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 Cigar (courtesy The Truth About Guns)

Thanksgiving. The family matriarch has banned me from saying anything about guns. “And you’re not bringing any paraphernalia with you are you?” The subject of firearms became verboten after a particularly nasty episode; a by-marriage family member caught site of my empty holster, gathered her brood in a panic and scarpered. She had firearms-related issues, to which I am entirely sympathetic. But I caught all the flak. No surprise there. I am the black sheep; the “unstable” son who never settled down. And burned through two fortunes and two marriages when he did. And now my fascination with that which shall not be named. And yet I’m thankful for this ongoing antagonism . . .

My family’s opposition to my “lifestyle” has prepared me for my labor on this website. I know what it’s like to argue with someone who isn’t listening. It’s not, as Ralph suggests, a waste of time. It’s a chance to announce “this is what I believe because this is who I am.” And vice versa. Not to anyone else. To yourself. To stand proud for what you stand for. If you can accept this limitation—that you can no more open a closed mind than close an open one—you can suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous opposition.

But no opposition? That’s tough. I feel like a gay man in a family where everyone knows he’s a homosexual but no one can acknowledge it. That’s why I have sympathy for people who open carry knowing they’re going to face a police stop. Yes, it’s unnecessary. OC does nothing to advance our cause amongst those blind to the importance of our gun rights. But there’s no better way for a gun rights advocate to prove—to himself—that he’s 2A all the way.

Sure it’s selfish. But the right to keep and bear arms is an individual right. Someone who carries a gun to bolster his belief system or make a political statement is well within his rights, and should remain unmolested. Especially by his fellow gun owners. But that’s not how it goes down. The People of the Gun is a family but we are a fractured and fractious lot.

For example, I have serious issues with the National Shooting Sports Foundation’s position that Congress should renew the Undetectable Firearms Act (as is). NSSF Senior Vice President and General Counsel Larry Keane told BusinessWeek that it’s OK to ban all-plastic guns because they “would be very unreliable and very unsafe.” At the same time, he said new proposals (aimed at sneakily banning standard capacity plastic mags) would “hamper federally licensed firearms manufacturers from developing prototypes using advanced technologies.”

Larry fails to see the contradiction: how can plastic gun technology be both unreliable and unsafe and critical to advanced firearms manufacturing? Or maybe he does sees it; he’s trying to shield gunmakers from public condemnation—they don’t care about terrorists building undetectable guns!—while protecting’ profitability. Truth be told, any gun is a good gun when it’s in the hands of a good person. Any process that puts guns in the hands of good people, regardless of the bad, is a good thing.

By the same token, Wayne LaPierre’s post-Newtown rant against violent video games drove a wedge between generations of firearms and potential firearms owners for no good reason, to no good effect. The NRA’s crusade (along with the NSSF) to “fix” background checks by adding mental health records to FBI’s database does nothing to advance firearms freedom, and much to destroy it. If the NRA’s not aware that the Soviet Union used the mental health system to isolate, imprison and murder hundreds of thousands of dissidents, they should be.

Without naming names, I’ve heard that same kind of boneheaded hypocrisy at the Thanksgiving table—back when my father was alive. A deeply conservative man with a liberal eldest son and wife, he learned the fine art of encouraging debate while eliminating rancor. Now that he’s gone, it’s turkey and stuffing without politics.

I like to think TTAG serves the same role in the gun “debate” as my father did at the dinner table. We have our beliefs but we’re happy to encourage dissent and debate. We don’t seek compromise, just civility. We try to create what Hemingway called a “clean, well-lighted place.”

On this day I am thankful for my father’s influence and my readership’s empathy for his philosophy. And I wonder how he felt, inside. This is not the time to speak of black dogs, but I’ll say this about that: my father could never reconcile his experience with his idealism, no matter how hard he tried. It saddened him. I share my father’s burden and spend much of life suffering in silence. But not here, where I can speak freely. Thank God for that.

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  1. Happy thanksgiving to you and yours Robert….Y’all could sit around the table and talk health insurance instead…P.S,,,the cigar looks Delicious

  2. I know the feeling.

    Nothing says “happy holidays” at the family table like getting the stink eye because ,oh my gosh, you LIKE guns!

