A middle-class, middle-aged matron’s adventures in protesting – Chapter One.

Rockwall County Friends of the NRA was holding an event in Heath, including a raffle, live auction etc… A few friends and I were protesting on the sidewalk outside the parking lot of the venue. We were waving signs at passing cars, not looking for confrontation. We refused to leave the sidewalk when told it was private property – nobody called the police, so I suppose the sidewalk was, as we thought, public.

 

A man came to ask us why we were protesting and, well, things went downhill fast. He is a 14-year Army veteran who served in both Iraq and Afghanistan, and he now works as an NRA gun instructor. I know that because he said so, and I listened. The listening, though, seemed to be mostly one-sided. I was holding a sign printed “Guns make violence easy”, which to me seems fairly evident. He dismissed it out of hand as stupid, and said if we ban guns we should ban cars (echoing Trump at the recent NRA meeting). I countered that the primary purpose of a car is to take people from point A to point B, whereas the primary purpose of a gun is to shoot up things and people. He was having none of it. He said his phone could be lethal if he threw it at my friend P. I countered that he could probably kill me with his bare hands, but I was not in favor of amputating him – because I realize his hands have other uses than strangulation, and he might need them to, who knows, open a can of cat food. He was not listening, again.

 

Things got heated between P. and Handsome Mr. Anonymous. He then hinted that his having served in the military was “defending the Republic”, and that we had not done the same. The implication was that either our opinions or our lives did not matter. Mmmm…. I thought the Republic was made of people just like me, P, and the rest of our ragtag group. Anonymous then turned to G., the lone man in our group, and started to take him to task for waving the US flag and wearing a camo hat. Turns out G. is a former Marine. The discussion from then on was mostly between Anon and G., and Anon repeatedly refused to engage with the estrogen-enhanced. I tried to ask him about the gun show loophole. He was not listening. I tried to ask him about enhanced background checks and waiting periods between obtaining a gun permit and buying a gun – he would not listen or reply.

 

Not having the patience of a saint, I used a reverse “sweetheart” – it is my experience that men, when they fear losing an argument to a woman, call her “sweetheart” – implying she should stick to making babies and cooking pot roast. I said in my sweetest voice: “Sweetheart, it seems to me you are sooo much better at arguing points with another man than with women”. Says he “I only discuss things with intelligent people, not unintelligent people”. Oops – he just called me and all the women protesting on the sidewalk stupid. With admirable restraint, I forbade myself to hint at possible difficulties he may have had with women in his past. He gave me a glimpse of the way he thinks. I do not know that I, or anyone else, could convince him to change his opinions, or to at least listen to people who disagree with him, but I know that I must keep challenging people like him. I do not hate them. Something will percolate for some, hopefully before they themselves are touched by tragedy.

Marie-Anne wrote this post. She thinks she is always right, but karma occasionally bites back……

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