I’m writing this in response to a recent stir about my intent to run for an NRA board seat.
I first joined the NRA when I decided to attend the NRA Range Development course in 2005. I was there to learn about private range operations and the hurdles of getting shooting ranges approved in California. I learned that getting a shooting range approved in California is almost harder than getting Spotted Owl on the menu at a Sierra Club gala.
I took military leave from the SEAL sniper course to attend the Las Vegas NRA Range Development conference in 2005. I remember sitting in the conference room as the attendees were going around the room introducing themselves, “Joe from Colorado, gun show owner”, “Bob from Montana, gun smith…” When it came to my turn, I stood up, kept a straight face, and told them I was a representative of the Sierra Club who was attending to find ways to shut down shooting ranges across the nation. I’m pretty sure one guy had a stroke, and the rest were just north of apoplectic. When I told them I was bullshitting them and gave them my background as a Navy SEAL, the tension disappeared and the room erupted in laughter.
I never shot much as a kid, aside from shooting clay pidgeons off the bow of the boat I worked on. I hunted quite a bit, but it was with my spear gun, not a rifle. I learned to shoot in the Navy, and only became an expert with a weapon by the time I finished my first SEAL platoon work up. It was there that I was given a shot to attend sniper school with my best friend Glen Doherty (later killed in Benghazi, Libya).
My first exposure to the firearms hot button came when I spoke out in defense of school shootings and compromise on my personal blog. Things heated up again more recently when I announced that I’m going to run for a 2015 NRA board seat on my author Facebook page.
Many people I’ve encountered on social media lately have misinterpreted my position on the 2nd Amendment. Lately, I’ve heard people develop wild and ungrounded conclusions about my position on the 2nd Amendment. Some think that I’m automatically talking about Americans giving up their right to keep and bear arms, and 2nd Amendment compromise. They couldn’t be more wrong.
In the dark corners of the Internet they lurk, call names, and make ridiculous emotion-based (not fact-based) assumptions. I’ve heard it all, and I’ll take this on the chin. To be honest, I could have been clearer on my position in the past. However, do keep in mind that the word “compromise,” a term I’ve used before, comes in many forms; sometimes it includes sitting down with your adversaries and having an intelligent conversation and debate on major issues.
What have I learned since getting out of the Navy in 2006? Few things will stir people up in this country like the 2nd Amendment. It’s right up there with gay marriage and abortion. And I’ve learned that you can’t have a conversation with a fanatic.
“A fanatic is one who can’t change his mind, and won’t change the subject.” – Winston Churchill
Read more, with updated text, and pictures my personal blog here.