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Old January 30th, 2019, 10:44 PM #1
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Join Date: Jan 2015
Location: Harford County
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Art3 Art3 is offline
Eqinsu Ocha
Art3's Avatar
Join Date: Jan 2015
Location: Harford County
Posts: 5,276
A Harford County Boy's Journey into 2A

It's legislative season again, can you feel the magic in the air? I can certainly smell it as so many threads take a turn towards, "This is what you should be doing to take back the government." It can be especially frustrating when the scolding about not doing enough comes from out of state.

The worst part is, we aren't winning.

I don't have the answer for everyone, and I am certainly not intending to shame anyone into thinking they aren't doing enough. I would like to tell my humble story in the hopes that someone might connect with part of it and realize, "Yeah, I guess I maybe could do that."

I'd been around guns my entire life. While I wouldn't call myself an activist, I guess I unknowingly became sort of a grassroots 2A supporter very early on, writing papers and speeches for school. I don't know if I changed any minds, but it was safer back then. I certainly didn't get beat up for it.

I took just about every girlfriend I had shooting at least once. Many of them (ok...there weren't that many to begin with, so we'll say "most of them") had never even seen a firearm in real life. The majority of them really liked it and every single one admitted it was not as scary as they were told. I had the craziest-libbiest one of them ready to buy her own handgun...but the crazy took over and it kinda fell apart. I wouldn't be surprised at all if she did eventually buy one with her new boyfriend...who knows

Katie came with her own guns

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These were the halcyon days before 2013. The Clinton AWB was being survived and outlived. As far as I knew, we were safe under Bush. At first, Obama scared me enough to buy my M1A (and, in light of what was to come, I do owe him a debt of gratitude for that), but nothing really seemed to materialize. Maybe it was just blissful ignorance.

Honestly, I was almost unaware of what was brewing in 2013. I wasn't on MDS. I think it was a notification from the AGC that got Katie to join and learn about what was going on. We went to the big gun bill day (I think for the House...the one where they were not at all prepared for our numbers). We barely knew what was happening or where to go, but there were enough folks there who did. We were dressed nicely, had our little signs and made twenty some dollars worth of copies to surely go into the paper shredder. We signed up a little after 8 in the morning and finally got to speak somewhere around midnight. Katie couldn't make the next (Senate?) committee hearing, but I got a patriot (though not what anyone would call a "gun guy") co-worker to go with me. We were able to figure all this out without even knowing PP existed and only a brief inkling of MDS, although we most likely rubbed elbows with a lot of members.

After FSA2013 took effect, ending gun crime in Maryland, there didn't seem to be much going on...to us, at least. We started getting active on MDS and taking notice of the Patriot Picket. At first, they were too much. I'm not a people person anyway, and they just seemed too aggressive. Imagining myself in there position no, that was just waaayyy out of my comfort zone. Also, as others have worried, there were concerns about keeping my job. I work for the public school system, and there is a very clearly defined clause, including termination, for off-hours conduct. Katie's requisite security clearance could also be jeopardized.

Then, Rack got arrested. Maybe there had been embers starting to glow about wanting to get active, well, that threw gas on them. The first step was a collection for body cameras (thank you again, Slybarman). That was a great venue to throw money right at the problem, easy peasy! Like buying war bonds, I could do something without getting bloody. If I remember correctly, we watched the following Man Up Monday to make sure the Patriots were not going to be outnumbered by riot police. When it became clear that there were indeed more Patriots than handcuffs available, Katie said that she was going down there to the next one. Well, obviously that meant I was too...and it led to attending most of the Man Up Mondays.

I...kinda hate it. Don't get me wrong, being with the Patriots awesome, and seeing Rack, Stove, and DeepLurker in action is amazing. They immediately embrace us as one of their own, and the camaraderie was untouchable. But...that urban setting is just not a place where this country bumpkin belongs. Going from the parking garage to the picket site, I'm looking for the city dweller boogie man to jump out and ask if I have a cigarette, or tell Katie that she's miiighty pretty...and of course I have nothing with which to defend us except my little flashlight. Once we're onsite, I'm trying to keep an eye on Katie the whole time, while not getting run over in a crosswalk or, God forbid, impeding the sidewalk or stepping out of bounds onto the mall. I'm sure the other Patriots are looking out for us the whole time. My fears probably aren't well founded at all, but that doesn't make them feel any less real. I am truly dreading going back there this season...
...but we do it We probably won't change the minds of any legislators, but maybe one of our signs will strike a chord with a motorist or pedestrian and they'll remember. While the PP signs are bold and clever with clear targets in the legislature, we didn't always feel that we could adequately explain and express their message. The simple solution was to make our own signs, that we could stand behind with confidence.
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Maybe talking to folks will enlighten one or two, or at least show them that gun owners can be people too. The way to their votes is through their hearts and minds. One woman we talked to last year, although probably not converted to voting Republican, seemed truly surprised that we could not get CCW. It seemed like maybe wheels started turning a little

Then there's working the MSI booth...another out of comfort zone experience, that we're slowly getting comfortable with. Working with Howard and other members is great, but it took a big step to get into it.
I love being with good folks, but I'm definitely not a "people person." One of the things at gun shows that I HATE, even more than those stupid chemical reaction heating pads, is people aggressively hawking their wares...especially when their "wares" aren't even anything I can physically walk out with. I get uncomfortable trying to politely say that I'm not interested and I would never want to put someone else in that position.
Well......when you get down to it, that's kinda what the MSI booth is about, right? My solution, which seems to be working so far, is to let the customer come to me. I'll let them look at the sign and stuff before asking if they know about us or are interested. If they are walking by deliberately not looking (like I probably would be), I let them go without any harassment. Does that make me a less effective salesman/recruiter? I don't know...but it lets me keep a clear conscience, and at least I'm showing up. Having a pretty girl at the booth next to me certainly doesn't hurt. Once they make eye contact with her...Gotcha! As far as my conscience goes, if you're looking at my wife, you've waived your rights to ignore me and my cause
Just like Rack's arrest lighting the fire under our butts to Man Up on Mondays, there was a catalyst to get me active for MSI. I joke that Bigfoot44 shamed me into it, but the truth is, I shamed myself on his behalf. I was hanging out with him as a "spectator" at the little gun show in Edgewood last year. When I first started chatting with him, I was still of the mindset that there is no way I could do something like this. After watching him in action and just a little coaching, I realized that I probably could be doing it. When I realized that he had driven over an hour to work this itty bitty show that was less than ten minutes from my house, I realized that I should be doing it.

Sooo...anybody still reading? Anybody find any encouragement or inspiration to find their own way to help the cause just a little bit more? Did the title happen to trick any of my fellow Harford Countians into reading this? You know...there is a gun show this weekend at the Bel Air Armory, and MSI can always use local help


"Dear autocorrect: I'm really getting tired of your shirt!"

I would like to change my gender identity to "Well Regulated Militia."
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