Family Or Friends Celebrating Thanksgiving Day Clinking Glasses
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[ED: We originally ran this post back in November, 2016, but it’s every bit as good today. Enjoy.]

New York Times scribe Philip Galanes writes a regular column called “Social Q’s” in the Grey Lady’s Fashion & Style section. It’s kind of a “Dear Abby” style column addressing readers’ question about social etiquette.

Last week, an aghast correspondent asked how to handle a Thanksgiving guest who (gasp!) might be carrying a gun.

My brother-in-law is a police officer. He carries a gun, even off duty. He comes to visit us once a year. I told my sister I do not feel comfortable having a gun in the house. (I have a small child.) She said she would talk to her husband, but I doubt she has. What should I do?


No doubt Anonymous’ sister rolled her eyes at the anxiety in her sibling’s voice when the question was presented. Here’s Mr. Galanes’ response . . .

Follow up. Ask, “How did Jim feel about leaving his gun at home?” In the event of pushback (or noncommittal dithering), add: “We know that Jim is a responsible gun owner. We just don’t want guns in our home.” If you continue to believe she’s shining you on, install a metal detector at the front door. Happy Thanksgiving!

To say that Mr. Galanes’ response is woefully inadequate to the task at hand is an understatement. Lord knows a person has a right to dictate the terms of entry to their own private property, but one usually invites close family over with few conditions.

Here’s my advice to Anonymous . . .

First ask: what is it about your brother-in-law possessing a firearm that makes you uncomfortable? Maybe if you can articulate that to yourself — and then to your sister — you might find that she and her husband have answers to your concerns about safety around guns that make you see that a firearm holstered on the hip of a good guy — a cop in this case — is actually a net gain to society.

Another variable to consider: how many times has Anonymous been around your brother-in-law when he was carrying a firearm with no bad results?

On the other hand, if no reassurance is possible (either because the brother-in-law actually isn’t a trustworthy person, or because Anonymous simply is possessed with an irrational phobia that requires treatment by a professional, not straightforward answers from reasonable people), perhaps making this clear to the invitees might prompt them to either compromise for the sake of indulging family on a holiday.

Or maybe they’ll simply decide to go elsewhere for Thanksgiving. If the gun rearlly is a deal-breaker for attending a family dinner, the latter might be best for all involved.

Lord knows we’ve had enough of smashmouth politics in the past few years to last us a while. Trying to be a little forgiving and understanding of our family on Thanksgiving for the benefit of all sides involved would be a very good thing.

After all, we are the ones who are winning, n’est-ce pas?

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  1. “what is it about your brother-in-law possessing a firearm that makes you uncomfortable?”

    he can’t answer that truthfully without being avoided by his sister and BIL in the future. so he won’t answer it truthfully.

    • Ya know we had a dinner at my pastor’s home recently. One of his sons is a cop. An elderly friend was talking about taking shooting lessons at the local Range USA. I spotted a church member buying a shotgun at a LGS(he’s a Vietnam vet). These are extremely nice Baptist folk. I get the paranoia about kids & gats. But they’re still dummies who’ll call the police if they hear a bump in the night. You can’t fix stupid…yeah I was here in 2016 thinking the same thing!

  2. I’ve told this story, here and elsewhere, a few times but, it is apropos at the moment. I have an acquaintance, let’s call her Karen, who I see on a regular basis in a coffee shop near both of our homes. She has been, off and on, part of an informal discussion group that centers on the day’s news (think barber shop with coffee grounds instead of hair on the floor). Several years ago, around the time that one of Texas’ CC or OC laws was about to change, IIRC, the topic du jour was firearms laws. She was very annoyed that another state might be relaxing some of their firearm carry requirements and she made it known. She said, and I’m paraphrasing a bit, but, the point remains intact, “I’m terrified that more people might be carrying guns. The only reason these people carry guns is because they are violent, delusional, emotionally unstable, or they have some sort of violent fantasy life in which they are some kind of hero that saves the day when something bad happens. I’m scared that one of these people might carry a gun around me or my family.” I said to her, “You are either an idiot or a liar.” She recoiled in (feigned) outrage and asked me to explain myself. I said, “You know that I am a gun owner. You know that I have a CC permit. You know that there is at least an even-money chance that I am carrying a gun right now (I was) so, if you actually think that people who carry arms are unhinged, delusional or violent and you are terrified of them, and, since I am one of them, you must think that I, therefore, am unhinged, delusional or violent. If that is true, then you would not sit here next to me when you know I am very likely armed unless you are stupid. If you are not stupid and you are not actually terrified of armed people, like the one you are currently sitting next to, you are a liar.” She said that she was offended by my perception of her but, she did not jump up and run for her life so, I concluded, liar.

