(Originally posted in October 2012, moving this content onto new blog on WordPress)
I had a lovely day on Saturday. One of my cousins hosted a little reunion because we only see each other at funerals. I’m the youngest of my 16 first cousins on my dads side. Most of us grew up pretty close because we lived in the same county, but my oldest cousin was married and living upstate most of my life. Because of our age difference, we never got to know each other. Recently connecting on Facebook, “E” and I shared our first real conversation this weekend. He knew from FB that I shot, and over the past few months, we have had had many pleasant exchanges about firearms which I’ve enjoyed.
(Photo by Alan Dubbs)
We were chatting away like old friends at the picnic, talking firearms and getting to know each other. My other male cousins in attendance, joined in on the conversation. They all thought it was cool that I obtained my NRA Pistol Instructor certification earlier this year. We laughed, shared stories, and caught up with each other.
The conversation was quite fun, until one of my female cousins walked over with her new husband. She came into earshot when E was talking about one of his pistols. She gasped and exclaimed to E “OMG, you have a gun?” E was a little taken back, but replied cheerfully that he had many firearms. Her next question: “Why? Why do you need a gun?” “Is it on you? OMG..”
Now clearly..she had no idea that the rest of us did too, and she looked at me and mouthed the words “He’s crazy! He has guns!” Her new husband asked E if he thought he was on the show Duck Dynasty, and why wasn’t he dressed in camo and have a beard? (Nice to meet you too, right?)
E did his best to answer her questions, like why he thought he needed a gun, and did he “shoot things” with them?! I finally caught E’s attention and gestured he should just stop talking to her..she was getting nastier and nastier, but since E hadn’t been down our way since 1981 when his dad passed away, he felt the need to still be polite despite her ridiculousness. After-all, we were family, right?? Her husband turned to me and said our family should have a reality show, because “you can’t make this stuff up.”
“Umm..what stuff?” I asked, and again she said, “Crazy E has guns!” (Classy, because she was standing next to him..) My reply both baffled the two of them, and made my cousins burst out laughing..”So.Do.I.”
There was now no way to have an intelligent conversation with either of them..and each cousin in the circle in turn answered owned guns too..but I guess because he was the new guy, she still seemed to be going after E..”Let me guess, you have a bunker in you’re basement too right?” (Timing it perfectly, my husband walked past and said our bunker was being installed outside, away from the house..apparently he was having fun watching the whole train wreck..) She was so jaded and anti-gun, that I’m sure she thought I was just joking. (No way I could have a gun right? A woman would never, right? I have kids too, gasp..nope, no need for one, downright dangerous right?) Still not believing I was truly in the good ole boys gun club, she asked why would I “need” one? Being the good sport I am, I answered honestly..Cops were too heavy to carry around..) but I have no doubt she thought I was just being funny. Because really..why in the world would I have one? She was baffled…obviously I was just playing with her..so she continued to badger poor E..
I guess my point is, how do you deal with an anti? There was no way to have a civil conversation with her. She was not open to the idea of learning about why we had them, she asked that while “maybe” E “needed” one because he (her words) lived with wild animals like bears, why would he ever need more than that? And really, why would he shoot a bear?
So what is your response when someone is SO anti-gun that there literally is no having a civil conversation with them? Arguing would have made it worse, her mind was made up and she was the only one who was right..we were all crazy..guns are crazy, and dangerous, and unnecessary! Is there any way to get through? Or isn’t it worth the effort? I’m all for educating, but if there’s no way to get through, what do you do?