I don't mean to offend. It's probably going to happen anyway.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

NRA Annual Meeting AAR, Part 1

By popular demand, I will be breaking up my coverage of the NRA convention into bite sized morsels. My ADD writing style can't quite decide what to start on. Largely, my breakdown is going to be pieces, people, and politics. I think I shall alternate between these until I have nothing more to say. We'll start with politics.

On two opposing ends of the spectrum, we have Constable Mark Brewer, and on the other, the protesters.

We'll start with the protesters. Despite other media claims, the most people I ever personally saw protesting was about a dozen, and that's a generous estimate. They had one person at a podium reading off a list of names, and other people stood by with signs, talking to passers-by and media types.

Being buoyed by my 'credentialed media' status, I wandered over on Sunday to ask a few questions. After bouncing around a couple people, I was a able to sit down with a young lady and chat for a while.

Quite simply, she seemed to have her heart in the right place, and was mentally consistent, but had been lead down an incorrect path. It was a frustrating experience in a number of ways, for both of us I'm sure. I apparently need to work somewhat on my interviewing skills, as all too often, the conversation veered far off course into side issues, and the fundamental thing I was trying to get an answer to, namely, being how the list of names of those killed by firearms since Sandy Hook, had anything to do with the NRA and firearms policy.

The interview fell apart when another protester turned up and started getting hostile. He apparently felt I was not worth talking to as I was not with CNN, MSNBC, or any of the other main stream outlets. He was of the opinion that since I had a personal opinion on these matters, and asked for counterpoints to my impressions, that I was invalid as a journalist.

My reply to that is multi-fold. First off, everyone has an agenda. Listening to main-stream media types give simpering gimmes to the protesters and loaded questions to dealers, manufacturers, and NRA types, it was entirely apparent the bias that existed from them. The protesters don't mind that agenda though, as it aligns with their own.

Secondly, I'm not a journalist. I'm not a reporter. I am a blogger. This blog is my Op-Ed column. I am trying to bring people around to my point of view, or adjust mine to theirs in the case of me being proven wrong. This is my own forum to be run the way I wish.

Third... If you aren't willing to talk to anyone who won't pander to you in your protest, why are you doing it? Just for attention? You don't win any friends by hostility.

I think that the problem I ran into, and often run into in these sorts of discussions, is that the anti's point looks good on paper, from some perspectives. I don't want to see dead kids. I have the same distaste for bad gun handling. Maybe even more. I'm not sure I could ideologically say that I would go along with it if someone had a way to remove all violence from earth, as I see no way to do that without crippling freedoms. That is the fundamental divide though. I am willing to accept some of the costs of living free. Even at the cost of my own life. Do I like that these freedoms have these costs? Of course not. I find violence and the senseless application thereof abhorrent. The key point is that it's worth it. The fact that all attempts to fix it make things worse is a relevant side point, but not the center.

At the end of the interview, I still had no answer as to the relevance of the list of names to any of the other things we talked about. I gave the protester my card, so if she happens to see this, I hope we can continue the conversation. I truly mean what it says on my card. I mean no offense. It'll probably happen anyways. I wish to have discussions, not arguments. So if anyone cares to give answers, I would absolutely love to hear them.

Now, on the other side. One of the interactions I had over the weekend that tickled me the most was towards the end of Sunday. As I was walking towards the front of the hall, I passed a man examining the the Rascal line of Savage rifles. These responses to the Cricket line of firearms are small youth rifles designed for those in the 5-12 age range, at a guess. They come in a number of colors pleasing to young eyes, and the man was trying to decide which color he should purchase.

The reason he couldn't decide whether to get blue or pink was that he was buying his grandchild's first rifle. Said grandchild was not yet born, leaving the gender up for question. This is a grandpa who is doing things very right.

We got to chatting, and, seeing my media badge, he told me a few things, which I will paraphrase to the best of my ability. (My memory was a wee bit fried at this point in the festivities.) "I am a 17 year law enforcement veteran. I love this country, and took an oath to protect and uphold the Constitution. I did not take an oath to follow the commands of a statist wannabe dictator." He said it better than I can recall offhand, but Constable Mark Brewer, I salute you. You are the sort of person America needs more of.

More to come. Next up, interesting people!

1 comment:

Please comment, but please be respectful. I reserve the right to delete any comment at any time for any reason, but I don't anticipate having to do that. Let's try to have real discussions?