TTAG’s “I Am A Gun Owner” project continues. [Click here for the Facebook album.] The concept remains the same: show the world that American gun owners are not [all] old fat white guys. Or right wing Republicans. Or Southern rednecks. Or straight or gay or Christian or Muslim or any one thing in particular. There is only one thing that unites the people in the photos: they all cherish their gun rights. As the diversity of participants’ backgrounds manifests itself, some commentators have criticized depicted gun owners for their non-gun beliefs, accusing of them of hypocrisy and betrayal. While Dan and I never hesitate to delete comments to maintain civility, we haven’t deleted the lion’s share of these remarks. Here’s why . . .
I understand why many gun owners can’t understand a boldly pro-gun American who holds contradictory views. A former Obama supporter who wants to join the cause? Heresy! Pro-abortion but pro-armed self-defense to protect children? GTFO! The comments section reflects the resulting incredulity and outrage. To put it diplomatically, these concerns are not without reason.
But I like to think that gun owners with collectivist views are on an intellectual journey. They’re waking-up to the Second Amendment’s underlying implications, and what it means to own a gun in a country where gun ownership is under threat. They are identifying with their fellow gun-owning Americans, “coming out of the closet” and dedicating their time, effort and image to the cause.
The IAAGO photo gallery helps them appreciate a simple truth: they are not alone. And maybe, just maybe, it helps “absolutists” (like yours truly) come to grips with the fact that American gun owners’ differences are less important than our mutual respect for, and faith in, our Constitutionally protected right to keep and bear arms.
Wishful thinking? We shall see. Meanwhile, we will leave enough of the “dissenting” opinions to show that we are so tolerant that we even tolerate intolerance (within limits). If you know what I mean.
To those considering submitting a photo to email@example.com (PHOTO in caps in the subject bar), rest assured that Dan and I won’t let any comments get “out of control.” As always, you can email firstname.lastname@example.org if you consider a comment unacceptably inflammatory.
And to those who would lambaste our politically incongruous photo contributors I refer you to the words of Thomas Jefferson. “We confide in our strength, without boasting of it; we respect that of others, without fearing it.”