I just stumbled across this that somebody posted on Facebook, bashing the article. http://m.vice.com/read/the-most-hila...he-nra-website
It's a list of "paranoid things you can buy from the NRA website". Some of the items are arguably hard for the average person to see the point of (like the tactical pen or even the punch dagger I suppose) but on that list are concealed carry holsters including bras with built in holsters, car holsters (which many use), and under the desk holsters.
It's sad because even in the comments section I see nothing but hate and ridicule. One of these items are just a pair of shorts with extra pockets. But in the hands of the journalist it becomes a redneck paranoid gun nut survivalist pair of shorts.
This article is one of several things that helped me realize that we're always fighting a war of perception. This I knew. I knew that we were considered gun nuts and paranoid and that we're out hunting deer with automatic M16 and Beta drum mags and compensating for small genitals and all this. But I didn't realize just how pervasive this war is.
And worse, how effective.
I saw a post on here the other day about a person in another country trying to buy what I believe to be an automatic rifle. I hate to admit it, but my gut instinct was "wow, it's really scary that they can just buy those" before I immediately thought "Wait, no it isn't. I support the right to do that." I truly believe it was a conditioned response of being brought up in a world where only criminals, terrorists, and soldiers have them. I think private citizens should own automatic weapons, explosives, SAM systems, whatever they feel necessary. But my gut instinct was to recoil against somebody in another country owning an automatic rifle.
Now I can only imagine how the uninformed average person feels. I see here from time to time people who take friends and relatives out shooting who honestly think an AR 15 is an automatic weapon and then realize they're not against it when they find out it's not a machine gun.
The other day I was playing a video game where I attached a suppressor to my pistol. I was doing something violent (taking over an enemy village or breaking into a house or something) and I thought "Wow, this suppressor makes it convenient" and for a split second, again, I identified with the government wanting them gone. It's culture. Thieves use suppressors. Dirty assassins use suppressors. Not hunters or people who want to protect their hearing. Murderers. No honest man needs to keep their gunshots quiet. And again, I support citizens with the right money owning anything they like (subject maybe to Geneva and nuclear treaty conventions).
I wonder if, in the above article, some of these people's opinions would change if somebody showed them how dangerous it is holstering from a bad position? Or if they really considered how things might have changed if somebody in the US postal office shootings had had an under the desk holster. Or if a young man in my town might have lived if he had had a handgun in a car holster instead of being run off the road and shot in the head. Or if the young mom might have lived if she had a handgun in her car when the anaesthesiologist strangled her to death in a fit of road rage.
People don't think this stuff can happen. We point to it all the time, but if we try to prepare for it people think we're paranoid. People see the benefit in taking CPR -- something the government espouses and requires in some cases. But keeping a gun in your car? Out of the question. Imagine you even keep a flare gun, first aid kit, and satellite phone in the trunk of your car. Anything approaching this gets weird looks. People will say things like "you must've been a boy scout" implying you must somehow be different from the rest of us because you value safety.
I don't know what this post is about at its heart. It just hit me that this war of perception has been going on at least as long as I've been alive (since 1995) and probably much longer. We see its skin deep implications easily but it's easy to lose sight of just how effective the other side has been at convincing people that we're out running around with automatic machine guns on the streets -- and that somehow it's a bad thing even if we were.
This is why, as the staff here likes to say, we must all be ambassadors. Some people think we're paranoid conspiracy theorists, criminals, monsters, and everything we say will be magnified. Every time one of us loses our temper, gets frustrated in the middle of a debate, every time there's an accidental discharge, every time there's a murder or a gun is stolen, we are all affected. All of our actions, including the clothes we wear, how we talk, and our political feelings will be taken, magnified, and typified against us.
That's why, if we publicly choose to support guns, we should strive our hardest to be paragons of logic, level-headedness, kindness, and support. The kind of people where others will say "I wouldn't expect you to be a gun owner."
It happened to me. When I first started shooting I expected everybody experienced (not just amateur) at shooting would be gruff, reclusive, rude, paranoid, etc. These were the only people I had ever seen portrayed as gun owners. So far I have been proven wrong almost every time and now I see them as largely one of the nicest groups of people I've been around. We should see to it that others have the same experience.