Being a women’s shooting chapter leader, I have found myself in the midst of an incredibly huge and very public movement. Fellow leaders have been subjects of newspaper articles, TV news segments, documentaries, etc. I’ve always avoided any publicity though, preferring to work under the radar. I never sent out a press release for my chapter, never invited any media and never allowed myself to be around any of it. I didn’t really have any deep objection to it but I’ve had some personal circumstances and plans in the works in which I felt it best that any publicity of a controversial nature be avoided. And 2A rights are certainly controversial these days. I think we all know I’m not shy and I don’t mind public speaking when I have my thoughts organized. I don’t mind people in general knowing how I volunteer much of my time. I was just never comfortable with the idea of real publicity.
I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase, “You plan and God laughs?” That’s been my experience lately. I was contacted a few weeks ago completely out of the blue by a reporter at the Marietta Daily Journal asking for a quote. The story was supposed to be about a recent attempt of the “knock-out” game. Keeping in mind my “no publicity” stance, I initially wasn’t going to respond. Then I thought, what’s the harm. It’s one quote in a small paper. Small stuff and it would be there and gone, quickly. So, I offered my quote.
And from there, it grew. The reporter then came back and asked me for a photo of myself or of my group. I sent her a photo of my group on the line at the shooting range, from behind. I’m careful to protect the privacy of my ladies. Her editor wanted something different. So they asked me to meet for some photos to be taken. And the reporter couldn’t verify the “knock out” game attempt. So, she asked me more questions. And it just got away from me. Next thing I knew, I was on the front page of the Marietta Daily Journal with an entire article about me. I didn’t even know it was on the front page until a few people in one of my church groups mentioned it. I had not even gotten a copy of the paper.
I was a little mortified. It was way more than I was expecting. I wasn’t mad with the reporter. While she was not quite educated on 2A and gun matters, she wasn’t unfriendly toward them and nothing occurred to which I had objected. Maybe I was a little naive with regards to my expectations but that’s on me. So, I chalked it up to a cool article which would hopefully die down quickly.
But, you see, I have this thing about being opinionated. And being vocal. Which would soon put me on the local news. My House Committee testimony on HB 875 earned me a spot on the evening 11Alive newscast:
I had no idea about this either until a friend messaged me and asked me for my autograph. I guess I should have expected it was a possibility but it just really didn’t occur to me that I would garner any attention other than from those present at the hearing. I was also quoted in the Atlanta Journal and Constitution.
Three news outlets in less than two weeks. I could hardly believe it. And the first article had nothing to do with the other two appearances. The last two happened to be two news outlets in the same room covering the same story and they both somehow chose to include me.
Of course, in this age of social media and given that HB 875 is a hot potato topic right now, coverage spread. I ended up on others’ personal blogs, Facebook pages, forums, etc. I’ve been recognized by a couple of people I don’t know…someone I bought a vehicle from and a store cashier. Nothing major, but it still felt strange. I don’t know how famous people keep their sanity. Oh, that’s right…they don’t. Nevermind.
I spent some time a little freaked out over the whole thing. I had no reservations whatsoever over my efforts in helping HB 875. It was just that whole media thing.
So when a local FOX reporter most recently contacted me wanting to do a story on me, I declined. I actually tried to pass it on to a fellow chapter leader and friend but she specifically wanted me. Still, I declined. I was overwhelmed and freaking out a little and concerned with how all this publicity may affect my aforementioned personal circumstances.
But, you know what? It doesn’t matter. My husband helped me realize that I need to do what’s important to me and embrace opportunities which help further the causes which are important to me. As far as the publicity and my personal circumstances go, it will be what it will be. Some people will love it and others will hate it and I cannot control that. I can’t worry about it too much. I especially can’t worry too much over something which may or may not even happen regardless of whether I find myself in the public eye over controversial issues such as the Second Amendment and civil rights.
So, I’m choosing to embrace it. I’m not going to be soliciting any media attention (I’m not embracing it THAT much) but I’m not going to work so hard to actively avoid it. Que sera, sera. I will do my thing and be myself and anyone who cannot accept that can just move along. I’ve been concerned with the possibility of not being acceptable as a result of the things which are important to me when I should be more concerned that if someone cannot accept me without judgement of the things which matter to me, then perhaps they are not acceptable to me.