Misconceptions and Stereotypes

I have mentioned before that I struggle a little with how much of my gun tottin’ ways to keep under wraps and how much to let hang out.  In the beginning I had no intention of ever letting anyone know I carried a gun.  My plan was to lead a normal life and to not advertise that I pack heat.

The thing is I started to become an advocate for woman and carrying and, of course,  I just plain love it.  I tend to be an all or nothing kind of gal.  There is very little gray in my world.  When I am in, I am all in.  I am extremely passionate and I am a doer.  Not necessary 2 of the best qualities when trying to keep things on the down low.  I keep telling myself that carrying a gun is just part of who I am and I need not make it my whole life, problem is, it is my whole life.

I enjoy other things and I can carrying on a non gun centered conversation, but if I had my choice, I would pretty much talk about my kids, food and guns.  I love to shoot guns, I love to talk about them, I love to wear bullet necklaces.  I am not trying to make a statement or be cool(done been verified that I am not), I just wholehearted love all things weaponry. 

I also think we are living in a time where people who value their rights, not just to carry a gun, but certainly that, need to stand up and be accounted for.  It is become a rubber meets the road kind of situation and blending quietly into the background just might earn us the right to stay silent and not much else.

So, as I said earlier in the week, my plan was to go to Memphis and blend in, but anytime anyone asked me what I was doing or what I enjoyed, out came GUNS, GUNS, GUNS.  Ok, I was a little more subtle, but not much.  Without fail 100% of the time the first thing anyone said to me after I said I was heading to Memphis for pleasure to a shooting course was…Are you in law enforcement?  This did not bother me, much.  I understand that women shooters are still in the minority and especially if they look like me.  All I mean by that is a non descriptive plain ol’ housewife.  There is nothing that screams hunter or gun nut, except the gun, the 2nd Amendment T-shirt and bullet necklace, but I wasn’t wearing any of those that day.  The readers of this blog know that most people who shoot guns and hunt and are all nutty for firearms are regular people, but the rest of the world is not that well informed.  We know that they might be surprised at who is part of a well regulated militia, but since they don’t know what they don’t know, I was not offended.

What did bother me were the people that thought I was “sweet as pie” and “just lovely” until they found out I like to shoot and at that point decided I was now a scary threat.  Nothing changed about me, nothing.  I never, not once whipped out my gun or started making threats.  My squealing high pitched voice did not turn demonic and at no point did I attempt to sacrifice a small child and yet more than one person decided that by virtue of my gun, I was no longer a person who was afforded the right to be treated with decency or courtesy.  I was fair game to be rude or insensitive to.  I was not bothered in terms of how individual people viewed me as an individual.  Being out of junior high, I kind of don’t care much, but it did bother me as a whole.  These people form opinions based on nothing more than fear and then go perpetuating a lie.  That bothers me.  Many of these folks vote and have influence over others and  that makes them a threat to me, not the other way around.

Alas, there is always a light at the end of the tunnel.  The gentleman that picked me up from the airport was named Kevin.  Kevin was the nicest man and he was full of opinions.  He talked and talked and told stories and I loved every minute I spent with him.  On Sunday, I needed to be picked up from Range Master and taken to the airport for my flight home.  Kevin got my bags, put them in the car and then started talking to me about gun owners and those who carry permits.

Kevin:  I don’t understand all these new laws letting people carry guns.  It’s crazy.

Me:  You are against laws that allow law abiding citizens the right to self protection?

Kevin: No, No, but there is so much crime in Memphis. Guns and killing every where.  I don’t think we need any more guns.

Me: Do you think the laws that are made to protect the innocent are contributing to the crime in Memphis?

Kevin: I think some people are just using the new laws to get guns and carry them places they are not allowed and then shooting people up.

Me: Do you think that there are a lot of criminals that are concerned with following the laws?  Do you think the criminal needs a law in order to carry a gun into, say a bar and start a problem?

Kevin:  Huh,

Me: Kevin, I would encourage you to look up the statistics of gun related shootings and see how many of those involved licensed conceal carry permit holders and of those shootings how many were used for the purpose of self defense.  I am guessing you will find the number of licensed permit holders who commit crimes to be very low.  Please then compare that number to the gun crimes committed by people without a license.  You might be surprised at what you find.

Kevin:  Huh, good point  yes, good point.  You know mam. I can do that.  Yes, I will do that.

I have no way of knowing if he will or not check the numbers, but I tend to think he will.  He seemed genuinely concerned and not like he was looking to just find a reason to justify his point of view.

