… and nobody gets shot.
No fisticuffs ensue.
Nobody craps on a cop car.
Nobody gets arrested.
Nobody calls for overthrow of the government, other than at the ballot box.
There are no drunken brawls, no ambulances called, no… nothing.
Nothing, that is, except close to 74,000 men, women and children gathered to celebrate the amendment that guarantees their personal freedom.
Anti-gun groups want America to believe that women are not involved in the shooting sports in large numbers. At the America's Center, amid the horde of people winding their way through the exhibit hall, I saw enough women to populate a large shopping mall on the day after Thanksgiving.
I mean, there wasn't a direction you could look without seeing women. Young, old, single or accompanying male companions, pushing strollers – some filled with children, and many filled with gear purchases – women stylishly dressed, women frumpily dressed, women clucking in disapproval at the attire of some of the booth babes, and women dressed scantily enough they could be booth babes…
The media wants America to believe that Second Amendment advocates are a bunch of religious right wing, older white males, and many of them probably racist. And while the faces in the crowd were predominately white, there were black faces as well. I had the pleasure of having dinner a couple of times with Rick Ector, of Legally Armed in Detroit.
Rick is as passionate a Second Amendment advocate as you'll find, and he lives in one of the most violent cities in America. He makes his living by teaching people to be responsible for their own personal safety. He empowers women by giving them the tools and training to face a male attacker on more equal terms. He organizes open carry rallies. He walks the walk.
He also happens to be black., and this white, southern redneck got along with him just fine.
Among the white faces at the hotel bar, there were black faces, wearing ball caps proudly proclaiming their status as veterans – Special Forces, this ship or that battalion – all warmly sharing fellowship with their white counterparts.
Funny, they didn't look ostracized to me. They looked like… us.
There were children galore, most of them accompanying their parents, yet plenty of the older ones roaming the exhibit hall on their own, politely examining the wares of the various vendors. There were cute little girls in Glock caps, clutching their autographed poster of Tori Nonaka every bit as proudly as if it were signed by Hannah Montana or the professional athlete of their choice, and come to think of it, it was. Tori is an elite athlete at the tender age of fifteen.
There was Leadchucker's kid, grinning from ear to ear, holding a Thompson submachine gun. Those of you who fear and do not understand guns may shudder in revulsion, but I see a boy holding a tool, and obviously taught to do so safely.
There was Danno's son, of Sandcastle Scrolls, proudly showing off the challenge coin he got from R. Lee Ermey. He was covering the event as media, even though he's still in junior high school.
I spoke to St. Louis police officers, medics at the hospital where I was filming video yesterday, pub managers, security guards at the America's Center, street vendors and janitors, and the words they used to describe the convention crowd were polite… pleasant… good tippers… easygoing… well-behaved, and well… boring.
And boring, I think, is the highest compliment we can be paid. I'm not sure you realize just how unusual that is. I've done some large event medicine here and there, and to gather so large a group of people in one location is a massive undertaking. Something always happens, even at EMS conventions 1/10 the size of this one.
Yet, at the 2012 NRA Annual Meeting, nothing did.
I think that speaks well of us.