    • Had a situation earlier, where Mom was supposed to drop by and was several hours late. No cell reception where she was and she is elderly with failing physical capacity and incapable of driving… Duly concerned of course.

      Upon arrival with unannounced grocery bags in tow, she stated there was a huge row going on in the parking lot, near coming to blows. Uber driver, when he finally arrives tries to comfort her stating he is armed and she need not worry, though she uses the term “gunm fanatic” in her description of him explaining the events.

      Pointed out gently that nearly everyone around her, including myself, her son-in-law, and daughter is armed at all times, and are all advocates… Which makes us fanatics according to her definition, and definitively an unbalanced position when any of us is considered any differently from anyone else. And how much, even though she thought otherwise, the indoctrination drones on the MSM are getting into her head.

      Maintain vigilance. Happy Turkey Day.

  3. IO sense a great absence of logical thinking. The mere presence of a gun is not dangerous to small children unless it leaves its holster and is lying around unattended.
    Add to that, some departments require their officers to be armed at all times; there is no such thing as “off duty”, only off the clock. I think NYC is (or was) one of those places.

    • Mark N.,

      You do realize that a huge percentage of people do not partake in logical thinking, no?

      Regarding said percentage of the populace: emotion dictates their position. After that, they vomit words at other people in desperate attempts to either resonate with “others” (and gain their support) or to silence “others” (and suppress their opposition).

      In the example of this article, it could be as simple as the woman is Grade-A bitch who just likes needling other people and therefore claims to be afraid of firearms as an excuse to needle/dominate her brother-in-law.

    • NYC did require officers to carry at all times when my Father was “on the job” many years ago. May even have been an NYS requirement.

    • It is possible that toddlers snatching guns from officers and then killing someone is a major problem, I must admit I’ve never heard of it happening. I don’t know about the current state of affairs, but in Pima County AZ 30 years ago LEOs were required to armed off-duty. One complained to me that he was assigned to investigate consumer fraud, not an area where he would encounter violent offenders, and carrying a .38 24/7 was rather inconvenient to him.

  4. Well, it’s the holidays. Why not contribute something. First, I wish I had a $100 bill for everytime I carved the turkey. In uniform. Then had to leave the table. Because the radio said some other asshole couldn’t do that. Remember all those like I used to be. Tomorrow is a hard day to work. Happy Thanksgiving!

    • I should explain, my sheriff was a little lax about if it was a holiday and you still had your zone covered. But, you better have it covered.

      • My Brother-in-Law was a policeman with the Indianapolis Police Department. They were required to be armed at all times they were in the state. The state also granted all police jurisdiction throughout the state.

  5. I had a boss like that, years back.

    We could get away with a *lot* of stuff, but God help you if you made him regret giving you that slack.

    And, we never gave him the chance to regret it… 🙂

  6. Jim was persuaded to leave his firearmn in the vehicle. However he volunteered to carve the turkey and that’s when the real killing began.

  7. The couple should make known to the paranoid far right paramilitary lunatic that if he wants to come to dinner he obeys their rules because its their house and if he needs to come armed to the teeth with an assault rifle , two handguns and a couple of commando daggers that he should just stay home in his bunker and under his bed if that is what makes him get his rocks off.

    Family get togethers can be very stressful as often many of the people do not like each other and find it a chore to be with each other even if its only once a year. If the talk disintegrates into politics the far right maniacs may just decide to shoot the place up and everyone in it that disagrees with them.

    Having a far right nut case sitting next to you armed to the teeth and threatening everyone who does not agree with him is no way to spend a Thanksgiving dinner.

      • You are a laugh a minute Jethro the high school dropout. You know as much about psychology as you know about rocket science which of course is zero.

        • If you knew anything about rocket science, you would know it’s actually aeronautical engineering and that rocket science is a know-nothing slang term used by knuckle-dragging troglodites and gullible rubes.

          Grow up and stop confusing fields of science from a branch of mechanical engineering.

    • You know there is a medical procedure available now where you can get that sand removed from your mangina? You could start to live a normal life from that point forward.

    • In some jurisdictions, off-duty cops are required to be armed even when off-duty. In most jurisdictions, it’s strongly encouraged unless there’s drinking involved. In some ways, cops are on-duty even when they’re off-duty just like a doctor or EMT might be if something goes down.
      You do realize this is a cop you’re denigrating? The very same person who might be responding if you run into trouble? You, sir, are an idiot, and yes, you ARE projecting like a theater movie projector.

