Due to a set of strange circumstances, I was in a place I hardly expected to be on Saturday morning. I was at the Dallas Gun Show. I was surrounded by people I'd probably see together nowhere else, and I was seeing and smelling and hefting an amazing amount of death-dealing engineering.
I don't want to spark a gun-control debate, or a Second Amendment discussion. My interest, as always, was in the people behind the issues. Here are my observations: The huge hall was absolutely thronged with people and exhibitors, the crowd was probably 90% male, 90% Caucasian, and 50% (or more) over 40. There was also a heavy presence of law enforcement, and they weren't there to guard the exhibitors. They were there to buy.
Maybe I should have expected those statistics, but I didn't. The predominance of males, yes. But I didn't expect the overwhelming whiteness -- or maybe I should say grayness -- of the crowd. I'm still pondering that. I also noticed that the attendees were extremely courteous. I don't know if that's because we were in Texas, because of the age skew, or because it's smart to be polite around armed men.
And that led to another thought. There were a few police officers in the crowd who were there as security, no doubt about it. It struck me that it would take a complete and total idiot to attempt to rob someone at a gun show. Most of the exhibitors were armed, and I mean visibly armed. Anyone attempting to take down a dealer would have been Swiss cheese in a few seconds.
As we were leaving, a police officer who was there to buy (he had bags full of ammo) asked the man on the door how much longer he had to work. "The rest of the afternoon," the man replied.
"Just another day in paradise," said the policeman.
For me, it was a morning of immersion in another culture. I'd probably feel the same if I went to a polka festival or a Mary Kay sales meeting, though the fact that the common bond between the crowd members was firearms did color the event with darker hues. I learned quite a bit, and I got a lot of food for my brain. It'll be interesting thinking this over.