Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Tickets to the Gun Show

I had a very busy weekend, from which I am still recovering. My town held a street festival with artisans and craftsmen, food booths, kids activities, a silent auction, live music and seminars throughout the day. I helped plan it. I also had a booth. Since my business is a food business, it was a lot of work to get my product ready to sell on Sunday, plus keep up with the volunteer aspect of it. Sunday turned out to be a gorgeous day, with huge crowds and I sold out. So I've got that going for me. I am totally proud to have been a part of the event on both sides of the coin.

Tonight there was a wrap up meeting to discuss all feedback on the event. Something came to my attention that has been bothering me since.

One of the seminars, I guess you'd call it, was a demonstration by these guys who re-enact battles from the Revolution. Full get-up, wig, muskets, the whole she-bang. Well, part of their demonstration was a children's musket drill. That's right, they had children handling guns. I believe they were working guns.

So, the organizers of the event got an email from a disappointed spectator, saying that the sight of children with guns in their hands, so soon after the violence in Lancaster County (close by our town) was appalling and ruined an otherwise enjoyable day for them.

I understand the sentiment, and frankly I wholeheartedly agree with it.

However, this email started a few discussions about the appropriateness of this particular demonstration at our event. Most of the people who aren't bothered by guns got very reactive. You know, the attitude that we spend too much of our time cow-towing to liberals who want everything to be so P.C. Screw them was their vote.

But, in the larger scheme of things, we are planning this event to bring the community together. Yes, some families have no problem with guns. However, I don't think those families will plan a day around how they can next get their child's hand around a pistol. On the flip side, though, families who are uncomfortable with guns will not attend an event that they believe will have a gun demonstration. If we are in the businesss of bringing the most people we can to this event, then why even consider staging something that is clearly controversial and alarming to some?

It is an interesting question, isn't it? Because the people who got riled up about the sentiment voiced in the email reacted blindly, instead of really considering what the ultimate goal was. Yes, it's a free country, but that doesn't mean we should let our emotions (or overreactions) about any situation outweigh the right decision.

Furthermore, visitors to the event had no choice about whether to see children firing guns or not. I think if it's remotely controversial, that shouldn't happen. It's not like the t.v., where the parents could turn the channel if something objectionable came on. There's too much is going on at an event like this, and the crowds are too great to just turn around. Let's put our political agendas, or our "don't fence me in" attitudes, away for the moment and focus on how the greater good can be served by children firing guns at a public event.

It can't. So let's skip it.


At 12:16 AM, Blogger Hetty Fauxvert said...

Congrats on doing so well with your food product! ("Food product" ... makes me wonder almost passionately what it really is. Hints?) I'm glad all your hard work came together so satisfactorily!

As for the gun thing ... well, it's obvious that the event's organizers were a bit tone-deaf, especially after the events of the last few days. And really, I don't know why *kids* were giving a demonstration of how to use a musket. That does seem a bit odd, as if it was done to make a point. Why not adults?

That said, if my kids (to be) got the chance to actually handle a real working musket (under proper supervision only, of course), I would approve of that. Let's face it, a musket is not a Ruger or a Kalashnikov. Learning how to muzzle-load a musket is not going to teach you how to load a modern rifle or pistol. However, it might very well interest the kids in their own historical heritage. And now, every time they read about the Revolutionary War, they will *know* what part of that was like. They will know the smell of the gunpowder, the kick of the musket, how heavy those muskets must have been to carry for miles in the snow barefoot. And I always think it's good for all of us to remember how much other people sacrificed so that we can live the way we do today.

Um, I'm not a big gun fanatic ... we have exactly one rifle in our house, which we keep because it is a family heirloom, and no ammo for it. But I *am* big on kids learning about the past. And hands-on learning sticks in a way that book larnin' often does not.

At 11:35 AM, Blogger kati said...

congratulations on doing so well during your fair! As for the gun thing, hm, I think I wouldn't want to see kids with guns either. Sounds almost dangerous, no?

in regard to your last post, hope everything works out just fine for you!!!

At 1:56 PM, Blogger theoneliner said...

Kids with guns freak me out. But i'm a flaming lib.eral so that's no big surprise (nor is it that i am a flaming libe.ral)

Although, my mom was a sharp shooter as a kid. She won "best shooter" in the state of Georgia or something to that effect for about 5 years. Lots (probably all of them) of kids in her school knew how to handle guns and did handle guns with regularity.

None of them to my knowledge have ever been involved with any gun violence.

That was the fifties for ya' . Crazy, huh?

At 7:04 PM, Blogger patricia said...

I have no patience for the "screw the liberal" gun lobby. I think guns can have historical value, but I having children firing them is something I find disturbing. I probably wouldn't - I wouldn't want that message sent to my kid.


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