  8. This would be a fun question for the skittish host:

    “Bummer, we’d hate for you to feel uncomfortable. Let me ask you this… hubby has access to the local lock-up, and lots of folks there will be missing their traditional family Thanksgiving dinner… we would be happy to bring an additional guest or two to share. What kind crimes would you like us to find someone accused of, to bring with us, that would allow you to feel “comfortable” with him having his gun with him?

  9. I expect about 25 people for Thanksgiving. Most of them will be armed. As will I. Been gathering with these folks for many years. While we have had many spirited discussions and debates, never has there been a threat of violence. Weather permitting, we usually end up out at the shooting range turning money into gunsmoke. Of course we hold off on the adult beverages until after the guns are cleaned and stored.
    Good food, good company, gunz and bourbon to be had by anyone of age who wish to partake. Even provide sleeping arraignments or transportation for those who overindulge.

  10. Hard to avoid dealing with left wing idiot relatives, SIL in my case, though after my brother passed and she moved back up north it became a non issue.

  11. On one hand, he is a guest in someone’s home. He should respect their wishes.

    On the other, can she offer a reasonable stance on the topic? The “I just feel that way,” kinda does not cut it.
    As the firearm is in possession and control of a law abiding citizen and a LEO, the “I have a small child,” does not cut it either. Does she really think the gun is just going to go off by itself and shoot the child? The “small” child will some how gain possession from the LEO and shoot themself? Or think the LEO would decide the child is annoying and shoot the child?
    I would call those irrational fears not rooted in logic or common sense.

  12. These are the same people that are OK with eating meat, as long as they don’t have to kill it or gut it, skin it or butcher it. They turn a blind eye and think “Meat comes from the grocery store”. They think the same about personal responsibility. They depend on others for everything. Every family has these members. These people hve opinions, but don’t know how to do anything for themselves. They get upset when I express that “I suffer no fools”. People afraid of a gun locked in a safe, yea that may be a mental health issue.

  13. Whatever. I don’t want to eat Thanksgiving dinner with someone who doesn’t want me around either. I’ll make other arrangements, and they can continue living in their delusional world where they believe they aren’t around weapons all the time.

  14. “He comes to visit us once a year.”

    I bet he has already figured out that he isnt really welcome, gun or not.

    Sometimes its better to cut the familial pretenses and go your separate ways.

  15. When I was a kid on a ranch in Oklahoma, it was still a time when extended families lived near each other. My aunt (the matriarch of the family) would often have 40 or 50 people at Thanksgiving dinner. Every family would bring stuff, and Thanksgiving morning was a huge cooking affair.

    The day before Thanksgiving was a hunting day. All the men folk would get up at dawn and form a hunting line. We’d walk through the pastures and harvest quail, dove, rabbit, squirrel, and occasionally a deer. We’d come home, skin and clean the animals, and they would be added to the Thanksgiving fare. Of course we’d have turkey and/or ham, as well as catfish and crawdads we got from local tanks (which is what we called ponds) and all the fixins and pies and such, but I remember the game with fondness.

    Those days are gone, of course. My parents, aunts,and uncles are dead. The younger family has moved to the corners of earth, and we never get together like we used to — one or two nuclear families here and there. Maybe a “reunion” every decade or so. But I’ll never forget the time I spent hunting and bonding with the other men folk in the family on Thanksgiving.

    The idea that someone would be “afraid” of having firearms at Thanksgiving is just sad. For me, it means family.

  16. The first duty of citizenship is to be prepared to defend oneself and others. It used to the law in every one of the original colonies: that citizens were required to possess what arms they could afford, and also to participate in the “hue and cry” (to help apprehend suspected criminals), but today half the country has no comprehension of those civic duties. They think of armed citizens, not as a source of security, but as a danger.

    One of the worries that faces anyone who carries a gun, at least if they live in a blue state, is finding themselves in a left-dominated environment where, if anyone happens to detect that they are armed, they might suddenly be perceived by everyone around as a danger.

    That is a very volatile circumstance. The leftists will be thinking about trying to disarm what they perceive as a threat, while everyone who carries will normally perceive any attempt to get at their gun as an attempt to murder them. The willful civic ignorance of the left is actually quite dangerous in this circumstance.

    I have at times avoided doing things with people I liked because I knew it would be unwise to be amongst their leftist friends.


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