    My family is African American, and they’re staunch ,Obama voting Democrats.When they discovered I held a CCW permit, they staged an “intervention”.I’ve seen court martials which were nicer.What could I do? It was like Galileo and the Church- being on the side of the truth didn’t mean squat.It was their hoplophobic way, or the highway.

    • +1

      I grew up in a very loving (but very misguided) faaaar left-leaning East Coast family. All weapons of any type were considered “evi”l and should be banned. I joined the military as soon as I graduated High School and learned a healthy respect for firearms which has continued professionally and privately for the last 20 years. I still vividly recall the horrified look on my Mothers face one day after returning home on leave when I unclipped my trusty Spyderco Endura and proceeded to cut open a UPS box. Needless to say, I think its our job to push the envelope a little bit and force our misguided loved ones to open thier eyes a bit to the real world.

  3. RF, happy thanksgiving to you and yours. Even the libs amongst yours. I have some understanding of what you go thru. Everybody in my family owned rifles and shotguns. But true fudds they were. Handguns were off limits as were any of what we’d call modern sporting rifles.

    The only encouragement I can offer you is that gradually a few of my family have changed their minds and are becoming more 2a friendly. It only took a lifetime.

  4. A lovely day for a cigar. Not being around family, I’m headed to my local cigar shop, which is open today for those of us who are either in my position or who want to escape family for a while.

    As for the NSSF, they’re a creature of the manufacturers. 3D printing is a disruptive technology. It’s a rice bowl and a PR issue for them. I don’t happen to agree with their position, but I don’t expect a creature-or organisation-to act against its nature.

    Happy Thanksgiving.

  5. Regarding the second paragraph, the scripture says “faith comes from hearing”. So yes, it’s worth speaking the truth even if you’re the only one listening.

    Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!

    • And for being willing to open it up to the writing and views of amateur contributors who have waited so long for a chance to voice and discuss their opinions on these matters.

      I remember the first time I heard Rush Limbaugh on the radio. My immediate reaction was OMG! Here’s a guy on the radio who thinks (almost) exactly as I do and is willing to speak out about it! I am NOT alone!

      I felt exactly the same way when I found TTAG and I feel safe here talking about things that are important to all of us. To all of those who come here and their response to controversy is to attack the writer rather than counter the argument, FOAD. (joke) Really, if you have an issue, bring up your opposing idea and add it to the discussion.

      Censorship of opposing viewpoints is the Liberal tactic – on-line editorials with the comments sections closed. Comment moderation on TTAG is very lightly done and even-handed, and I have never seen it closed, even to MikeyNumbers.

      Happy Thanksgiving to all. Smoke ’em, and Carry ’em if ya got ’em.

      • Thanks for your heartfelt expression. Me, I’ve never trusted Rush as far as I could throw him… which is to say, not at all.

  6. Happy Thanksgiving to all…and Mr Farago, I would like to give thanks to you and the others who post for your site, and all of the people who comment on it. I’m glad I found this site when I did, and I am thankful that it has made me think about and change some of the positions I’ve held. And it has helped me to get other people to think critically about their positions, which is always a good thing, no matter which conclusions one comes to. This site is by far the best site I’ve seen when it comes to firearms, and freedom in general. And your writing has gotten better as better.

    Ok, now I’ll stop sucking your cock. 😉

  7. Happy Thanksgiving. I wish you as much luck as I’ve had with my mother on the topic. She’s actually considering buying my dad a 10/22 takedown for his birthday now.

  8. Happy Thanksgiving and I really, really, REALLY hope you were pocket carrying a little .380.

    Edited to add I am Sooooo thankful that I’ve “to my knowledge” had a friend or family member that was anti-gun, and that even includes my “hippy” aunt. I am truly blessed.

  9. The NSSF is the gun manufacturers lobbyist. In this over-regulated era we live in, it would be a breach of fiduciary duty for any corporate enterprise not to have lobbyists, and for an industry as contentious as firearms, this is true times a million. Often times they will be our ally, but not always. We should work together when we can and politely disagree when we must.

