Analyzing guns, anger and authors

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By Mike Sherman
We have been writing about guns for several weeks now – the pros and cons of personal protection while traveling. Editor Chuck Woodbury has discussed gun-related matters, having focused on the issue of guns for sale in an RV magazine. And then there is the anger topic brought up recently: “What has happened to us that we are so angry?” Chuck talked about that back on March 30th. I thought it would be a good idea to take a closer look because I see a connection between the topics and your safety and security.

It is not difficult to see why Chuck’s observations sparked heated comments when he expressed his surprise at seeing weapons for sale in a Good Sam catalog. I guess a comparison would be entering Disneyland, and the very first concession for visitors is a beer booth. He was caught off guard, it was unexpected, just as beer being sold in Disneyland would catch us by surprise. As he declared right out of the gate: “First, no matter what your feelings about firearms – please understand that this story is not pro- or anti-gun.” I have re-read his opinion, and I don’t see any anti-gun stance. Anger at mass shootings, of course. But no call to outlaw guns. When Chuck asked me to write a weekly article centering on safety and security, he knew he was talking to a retired cop, and the articles would probably be pro-gun. If he was anti-gun, I doubt he would have called me.

Having followed this weekly newsletter for 25+ years now, I have seen the progression towards what some readers call “negative” articles. Some claim the articles are getting more and more downright depressing. What I have seen is Chuck writing about the trends in the RV industry. The level of honesty is simply pointing out the obvious: The RV lifestyle is in fact leaning towards a more negative experience for many RV owners, especially the old-timers.

Part of the problem is having history: If you are used to rolling into a campground and getting a nice site at will, then you know those days are evaporating. That’s not Chuck’s fault; It’s just a fact. If you are relatively new to this lifestyle, I can certainly understand why you might be a little discouraged reading negative articles. Factor in shady RV construction practices and the issue bubbles to the surface. It gets a lot of attention, and it should.


When we were kids it was tents in state parks. Running water at communal spigots was about as fancy as it got, except some did have showers. That was back in the ’50s. As the years clicked by, recreational vehicles started to become popular. Cute little things – 12′-18′ long. Imagine the joy at having your very own toilet!

Then they got bigger, and loaded with amenities that equal a high-end condo. When they went really BIG with slideouts, consumers started complaining that their campsite was too small, forgetting they were built for tents and small RVs, many years ago. So this weekly newsletter brings these changes into focus, and some blame the author for the growing negative aspects of RVing over what it used to be like.

Chuck has examined trends, brought forth products, and introduced us to experts in the industry that have been a blessing to those seeking improvements in their RV experience, be it for a weekend or 24/7/365. I have learned a lot about tires and water pressure and holding tank odors, and the list goes on and on. I’ve been able to purchase useful products at good prices (a digital thermometer, tire pressure gauge and water pressure gauge come to mind). The weekly newsletter has actually enhanced my RV experience.

Therefore I believe Chuck deserves a break on this gun thing. The good generated by his printed creation far exceeds any negatives, regardless of the topic. First Amendment benefits in full service here – that’s for sure – as he provides the forum for your input and opinion. He has opened doors for education and discussion, evidenced by the folks who responded to some of the gun issues I have addressed in past editions. I learn something new every Saturday. The readers are not a bunch of idiots: They are obviously educated and well-informed for the most part.

So you may be wondering what is the connection I mentioned at the beginning. How does all this factor into your safety and security? Well, you learned about options and opinions that you may not have been aware of last month, or last year. Guns and anger are connected when you think about it. There are crazy people out there angry at the world, or just plain evil or mentally deranged. All too often they surface, and create a little bit of hell on earth.

Through the opinions and polls in this newsletter, you have learned that anger, danger and fear are NOT a normal, routine part of the RV lifestyle. I would venture to say you are safer camping in a questionable “communal” campground for a night or two while traveling than you are living in parts of Chicago, for instance.

Nevertheless, there are dangers out there, no matter where you camp. Obviously, I endorse responsible gun ownership. Too many criminals out there are repeat offenders, released by a court system that has gone soft. Throw in the drug use influencing their actions and you have mayhem that shocks the consciousness of America. If for no other reason, I arm myself due to the ugly chemicals flowing through the veins of parolees.

