I recently had an opportunity to participate in USCCA’s unique #RealityCheck panel discussion and pop-up training event in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, that included several amazing members of the 2A community. These men and women are advocates who are truly making a difference in their communities … and in ours!
During the event on August 6-7, I had the pleasure of working with many members of the USCCA team, along with Aaargo Jay, civil rights activist, Chris Cheng, winner of History Channel’s Top Shot, Kendra Geronimo, sex trafficking survivor turned self-defense instructor, and Jennifer Moston, a survivor of domestic violence and advocate for women. And despite our very unique and diverse backgrounds (that some might guess would leave us with little in common), we were able to come together and unify with the message that firearms safety and training is of utmost importance.
I also got to share my passion for the phrase, “We are worth protecting.” I’ve used these four words many times in the past in blog posts and videos and in various presentations and conversations. And I truly believe that this simple but powerful message is what it all boils down to when we’re talking about protecting what we love with options such as a firearm. But as our advocacy group engaged with passersby on the streets of downtown Milwaukee, it was disheartening that some folks clearly did not want to interact with us or accept our message.
I was especially taken aback when an older couple walked by, and I asked if I could pose a simple question. I said, “Are you worth protecting?” Without even turning around, the wife replied, “Oh, we’re not from around here.” That’s when Aaargo Jay piped in, “That’s OK! It doesn’t matter.” And I added, “That’s right! You are worth protecting — anywhere and everywhere. Wouldn’t you agree?”
At this point, the husband angled his head slightly over his shoulder to peer at Jay and me. Then, very rudely, he announced, “I refuse to engage in this discussion with you.” And the two hustled away into the crowd.
It’s troubling to me that so many folks are so blinded by misinformation or lies that they can’t even admit that their lives (and the lives of those they love) have value … and that those valuable, precious lives should be protected!
Hard lesson learned? Yes … and no. No, it wasn’t devastatingly shocking to be shut down by this man. Sadly, I have heard it too many times before. But yes, it was also difficult to hear because it saddens me to think that some eyes will not see, some ears will not hear and some hearts will refuse to open.
Still, we press on.
Our #RealityCheck group continued to engage and interact with the crowds over the pop-up training weekend. And we look forward to more opportunities to share later on down the road. Why? Because of the millions of new gun owners who need to hear about firearms safety and responsible gun ownership. And because of the hundreds and thousands of folks who will seek out or respond to the truth, whether today or sometime in the future.
No matter what, we’re going to keep sharing the all-important news with all who will listen … and even with those who won’t!