The 145th Annual Meetings & Exhibits of the National Rifle Association are about to begin in Louisville, Ky., and for tens of thousands of NRA members the weekend in Louisville will be one to remember. It’s like a combination family reunion, celebration of freedom, call to action and great big party all rolled into one massive event. I’ve been going to the Annual Meetings since 2004 and each year has only gotten better.
Anti-gun activists don’t really have anything like an NRA Annual Meeting. Instead, they have galas in places like Los Angeles, New York City and Washington, D.C. I suppose that makes sense. It’s not like you’re going to get 70,000 anti-gun activists to gather for a convention featuring all of the guns they’d like to ban, right?
Recently in New York, the Brady Campaign put on a night of comedy to raise some money for the group, and in the process mock gun owners for being stupid rednecks. According to The Guardian, songstress Tammy Faye Starlite turned in a “unsubtle yet fun” performance as a pro-gun Christian. Given that her songs include numbers like “God Has Lodged A Tenant In My Uterus,” I’d say “unsubtle” is an understatement. It makes me wonder if anyone from the Brady Campaign’s “God, Not Guns” program was there to witness their faith being mocked, but if there were, I’m sure they understood it was all for a good cause. Besides, they weren’t being mocked. It was those gun-owning, churchgoing hillbillies that were being mocked.
Oddly enough, at almost the exact same time Tammy Faye Starlite was cracking her first joke about those Jesus-worshiping rubes, a group of gun-owning, churchgoing gentlemen from rural Tennessee were saving a little girl’s life. Carlie Trent had been missing for more than a week after being kidnapped by her uncle, but four men searching rural property in Hawkins County, Tenn., spotted the little girl. They also found her uncle, and they held him at gunpoint until sheriff’s deputies could reach the remote location. The director of the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation called the men “heroes” and said, “We are sure the family of Carlie Trent sends their heartfelt thanks to the actions that were taken.”
Donnie Lawson, Stewart Franklin, Roger Carpenter and Larry “Hambone” Hamblen are indeed heroes. They’re also self-described country boys and mountain men who didn’t just look for the missing Carlie Trent, they prayed for her as well. When Tammy Faye Starlite and the supporters of the Brady Campaign were hanging out in a New York club laughing at gun-owning Christians, they were laughing at these guys. This is who they were mocking.
And while the anti-gun activists were busy feeling really good about themselves (So caring! So devoted to making the world a better place!), the gun-owning good old boys were actually doing something really good. They actually cared enough about a family they’d never met to go search for a missing girl they didn’t know. They actually made the world a better place by returning that child to her desperate and grieving family. And I’ll bet that when they lay their heads on their pillows that night, they didn’t fall asleep with a feeling of smug satisfaction. I bet they prayed. I’ll bet they thanked God. And I’ll bet they fell asleep feeling grateful.
There are good guys with guns in this country, despite all the protests to the contrary from groups like the Brady Campaign and Moms Demand Action. Most of the time, they won’t need to use their firearm, so they don’t always make headlines like Donnie, Stewart, Roger and Hambone. But these “good guys” are doing good every day, from showing kindness to strangers to volunteering, mentoring and more. In the minds of the anti-gun activists, these people don’t even exist. Thankfully, in the real world, they do.