I recently broke out of a label that no longer suited me….”that I would never take part in a protest because that would make it official….I would be that much closer to being a “tree-hugger”. Well, many of you know that I was honored to be a part of my friend, Heidi’s book called Beyond the Bullet. When she told me about a protest in Seattle that she wanted me to go with her for, I didn’t exactly just at the opportunity. Not until she told me what it was about. Let’s see if I can give you the summed up version to entice you to go over to the CBS news version….
WHAT!!!?…I know right!
Well, there’s these idiots in Cali that started hanging out at local restaurants and coffee shops wearing their guns on the outside of their clothing. Why you ask? Well, there main reason…besides having small penises…”because they can”. There is no law right now that says you can’t go get a gun right now and wear it around town like you are with Miami Vice, sporting a name like Tubs or Crockett:) Seems crazy right? Well, Peets Coffee and a couple other establishments both laid down their own rules that said they couldn’t hang out there anymore because they were scaring customers into calling the cops. Then people started calling Bradey Campaign and told them about the situation and asked what they could do about it. Well, Starbuck’s refused to take a stance on the subject….in fear of losing clients (even if that means dangerous ones). So the banchies started hanging out there…and more people began to call. In their mission statement they say that they want it to be a “home away from home”…but, what about those of us that don’t allow guns in the home? So this is the scene that played out at what we thought was going to be a huge protest and ended up being a small news conference and protest.
Here’s how the adventure played out….the highlights of my day were when the opposing side were yelling things like, “FEAR MONGERS”! What…are we in 1st grade. Which is precisely how I explained protests to the kids. I said, “It’s like having half of your school decide that they no longer want recess. And you know that you want recess more than anything. They make comments like, it’s bad for your health and not fun. And you are going crazy when you hear this because all it is, is fun, and you KNOW it’s good for your health. So you have this argument that doesn’t go anywhere because you aren’t there to HEAR each other, you’re there to be HEARD.” They really seemed to get the whole thing after this analogy.
Well, because I was emtionally unattached to the whole time (this tends to happen when I get my camera in my hands), I just seemed to look at the whole thing as silly. I understand the fears behind not wanting government to take over all of our rights. And I KNOW first hand from the stories in my life, of the dangers of guns in our community and how easy it is for any Joe Schmo to get one. It’s not the law-abiding people that take the time to take a concealed weapon’s class, or the guy that locks up his gun and takes safety classes, that worry me (as much). I am worried about the clinically insane that used to be able to get guns, or the kids that are buying their guns from a gun show to shoot up Columbine. I think that both sides could come together to make having guns in our society a little more conscious and more safe. It seems like a simple desire…until you see both sides in a situation where it is impossible to hear each other over the frustration and negative energy.
The whole thing ended up getting a lot more attention than I could have anticipated. The kids ended up on the cover of the Wall Street Journal!! Then we ended up on the CBS news with Katie Couric!! Then my neighbor asked me why the hell I was at a gun rally in Seattle because she just saw me laughing behind a raging NRA dude on Fox news:) lol. I was told not to be a pot stirrer….but you know my family is a product of a black man that decided to stir the pot back in the day. My experience with stirring the pot (or cup of coffee in this instance) was an amazing learning experience and I wouldn’t trade it for the world. I am so proud of Heidi and I know that she is making a difference in so many people’s lives because she believes passionately in our kid’s safety and she’s out there to raise awareness in a subject that we’re not all comfortable with….good for her. She stood her ground and she was so great at listening to people when they came up to her afterwards…even when they weren’t so nice;)
This is a similar picture of the one that made it into the WSJ. It was so entertaining to watch the photographers and camera crew try to get their version of the story and the picture they were trying to paint. The best shot that I saw from the day was of the guy in camo, showing his gun and butt crack! I was behind him the whole time helping him with his kids that were throwing their socks and bottles. He was so appreciative because I wasn’t wearing anything that could put me on either side…jsut a camera that said I was media. Once my kids came up to me and hugged me, he went a little pale and confused;)
The kids were pretty excited to talk to media….Jamie…maybe not so much:) lol! Tré said that he got scared at one point because he was stareing at the guys gun so hard and his hand kept getting close to it….which was Heidi’s point…since most people can get guns legally (with no background check) and some illegally, how can we tell which ones are the ‘bad guys”. Tré didn’t know what the guy was saying about the issue….he just saw a REALLY angry man with a gun!
We went over to the first Starbucks and handed out petitions…and the ugliness continued and Heidi continued to make her point:) She said she would love to go into a Starbucks and not a wear a shirt or shoes with a gun strapped on, and when she gets arrested say….”now I just want to make sure that I am getting arrested for no shirt and shoes, not for the gun on my hip.” LOL!!!! I see her point:) Well, then it was off to headquarters begging Corporate to not make us stop drinking their crack. None of us want to stop drinking their product, but I also can’t support a company that won’t take a stand on keeping the place more safe. You already made a point to keep naked people out or homeless with no shoes because it’s just not socially acceptable. We didn’t get a response though…just received with more anger. I understand that they are in a really tough spot…but they aren’t just a small coffee shop, they are the biggest and they take stances all the time in other things. They are really inbetween a rock and a hard place now though…bummed, but relieved that I actually have a reason for not going now. Why was it so hard when I wanted to save money or the soy was upsetting my stomach:)
I LOVE this moment….all the chaos that humans cause….and the dog that is incapapble of staying out of the moment wondering why we all can’t just get along by smelling each other’s butts, to see we are all the same breed:)
What a day:) What a perfectly, fine day that felt like a really great teaching opportunity for the kids and I to share together….not to mention a really fun trip with a purpose to play hookie from school together. Jake was bummed he missed out, but he had to be home to bring in the cheddar:(
Thank you Heidi….
I see bravery…I see courage…I see conviction…I see passion…I see you. You brighten my life and I have learned so much from you. I admire the person that you are and I am honored to call you a friend:)