Conversations like I had with the man from Starbucks and Kevin lend me to believe, I am probably not gonna be one of the quiet ones.

32 thoughts on “Misconceptions and Stereotypes

  1. I for one, find that while I am carrying, I tend to be an extra nice sort of person. Holding more doors for more folks, talking with kids, striking up fun conversations with those whom I am doing business with. I guess I’m just out to prove WE are not bad people, as a matter of fact, quite the contrary.

    • I wrote a post about this a long time ago, well not long, but before, and Kevin and I did discuss that also. I told him that every class I took, course I attend, blog I read advocated deescalation and that I personally feel a huge responsibility to be nice, but, being nice, kind of isn’t my problem:)

  2. I think that people who think gunnies are bad guys are just ill-informed idiots. I’m with Midwest Patriot, I feel like I have to be over the top nice just to prove I’m not a bad guy.

    Funny story: My daughter Ashinator dumped one of her high school boyfriends who told her he thought our family was a bunch of axe-murderers because we were shooters. She dumped him because he was too stupid to know that axe-murderers use axes. If we wanted to kill him, we’d use a gun. 🙂 Yep, that’s my baby girl.

    • I secretly wish her name was Ashinator – she chose her blog name years ago. My sons’ blog names are simply the nicknames I’ve called them all of their lives. I think Ashinator didn’t want the whole blog world calling her “Ashee-Butt”, which is her real nickname 🙂 But I do think she’s 31 different flavors of awsome, if that counts for anything.

  3. Since you can remain calm and polite in the face of rampant, willful ignorance, you should talk about guns all the time. I tend to get frustrated with people who hold illogical and often contradictory opinions, so I try to keep my mouth shut, as yelling at them does not help the cause any:)

    • I agree with you! Frustration tends to rise up for me as well. Getting riled doesn’t really help anyone accept logic…perhaps I’ll just send them here!

    • Lol, remember that I came from that side. Again, I never treated anyone badly that shot a gun and I never advocated changing the Consititution, but guns and gun people scared me, so I don’t want to be all “your an idiot” now that I have seen the light…lol

  4. I hear ya. There are several “hot button” topics around these parts. Although I have had to choose not to be as involved or as vocal as I would like to be in some things (my family has to come first and I have to stay employed). I will adamantly defend the right to life,the right to make yours and your families own healthcare decisions, the right to keep and bear arms.

    I had a recent experience at work where a co-worker found out that I shoot. I don’t normally advertise this as we are a mixed group and a fast growing company. However, she found out through a co-worker and since that time she has gone from being friendly in the halls to avoiding me. Seriously.

    Because I work at a biopharmaceutical company I have to be very careful how I phrase my opinions on healthcare and healthcare choices. So I advocate for people to be informed. Don’t blindly follow the media spew of what is best for you. “They” don’t know you.

    I think the best I can do at this time is educate people (or at least try to) in a polite manner and vote for those that we believe will support and defend our choices. AND support people like you who are willing/able to do a little more!

  5. I swear we need to get you and Emily Miller together in the same room and the place will likely burst from the sheer awesomeness of it. Your advocacy comes from the heart and that makes it far more powerful than anything else.

    BTW might I suggest some business cards for the next time you encounter someone like Kevin? Wouldn’t have to put more on it than a web address and an e-mail address if you’re comfortable with that. Maybe someone could create a nice logo for you too. That way you could find out the rest of Kevin’s story.

    • You are so sweet! That is a good idea. My husband has suggested that, but I have never been one for advertising my blog etc, but I think I might. I bet if I had Kevin would stop by and I would love him to. Thanks!

  6. I think you are an excellent ambassador for the shooty world. You certainly are not what I’d call the “typical” gun owner. (However, I’m absolutely delighted to see more and more women involved. Eventually I hope they become “typical.”)

    Anyway, you have to pick your time and place to discuss these things. One of the biggest tools we have is to invite fence sitters out to the range for afternoon. Discuss the safety rules thoroughly, show ’em how a gun works, put a nice little .22 of some kind in their hand and let ’em at some paper or some pop cans. Invariably they are converted, or at least a lot less hostile towards gun ownership.

    But as far as carrying a handgun for SD purposes, I don’t discuss that unless I know someone real well. Even members of my immediate family don’t know I carry on a regular basis. I’m not sure how they would react in a bad situation and I don’t need anyone screaming “Draw the gun! Draw the gun!” at an inopportune time.

