Tuesday, June 21, 2016

And Then The Media Happened

Hello, my darlings! I'm still getting caught up from the delightful insanity that was last week. But thing have settled down enough here at Chateau Palette (or perhaps I've just delegated enough) that I have time to get caught up with what has happened since my last social update.

I showed up at Volusia Top Gun (which is a VERY nice gun shop/shooting range, by the way -- I highly recommend it)at 10 am to meet with Stacey Dooley of BBC 3. Stacey is a cute blonde, five-foot nothing, maybe a hundred pounds if she's carrying a bowling ball. She was quite friendly, understanding of my concerns, and went out of her way to put me at ease.

After we'd gotten the camera gear set up and I was mic'd (and I made a point of letting everyone know I was recording audio as well so I wouldn't get Couriced), we had our safety briefing and went onto the range. 

They took some stock footage of me loading magazines and shooting with my Glock, and then Stacey and I "met" on camera and I introduced her to pistols, starting with my .22LR single-action revolver. 

I will say this for the lady: she had EXCELLENT trigger discipline. Her finger was pressed along the frame whenever she wasn't actually shooting. She also didn't muzzle anyone, although a few times it did veer off to the side instead of downrange. 

Unfortunately, her stance and posture were terrible. She was standing with her strong leg cocked out to the side like a model on the catwalk, was doing the expected "chick lean" backwards, and didn't quite grasp the concept of "look at the front sight through the rear sight", so all of her shots were too high. The RSO eventually asked if he could take over, I said "Yes please!", and he got her squared away before too long. 

Out of 6 shots, two of them were on paper: at about 1:00, well outside the furthest ring. After that, she decided she'd had enough. I offered to let her shoot my .380 Colt Mustang, but she demurred. While I don't think the recoil hurt her, there were other people on the range shooting some pretty high-caliber stuff and the noise made her visibly flinch when she wasn't on-camera. 

There were some pictures of my other guns and their calibers, and a brief segue with my AR that didn't really go anywhere. 

Now that we've all gotten that frisson of fear out of our system, let me explain what I mean. I was showing her the difference in how calibers looked -- .22LR vs .380 vs. 9mm vs. .223, and how even thought .223 is longer you can see that the bullets themselves are pretty close to the same size -- and she said something to the effect of "I can see why carrying a pistol can be a good thing; why do you need something so much more lethal like this rifle?"

I could have answered this a lot of ways: I could have talked about need vs. want, or "I have the right, that's why", or "You have the pistol to fight your way to your rifle." or any number of things. But I didn't, because
  1. Whether deliberate or not, I felt we were veering toward "Evil assault rifle" stuff;
  2. I didn't want to get into the weeds regarding gun control etc because I wasn't prepared for that discussion -- after all, I was there to talk about what it's like to be LGBTQ and own guns; 
  3. and most importantly, A BBC reporter said that she could see the need for carrying a pistol for self-defense. At that point, I felt I'd won, and saying anything else could only make things worse, so I just said "I don't feel comfortable having that debate with you" and shut up.
After that, we adjourned to a quieter venue where we had a nice sit-down chat. Again, Stacey was very pleasant and accommodating, and I found myself genuinely liking her. We talked some more about guns and gun violence (with again, more questions that could be construed as "Don't Americans need to do something about gun violence?" and I essentially said  "I don't have the answers for that, but I'll be happy to connect you to someone who does."), as well as what it's like to be an LGBTQ gun owner, how owning a gun doesn't make you a vigilante, and that Operation Blazing Sword proves that both sides of a political divide can come together after a tragedy.

I probably wasn't as smooth as I needed to be, but it was my first time. I give myself a B overall: some questions I absolutely nailed and some I stumbled on, but I didn't fumbled any of them. I'll do better next time.

I got the feeling that Stacey genuinely liked me. When we were done and she offered her hand, I told her "Do you give hugs? Because I hug," and she said "Oh I absolutely hug!" and not only did she hug, she also rubbed her hand up and down my back.

So I'm pretty sure that I'm going to get a fair shake from the BBC, but we won't know for certain until the interview is aired.

After that, I came home to discover that I, and Operation Blazing Sword, had been mentioned in The India Times! Here's the money quote form the article, titled America's Gays & Lesbians Are Buying Guns In Record Numbers, And Gun Owners Are Teaching Them How To Shoot!

In my books, this is much real and credible than the solidarity candle light marches and open letters that happen after any attack on minorities in America. 

Unfortunately there is no link to my blog in that article... but there is a link to our interactive map! And the best part is, we're international, baby!

I was pleased to discover that David Kopel, of the Volokh Conspiracy, wrote an article for the Washington Post that not only mentioned me and Blazing Sword in the first paragraph -- but there's also a link to my Blue Collar Prepping post about it!

The rest of the article, titled The history of LGBT gun-rights litigation, then goes on to talk about other people and things, and that's okay. This movement isn't about me, and I'm just thrilled to get a mention.

Joe Huffman's blog, The View From North Central Idaho, had a really nice graphic made by Stephanie!

I also got an email from Stephanie with this picture:

And this may have happened before Sunday, but that's when I first noticed that Blazing Sword (okay, sometimes we're a Project and sometimes we're an Operation -- frankly I'm not picky) had its own page on the Pink Pistols website. Thanks, Gwen!

And that brings us to yesterday, when I was "interviewed" by Cary Harrison of the Progressive Radio Network. I say "interviewed" with bunny rabbit ears because it wasn't so much an interview as it was for the host to pontificate rapid-fire and then ask me a question in the hopes I would give him soundbites. I'm pleased to announce that I hit every answer out of the park, and while I likely didn't convince any of his regular listeners, he sure didn't score any points off me nor did he convince anyone on the fence.

Oh, and don't you love how he throws the West Hollywood gay community under the bus by essentially claiming that most of them are meth addicts and/or are likely to commit felony perjury by lying on a form 4473?

If you'd like to listen to just my segment without wading through the rest of it, my podcast editor Sean Sorrentino has got you covered

And that brings us to today, where nothing special happened -- just the usual emails and Facebook notifications and coordinating with other members of the media for interviews.

I've apparently become a minor news celebrity and I still don't know how this happened. Living right, I guess?

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