When most folks think about emergency preparedness, they think about having guns, ammo, food and water themselves and their families. In reality though, any well-rounded preparedness plan has at least as much to do with building personal relationships with neighbors and city officials as building a super-sized ammo stash in your basement.
In fact, by acting as a goodwill ambassador for gun owners with your neighbors and community leaders, you can help keep your neighborhood and community safer. And that will prove to be a win every time.
In the real world, as we all know, gun owners as a group represent some of the very best our nation has to offer. Nowhere will you find a more courteous, welcoming bunch than at the NRA convention. Yes, an armed society really is a polite society.
By acting as a goodwill ambassador gun owner with your neighbors and local leaders, you can help dispel some of those bigoted stereotypes. Of course, we know that some anti-gun bigots will never change. Others, however, simply don’t know any better.
Recently, at the Chicagoland Guns Save Life meeting, GSL member Nick Klementzos advocated building relationships and serving as a goodwill ambassador for gun owners. It will, he said, help make both your neighborhood and your community safer places to live and raise your family.
“How many of you know your neighbors by their first names?” he asked. Nick encouraged everyone to build relationships with their neighbors. Learn their names, their kids’ names and even their pets’ names. Get their phone numbers and email addresses and share yours with them.
Obviously, as you’re doing this, you can usually assess whether they are an asset or a potential liability.
At the same time, help them to put you into the asset column as a gun owner in the neighborhood/community. Offer to take them (and their kids) to the range sometime (post social distancing) – even providing the ammo. Let them know if they need help they can call on you for assistance.
Klementzos gave the example of his neighbor needing someone to dogsit their mutt after their usual sitter became temporarily unavailable. “Sure, we’ll watch your dog,” he says he told them. Back at home, he assigned his teen daughter to the task, a chore she truly enjoyed, completely unlike chores like cleaning her room.
By showing our neighbors that gun owners aren’t a bunch of hermits with racist, sexist, xenophobic tendencies that some in society try to label us, we all win.
Be nice to all your neighbors, even the less polite and welcoming ones.
Instead, be a good neighbor. Watch the neighbor’s place for suspicious activity, offer to mow the grass or check the mail while they are on vacation. Pick up groceries for then if they are sick, or give them cookies at Christmastime. Shovel (or use your snowblower) their driveway or sidewalk after a snow.
And right now, the the middle of the Chinese coronavirus, check and see if they have plenty of food. If you have extra (or can add to a pending order for pickup), consider helping them out. Especially the elderly or those with small children. These small favors may reap big rewards down the road.
What’s more, Klementzos urged everyone to become involved in their local government. Attend meetings from time to time and let officials know you have good intentions. Make sure the mayor and some on the city council know you and view you as a community asset (as opposed to a burr under their saddles). Offer to help on volunteer committees and on campaigns.
In other words, make yourself a valued member of the community.
That earns you the access and the capital to prod these political leaders to support gun rights for the law-abiding – or at least moderate any antagonism they have towards gun rights.
There may be some civil discord or even violence locally at times. But by knowing your neighbors, you can help assist those in need and maintain some sense of normalcy in your neighborhood, keeping its residents – including you and your family – safer.