Fortunately, my background, training and experience helps me sleep at night. I hope Chuck’s newsletter gives you insight and information that helps YOU sleep well at night. He and his staff are providing a valuable service to the RVing community.

Note: We know what we discuss in this column may be controversial. While we invite your polite, constructive comments, inflammatory remarks will be immediately deleted.

Mike Sherman is a retired street cop and investigator with 30+ years of RV experience as a traveler, camp host and all-around advocate for the joys of living on the road. His articles are for general discussion purposes only – you should always consult your local authorities or legal counsel for specific answers if necessary. Write him at MikeShermanPI@gmail.com if you have questions, or leave a comment below. 


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Ward
Ward

Interesting article. Alcoholic beverages have been available at Disney for quite some time. Anger and guns go together? Anger and printed words on a page also go together. For that matter anger and hammers, knives, billy clubs, billiard balls in tube socks, etc go together. When you leave that out of your article, it makes you sound a wee bit anti gun. But this doesn’t mean you are, it could just be an accidental omission! Words, automobiles, blunt objects get more people killed every year than guns. Preparation for anything in life is key. Be prepared to protect that life.… Read more »

Darrel
Darrel

Chuck still refuses to see that HE caused the uproar. And now you join him. Go look in mirror Chuck!

Sheridan
Sheridan

Oh please, Darrel, give it a rest!

Seann Fox
Seann Fox

I guess my problem with Chuck’s article is he is lambasting a legal law-abiding business for selling a legal product. I guess if you wanted to look at it another way I could lambaste chuck for you sing Facebook group video messaging since Facebook allowed foreign governments to interfere with elections using their platform. Where could this all end?

impavid
impavid

Nicely presented Mike. As a Canadian who winters in the U.S. and travels there from time to time during the summer, we are “aliens” when in your country and are not permitted to possess a firearm or even a bullet. There are many other alternative weapons, if you will, that we have at our disposal such as pressurized cans of bug spray or oven cleaner, a fire extinguisher or a hammer. Of those, the only one I keep handy is a fire extinguisher in case of fire. I’ve never felt uncomfortable or in danger in over 30 years of U.S.… Read more »

Vanessa Simmons
Vanessa Simmons

Bravo. I have had no problem with anything Chuck has written about. One reason is freedom of speech. Second reason is freedom of speech. Or maybe in this case freedom of the press. And the right to bear arms or not. To me camping is about freedom. To each his own as long as it doesn’t infringe on my freedom.

Fernwegh Ric
Fernwegh Ric

Well said. Thanks for perspective!

Marty Mapson
Marty Mapson

Nicely written, Mike. And to Chuck, love your site, great information. Keep it up.

Robbie
Robbie

We’ve been full timers for 13 years, and RV parks scare the heck out of us. We’ll stay in the boonies and let you all rob, shoot, and disturb each other.

Wolfe
Wolfe

Anyone who has taken kids to Disney knows that there *should* be a beer booth at the entrance… Beer is not bad until abused. Sound familiar?

Wolfe
Wolfe

I stand corrected! Disney (Florida) HAS sold beer at concession stands since 2012, and almost forever inside restaurants. There goes that metaphor…

Mike Sherman
Mike Sherman

You are correct Wolfe….Disneyland (California) has sold alcohol in their restaurants since they opened, but I think it was sorta kept under the radar for P.R. reasons.

Mike Sherman
Mike Sherman

I heard a U.S. Supreme Court judge once say “I like beer….do you like beer?”

Mel Feeley
Mel Feeley

I agree wholeheartedly. I’ve never had a house fire, or likely will, but I’ve always carried fire insurance. Because I believe in being prepared, just in case. The same reason to be trained and choose not to be a passive victim to violence if it comes calling.

Larry
Larry

Well said.

Claud Addicott
Claud Addicott

Thank you for writing this. One small nit pick, the ad for the guns did not appear in a Good Sam catalog, nor were the guns being sold by Camping World – as the misleading title of that editorial stated. They appeared in a small section of a Camping World catalog devoted to products sold by Gander Outdoors (formerly Gander Mountain). Gander selling guns is hardly surprising. Gander, Camping World, and Good Sam are all part of the same larger company. So, rather than your beer booth in Disney analogy, I’d say it’s more like seeing a poster for a… Read more »

Croscwa
Croscwa

Well said!