Remember a few years back when a news story made a splash about a family leaving a nasty-gram on their credit card receipt to the non-heterosexual person who served them in the restaurant? The story went viral, and a huge go-fund-me campaign raised many thousands of dollars for that waiter who was deemed a victim. The problem was that the family whose credit slip was bandied about the news had kept their own copy of their credit slip, and they did not, in fact, write the nasty message at all. It turned out that the waiter had written the disparaging remarks herself.
Welp. When I read the story in the Dallas Morning News on Saturday that some NRA attendees had been in Ellen's Cafe in Dallas and made vile, racist comments about the waitstaff and kitchen help, I thought immediately that this sounded wrong. I've been to NRAAMs before, and I know these crowds to be the most civil, courteous, and orderly crowds I've ever seen, so it rang false for me that someone went to the trouble of coming to Dallas for the NRAAM, only to be abusive of staff in a local restaurant. In fact, when I attended NRAAM in St. Louis in 2012, some of the custodial staff for the St. Louis facility told one of my party that they loved the crowd of this convention, because things were not torn up, and we didn't leave a lot of garbage behind. They specifically mentioned that we were the only crowd that didn't leave random beer bottles of urine around the place. So, yes, when the people who do the nitty-gritty of maintenance and clean-up after an event say that your crowd is good people, you can rest assured they are not embroidering on the truth.
In short: I didn't believe the restaurateur's claim that NRA members came in to his business speaking loudly and in offensive terms. It sounded made up to me, but I was also open to the possibility that there are outliers who are the bad eggs in the bunch of the NRA crowd. Something can be A truth about a member of a group that is not THE truth of all members of that group. Turns out that the owner of the cafe telegraphed his intentions more than a month before the convention. Even so, I do hope that no one attending the convention would have said the things he claims they did.
I won't be going to that restaurant, ever. I wish no ill upon the owner, Joe Groves, honestly. I think the best hope for American society is for people to learn how to get along, and I think this man has probably been dealing with a raft of blood-pressure-spiking stress for the past 48 hours and for the foreseeable future. I hope he learns a lesson. I am not piling on, here, and I hope that no one will read this post and go heap more scorn on someone, even if they have earned some contempt. My greater point is that people need to be held accountable so they can recognize when they have been wrong, but there needs to be a resolution that is not merely his opponent caving in. He needs to do some serious soul-searching and realize that he made his own problem, and that maybe, just maybe, the NRA members are humans, too, who deserve to live life as they see fit, and that everyone doesn't have to agree on every little detail.
He has no business dictating the diminution of rights to which I am Constitutionally guaranteed. He and others who share his view that his deception was justified need to grow up and realize that other people have rights and valid reasons for their own points of view. I also celebrate his right to his own viewpoints, up until the point that he knowingly disparages a person or group of people to make political points. Then again, maybe he would prefer the type of patron who leaves beer bottles of urine on the premises of his business. It's a free county.