every way. I like to believe that I view the world through lenses that bring various shades of gray into focus, and I was distressed and disappointed in myself that, in this instance, I had seen it only in the starkest shades of black and white.