So, last night we gathered in the hotel lobby one last time. The NRA convention was behind us; many of our tribe had already started home; the rest of us are leaving at some point today. We'd had one last dinner together at Pappa's BBQ - yay actual Texas barbeque! - and we gathered in the lobby as we had the previous three nights to go over the day's events, decompress, and share a few frosty adult beverages.
A young man named Grant came over, upon hearing our animated discussion (side note: Using the word "animated" to describe a discussion with AD, GayCynic, Michael and Jennifer, Old NFO, and others is a lot like using "quick" to describe a Ferrari...), and asked us if we were in town for the NRA convention. He is in Houston for a large gas/oil conference next week, and was curious about Americans and our gun culture.
What struck me most was that while he did seem to be looking to provoke a bit of a reaction, he seemed somewhat willing to listen. Now, I don't know if he really doesn't like firearms, if he is just ignorant of Americans and American culture, or if his impression of America is shaped solely by the news media. He seemed fixated on the idea that anyone could carry a gun (with - cough IL - some exceptions); that you could kill someone *just like that* with a handgun.
In short, it seemed like he derived 100% of his knowledge of firearms and how Americans choose to use them from Hollywood and/or American mainstream media.
One thing that struck me about our group was that were are all insanely passionate about our right to keep and bear arms, sometimes to our possible detriment. As we countered Grant's comments - whether they were serious, in jest, meant to provoke or simply inform - there were times we tripped over each other to make our own points. For the casual observer, we appear more interested in saying what we want to say than providing a thoughtful rebuttal to the appeal to emotion.
Kelly and GayCynic did the lion's share of the heavy lifting. Both men are erudite, well-spoken, and tremendous assets for our side. It struck me how amazingly dissimilar these two men are; one a medical professional from a deep southern background, the other an openly gay man from the Pacific Northwest. Yet they are fast friends who spent the weekend comparing notes on brisket, firearms, and Houston traffic - and discussed gun rights passionately and intelligently in the presence of what some would consider a hostile force.
I'm glad these people are on my side in this debate; I'm even happier that they are part of my tribe.
That is all.
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