Friday Flashback: Guns and other blunders
I grew up in the Midwest and my dad happily describes himself as a redneck democrat. As a kid I was taught all about political processes good and bad. In fact my participation in caucuses and the year my dad and I got up an hour early so he could support his union protesters before work (he was considered critical services) endeared me to many. It was however often difficult to discuss one thing… Guns.
I grew up in households where not only owning a gun was normal; it was something to be used and greatly respected. I grew up hunting and fishing and was endowed with a great respect for the bounty of our earth but, most people stopped listening at guns.
If you are an hunter traveling in Europe this is probably something you will encounter. It was quite a stumbling block until I realized two things. First quickly acknowledge that American gun control regulations should be a great deal stronger. Secondly quickly switch into explaining what owning a gun means for you. For me it means time with famliy. It means respect for the environment around me through active participation in it. For me hunting means knowing where my food is coming from and a deep respect for the animal I consume. For me owing guns means teaching a new generation how to safely own and handle guns, that they are not toys. To me it means all of this and more, but it does not equal street violence or mass killings. To me it equals strong and healthy tradition.
I never failed to have an interesting conversation after that explanation and it was generally a positive one.
Until next time please share your cultural cautions and blunders abroad.