  10. I know the feeling. Being the only one under the roof who thinks rationaly. I understand not liking guns but denying it to everyone I can’t understand. I think of being pro-choice (of guns) being akin to offering someone the red pill* or the blue pill** – its your choice. While the “anti-gunners” want you to take the blue pill and chastise and report anyone who even considers the red pill.

    * and ** : the blue pill and the red pill as in the film “the Matrix”.

    • Doctor! It’s not in his mouth, he’s using it to pollute that pristine countryside (or block the smell of manure from that farm).

  11. I’m thankful that my family (my immediate family at least) all agree with each other politically and religiously. Because I would not put up with what Mr. Farago puts up with. I don’t tolerate anti-Christian, anti-liberty, hoplophobes as friends, nor will I tolerate them in my family. There can be no fellowship between those who love liberty and tyrants.

    You may not be able to choose your family, but you sure can choose whether or not you want them to be a part of your life. I’m not giving any advice. I’m merely describing how I choose to live.

    • “There can be no fellowship between those who love liberty and tyrants.”

      Wow, a hard case. I am thankful for people such as you!

    • “If you love wealth greater than liberty, the tranquility of servitude greater than the animating contest for freedom, go home and leave us in peace. We seek not your council, nor your arms. Crouch down and lick the hand that feeds you; and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen.” Samuel Adams, speech at the Philadelphia State House, August 1, 1776

      That says it all.

  12. Happy Thanksgiving to all. Fortunately I was able to down a big corn fed Michigan doe this morning and share a great turkey meal with a family of gun owners, including a former fudd.

  13. Happy Thanksgiving all! I’m sharing this holiday with my wife (scared of guns) whose concern is stoking my daughter’s facination with them. In a couple of years they will be old enough for the range!

  14. At least your family talks to you.

    Oh, and I’ll add that I’m jealous of the cigar. I recognize the fact that I could effortlessly roll right back into my two-pack-a-day Newport habit so I don’t even touch that stuff in the picture.

    It sure smells good though. 😉

  15. I am not afraid to say that…well, I am thankful for this website. I read it just about everyday…it has kept my faith in man from eroding too rapidly.

  16. I am grateful for TTAG –
    and I will remember that quote of Hemingway’s “a clean, well-lighted space”…

    Happy Hannuka as well, and apropo-
    Resisting authority over what you believe to be true, despite pressure. G_d rest your Fathers soul- a good man who I am sure is proud of his rebel son.

  17. Hmmm… I know that Black Dog, having a tendency to imagine the worst. Something I work on still in my later middle years. Only solution I have found to that old rascal is some recoil therapy at the range. To this day, I have not found anything as useful for bringing my aspirations for full freedom in alignment with where I am. Except maybe getting my ass handed to me in an aikido class (years ago)… that worked too.

    Happy Thanksgiving TTAGers, from the Land of Enchantment.

  18. Happy Thanksgiving to you & yours, RF, and many many thanks for the outstanding blog! Even the things with which I disagree tend to promote some thought, and that’s the point! I enjoyed my turkey-day down at my father’s place, running through a brick of SK 22lr, thinking of my hoplophobe friends and what they were missing!

    • I’m thankful for an agreeable daughter, who wants a gun, a grandson who keeps bugging her to get one for protection, an ex who has changed her mind about guns (though we still can’t get along for over 3 hours), and TTAG!

  19. Happy Thanksgiving to all TTAG Staff and Readers/Comment Contributors! Thank-you all for consistently providing something to be thankful for every day and keeping alive my hope we shall yet save The Republic and The American Way.

  20. I’m frankly surprised that a woman’s family would be appalled because her husband knows his way around a firearm. Doesn’t that imply that he’s willing to do anything and everything to protect their darling daughter? Ah, well. Different strokes and all that. Happy Thanksgiving, pilgrims.

  21. I open carried all day today… my little 22mag SAA clone. Not a peep out of anyone here. Though it was just me the wife, 4 kids and 3 close friends… 2 of which are former military.

  22. I join the others who are thankful for this site, Robert. It gives me joy to be educated by such knowledgeable folks(including the commenters) on such varied subjects. I’m thankful for the chance to contribute my ideas, opinions and (for me, what passes for) humor.
    Thank you and your team for your fine work. Happy Thanksgiving and Hannukah.


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