Sunday, November 25, 2012

How would you handle this?

I had a lovely day on Saturday. One of my cousins hosted a little reunion because we only see each other at funerals. I'm the youngest of my 16 first cousins on my dads side. Most of us grew up pretty close because we lived in the same county, but my oldest cousin was married and living upstate most of my life. Because of our age difference, we never got to know each other. Recently connecting on Facebook, "E" and I shared our first real conversation this weekend. He knew from FB that I shot, and over the past few months, we have had had many pleasant exchanges about firearms which I've enjoyed.
(Photo by Alan Dubbs)

We were chatting away like old friends at the picnic, talking firearms and getting to know each other. My other male cousins in attendance, joined in on the conversation. They all thought it was cool that I obtained my NRA Pistol Instructor certification earlier this year. We laughed, shared stories, and caught up with each other.

The conversation was quite fun, until one of my female cousins walked over with her new husband. She came into earshot when E was talking about one of his pistols. She gasped and exclaimed to E "OMG, you have a gun?" E was a little taken back, but replied cheerfully that he had many firearms. Her next question: "Why? Why do you need a gun?" "Is it on you? OMG.."

Now clearly..she had no idea that the rest of us did too, and she looked at me and mouthed the words "He's crazy! He has guns!" Her new husband asked E if he thought he was on the show Duck Dynasty, and why wasn't he dressed in camo and have a beard? (Nice to meet you too, right?)

E did his best to answer her questions, like why he thought he needed a gun, and did he "shoot things" with them?! I finally caught E's attention and gestured he should just stop talking to her..she was getting nastier and nastier, but since E hadn't been down our way since 1981 when his dad passed away, he felt the need to still be polite despite her ridiculousness. After-all, we were family, right?? Her husband turned to me and said our family should have a reality show, because "you can't make this stuff up."

"Umm..what stuff?" I asked, and again she said, "Crazy E has guns!" (Classy, because she was standing next to him..) My reply both baffled the two of them, and made my cousins burst out laughing.."So.Do.I."

There was now no way to have an intelligent conversation with either of them..and each cousin in the circle in turn answered owned guns too..but I guess because he was the new guy, she still seemed to be going after E.."Let me guess, you have a bunker in you're basement too right?" (Timing it perfectly, my husband walked past and said our bunker was being installed outside, away from the house..apparently he was having fun watching the whole train wreck..) She was so jaded and anti-gun, that I'm sure she thought I was just joking. (No way I could have a gun right? A woman would never, right? I have kids too, gasp..nope, no need for one, downright dangerous right?) Still not believing I was truly in the good ole boys gun club, she asked  why would I "need" one?  Being the good sport I am, I answered honestly..Cops were too heavy to carry around..) but I have no doubt she thought I was just being funny. Because really..why in the world would I have one? She was baffled...obviously I was just playing with she continued to badger poor E..

I guess my point is, how do you deal with an anti? There was no way to have a civil conversation with her.  She was not open to the idea of learning about why we had them, she asked that while "maybe" E "needed" one because he (her words)  lived with wild animals like bears, why would he ever need more than that?  And really, why would he shoot a bear?

So what is your response when someone is SO anti-gun that there literally is no having a civil conversation with them? Arguing would have made it worse, her mind was made up and she was the only one who was right..we were all crazy..guns are crazy, and dangerous, and unnecessary!  Is there any way to get through? Or isn't it worth the effort? I'm all for educating, but if there's no way to get through, what do you do?

Friday, November 2, 2012

Lessons from Sandy..

The recent events following Hurricane Sandy proved that people better start thinking ahead.

I had food and water in the house, because I always have a supply on hand. I have enough dry pasta, Spam, tuna, sauce, soup, and cereal on hand to last more than a week. Would it get boring after a few days, sure. Would we go hungry? No!

We had extra propane on hand for the barbecue as well, and while grilling in bad weather isn't perfect, we wouldn't have starved.  And since the power outages in my area will likely last about 2+ weeks, certainly the weather has cleared, but the need for food hasn't.

We were fortunate to only be without power for 3 days, and the weather was fairly warm for this time of year in New York. Nights went to the 40s, but days remained in the 60s, it was cold at night, but it wasn't unbearable.

Here are some tips that I use for prepping for a storm, and for an unexpected disaster:
  • Keep a supply of medicines handy.
  • Always keep bottled water in the house. A way to purify water is an extra bonus if necessary.
  • Stock up on nonperishable foods such as canned soup, pasta and rice. A gas stove can be lit manually, ensuring you can always boil water, make coffee or tea, and heat soup.
  • Keep extra propane tanks stored safely away from your house. Buy a grill with a side burner, especially if you have an electric stove.
  • Keep a good supply of pet food at home. You never know when disaster might strike, your pet shouldn't have to pay the price because you weren't prepared.
  • If you have a generator, keep enough gas (stored safely and properly) to keep it running for several days. Once disaster hits, you won't be making a trip to the gas station to get fuel for it, ask anyone in the New York Metropolitan area..
  • Keep a chain saw gassed up and ready to go. Extra fuel and an extra blade are necessities when trees start falling.
  • Have a list of safe places you can bug out to if you need to, as well as emergency numbers for doctors, veterinarians, etc. Print it..if you don't have electricity, you wont be able to look things up.
  • When the power grid goes down, you cannot get gasoline..stop driving unnecessarily.
  • Keep cash on-hand. Places that had power and could open (restaurants, supermarkets etc) were on a cash-only basis, while I have my own suspicion as to why, they said they were unable to process credit cards..which may or may not be the true story, but anyway, keep cash on hand!
  • Keep a car charger for your cell phone handy. For a while, it was the only way we could keep the iPhones up and running, which not only provided communication, but provided internet service as well. 
  • Invest in good lanterns and flashlights. Sturdy, reliable equipment you will rely on. My favorites are Surefire (Surefire G2x Tactical Flashlight - Black (Google Affiliate Ad)) and Mag Lite (Mag Lite 2 D Cell, LED Flashlight - Black (Google Affiliate Ad)) Keep lots of batteries on hand, because you wont be able to buy them when you really need them. Eveready Energizer MAX Alkaline Batteries, 9V,4/Pk - Alkaline (Google Affiliate Ad)
I realize the above is basic common sense, especially for anyone reading my blog because you're probably an outdoors-man or a prepper to start with. But we're far and few between in my neck of the woods, and the lack of common sense here baffles me. Hotels were booked the second power went out. People bitching they didn't have fresh batteries or even flashlights (HELLO??) 

Growing up with my Dad as the local fire chief and my Mom on the ambulance corps, made preparedness a way of life. I don't panic in an emergency, I respond with what needs to be done. A godsend this week was a small, portable battery operated scanner. I was able to monitor police and fire calls, and knew what was going on in my area. You'll have to print your local frequencies, but once done, you'll have them when you need them. My Dad, still an active fireman in his mid 70s, covered 68 calls in the first 24-hours of the storm. 

Powers back at my house but not everywhere. I have friends who are still waiting..some don't even have water at their house. My door is open to them and they know it. Here's hoping they're better prepared for next time.