    But keep it up!! You’re doing very, very well.

    • I have family members that don’t know that I or my husband carry for SD every day. If we are going out we have to gear up with the 3 year old not watching or he will out us at the worst of times!

    • Yes, funny how I share so much here, but the people in my everyday life, they are pretty clueless. Clueless isn’t the right word because they are paying attention, but I am not sharing. I have discussed in detail with our children about NOT saying that mommy or daddy has a gun, most especially if they see a bad guy. We practice even:).

  7. Gotta agree with TangoJuliet (and everyone else here…and I’m totally shamelessly stealing the phrase “31 different flavors of awesome”, just so y’all know), getting your average “I don’t know one way or the other” citizen out to the range is the best argument for our case. My sister does Tai-Kwan-Do, lives in a “safe” neighborhood, has a black-belt husband and son, works at her church, and the closest she’d ever come to a gun of any sort was dropping her two boys off at the bus to go to Boy Scout summer camp. We took her to the range last month. Explained the workings of the little pink-n-gray Walther P22, explained the four rules (using the aforementioned verified-empty P22), showed her how to load a clip and use the sights, then stepped back. First shot was a bit off, as she got used to the sights. Second shot was a bullseye. She looked back over her shoulder (while keeping the firearm pointed downrange) and smiled. I asked her about it later, what she thought, and she commented that it was “very empowering” (from a guy who is about as uncoordinated as a pregnant hippo and would get his butt kicked in a non-friendly fight with two newborn kittens, I gotta agree), and that no matter what you see in movies, its NOTHING like experiencing it in person (sorry, but I actually laughed when she said that). She said she had mostly been nervous about the gun kicking (which is why we started with a .22, then moved up to the 9mm), and the report, but that both were surprisingly negligible. She posted her status on FB, and was surprised when a handful of her friends (female) congratulated her, ragged on her for shooting a .22, and invited her out to shoot their _______ (insert artillery of choice here). When we got back to the house, she was Googleing ranges in the Austin/CedarPark area. Somehow…I don’t think our family trips to Austin are going to be boring anymore….

    BTW, I sent her your blog, as well as CorneredCat’s and a couple of others, and am pretty sure she lurks around her somewhere. *waves in case she’s watching*

    • Cool, I had thought about making one myself, except the last one would be a fella testifying at legislative committe meetings or writing letters to senators. For those of us that have dedicated ourselves to fighting the good fight rarely have time to pull a trigger these days.

  8. You’re getting to be pretty incredible. As a matter of fact, you’re becoming a full-fledged gun enthusiast (nut). At first, I thought I needed to conceal my gunnuttiness, but it just really wasn’t possible. I opted to be very vocal in a normal way about my love for firearms and not really about my decision to carry them all of the time. There can be a fine line in this and it can be important depending on factors like your job. You can still advocate it and I do 200%. People flock to you when they need your help and it’s a great feeling. I’m so incredibly proud of how you handled the situation with Kevin. Just a normal conversation, no red-eyed fanaticism. He will check. Trust me, he is curious and the truth will astound him. Thanks for being out there for us. I wish we had an army of you.

  9. Sounds like you’re striking the right balance… I agree with Tango… ambassador for our second amendment rights is great… but don’t forget OPSEC (operational security)…

    As I tell my students in the Ohio CCW courses I teach… if people know you’re carrying a concealed firearm… then you don’t get the concept of “concealed”… the element of surprise should be kept on the side of the sheepdogs…

    Shooting is much of our family’s lives… competitions, family afternoons, 4H Shooting Sports, hunting, the sportsmen’s club… Like I tell friends… I shoot guns rather than golf… ’cause they don’t let me on the golf course with my 12 gauge to shoot golf…

    Keep learning… and next thing you know… you’ll be teaching too… you already are… educating others…

    You say you talk about kids, food, and guns… I talk about God, Gals, Guns, Grub… glad we’re in the same club…

    Dann in Ohio

    • I promise I do not tell people about my carry habits in casual conversation and around my town I do blend in. There aren’t bumper stickers or anything else on my car, I only wear my shooting shirts when shooting and I do carry concealed.

      I really appreciate the advice and suggestions. Very helpful!

      Gods, Gals, Guns and Grub…must be why I like your blog so much!

  10. “I am probably not gonna be one of the quiet ones.”

    Really? Ya think?

    Great post, and an absolutely over-the-top closing line, there.
    I got the giggles so bad I had to take some deep breaths before I could type.

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