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Too close for comfort

Posted 3/04/14 (Tue)

By Neal A. Shipman
Farmer Editor

Imagine walking into your office and finding pieces of window molding lying on the floor and a bullet slug lying on the ground between your desk and couch.
That is exactly what greeted Kent Taylor, owner of Taylor Ag Services, when he walked into his office at about 10:30 a.m. on Friday, Feb. 28.
“I was in the kitchen at our office when both Mike Jenks and I heard what sounded like something falling over,” stated Taylor. “When we could not find anything tipped over, I went back to my office.”
And that is when Taylor discovered plastic molding scattered on his desk and on the floor. A further look around his desk revealed a two-inch hole in the plastic molding of a window next to his desk and an office couch. Plus a slug laying on the floor next to the couch.
No, Taylor wasn’t the target of the shooting. But rather the bullet had come from someone shooting at the Badlands Shooting Club’s range, which is located approximately a quarter mile to the south of Taylor Ag’s new office building.
According to Taylor, the bullet was probably fired from a .40 caliber handgun, and when he drove to the shooting range there were two individuals shooting.
“This was a really scary incident,” stated Taylor. “It makes you wonder whether or not the shooting range needs to be moved to a different location.”
Taylor feels fortunate that no one was injured or worse, killed, by the errant shot. During the peak of their fertilizer season, Taylor Ag has five full-time and six part-time employees, and Taylor worries that this incident could have an impact on his employees.
“Even if you have the remotest chance of getting shot, why would people want to work here,” questions Taylor.
Which is why Taylor believes that the shooting range is just too close for comfort not only to his business, but to the new water depot that is located just south of Taylor Ag.
“The shooting range was here first,” states Taylor. “We knew that it was there when we built on this location. But we never thought that our building would be hit by a stray shot.”
According to Taylor, his was not the first neighboring building that has been hit by a bullet fired from the gun range. Last year, a neighbor’s building was also struck by a bullet they believe came from the gun range.
While Taylor acknowledges that the gun range does have earth berms that are designed to stop bullets from leaving the gun range, it does happen.
“If people were shooting responsibly, there wouldn’t be a problem,” states Taylor. “But with irresponsible shooting, there is definitely a problem.”
According to Taylor, he believes that in last Friday’s incident, the shooters were firing their handgun in the air, which allowed the bullet to travel to the Taylor Ag building.
“Before someone is killed, something has to be done about the shooting range,” states Taylor. “You have to wonder who is responsible if someone is shot and killed or if a truck is hit?”
The bottom line for Taylor is that the Badlands Shooting Club’s range is just too close for comfort and needs to be relocated to a different site.
“I’ve heard rumors that the Shooting Club may move,” states Taylor. “With this incident and the way that the city is expanding into this area, the time has come for that move.”