Being skeptical means one foot on the open-minded side of the fence, and one foot firmly in the That’s-Bullshit side of the property line. it’s a tough straddle sometimes. But here’s how it pays off. See that image above? It’s a group of pro-gun demonstrators, that showed up uninvited at a Mothers against gun violence meeting. Which is kinda inappropriate and even a little bit creepy. BUT — it’s not quite as bad as it appears. Go below.
That looks like the same group in the same positions taken around the same time. They were just posing for a pic. But from the side, it looks like they’re gathering intel on terrorists and about to start staking out perches for an upcoming sniperfest.
When I was into rock climbing, I was in deep. My entire life revolved around it. From morning to night, I spent all my money on it, I trained and ate exclusively with the idea of climbing fun, hard, steep rock faces. Every girl I dated for ten years was probably an accomplished climber or at least an athlete in some way who was able and willing to climb with me. Some people, including some friends made before I got into it, probably saw me as crazy, but I was just having fun and I really, really liked sport and big wall climbing.
It scared the crap out of my parents, but I really did know what I was doing, I did it well and did it safely. Basically, anything vertical or overhanging with tiny gnarly handholds and without ice and snow was heaven. We used to put up manufactured routes on concrete bridge supports under overpasses, drill two-finger pockets right into that taxpayer provided cement and screw on hand-holds when necessary, out of sheer boredom in the rain. I’d drive 20 hours on a three-day weekend to put up new routes, or work on a single 20 meter sport route, cross state and at times international borders, to places like this, weekend after weekend, for days on end until I could redpoint it– climb it from bottom to top without falling once.
Most gun people aren’t nuts anymore than most climbers or most SCUBA divers, they’re just obsessed. Here in Texas, people have guns for many reasons, and no doubt some of them, generally the younger and stupider ones, don’t know how scary and intimidating they sometimes come off. There are always a few of those who don’t care or want to be scary, but mostly because it’s game to them. They’ve never fired a gun in defense or fear or anger in their lives and never will.
Your average firearm enthusiast will keep people who aren’t afraid of guns or who talk radical violent shit at arms length, much like those of us in the climbing or skydiving community would treat some new guy who like to brag about how s/he wasn’t afraid of heights. They really like firearms, they devote considerable money and time to guns, many are specialized history buffs, the way some people like antique cars or others like collecting old comic books. They’re fascinated by the history of forearms, they dream of finding that diamond in the rough, taking it home, restoring it, and reading about its history. Maybe making a few bucks selling it another collector.
So I sent the group and acknowledgement that they weren’t staking out the scene. And also mentioned it might be worth a little being a tad more sensitive in the future. Imagine for example if a group of parents whose kids were hurt or killed by drugs met for lunch and were greeted in a Colorado parking lot by a group of activists exercising their right to get publicly, flagrantly drunk and stoned. The demonstrators would be well within their rights, I might even be sympathetic.
That could easily backfire. If that second image hadn’t surfaced, that’s exactly what might have happened here. And most important of all, it would be a needlessly thoughtless act to carry out. Don’t be thoughtless to your neighbors, guys.