Stop The Inescapable Epidemic Of Lies

From America’s 1st Freedom:

This feature appears in the July ’16 issue of NRA America’s 1st Freedom, one of the official journals of the National Rifle Association.

Everywhere we look, gun owners are either being lied about—or being lied to—by politicians, pundits, media talking heads, ignorant actors and arrogant billionaires. On Nov. 8, you can finally do something about it. 

My new neighbors from Brooklyn are suspicious of me. They moved out of New York City up to a town with one stoplight and on the first day in their new house they called the police. Not on me, but it could have been me. They called the police because a man who lives half a mile away, across a woodlot to the next road, built his own, private sporting clays course and shoots there on many afternoons. They heard the shots and thought there was some kind of shootout going on.

The officer who showed said, “Welcome to the country.”

He might as well have said, “Welcome to the other half of America.”

Given their New York City perspective, it’s understandable that, for them, hearing gunshots is not a good thing.

They’ve since learned that I hunt and own guns. They have two young daughters who play with my son and they don’t know what to make of me. I seem tame, civilized. I went to a good college and I’m a best-selling author who can talk to them about many things. I’ve worked in Manhattan and have traveled all over the world. My wife teaches at one of those esteemed, liberal colleges they adore. To them, I just don’t add up. I am not supposed to be like this.

The New York Times has portrayed people who own guns, and especially those who hunt, as an uncouth and uncivilized bunch. But here I am speaking with them about literature, the workings of the natural world, my flowerbeds and other normal things.

I told them my next book is on the well-rounded man. I told them how I chased Ernest Hemingway from Paris to Pamplona to discover how a man can fancy African safaris and guns and fishing and bullfights and boxing matches, yet still be in love with Paris café life, fine art and literature. Can’t, and shouldn’t, a man be both a refined man and an able man who knows, among many other things, how to handle and shoot guns? And, shouldn’t a woman, in this day and age, develop these two halves and the skills and open-minded perspective that go with them?

My neighbors were baffled with the whole idea. It was foreign to them. As a gun owner I am supposed to be ignorant, a redneck, maybe even a villain—or at least part of a group of throwbacks to a bygone era who now enable bad guys to get guns.

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