I've finally lived long enough to realize the truth in the saying that anyone can become a prophet in his own land if he can stay alive past middle age.
The great thing about gun shows is that they are the last bastion, the last gathering place, of a free people. You meet people there, chat with them, argue sometimes, shake hands and then you won't see them until the next time. Gradually, over the years, you grow a group of friends that you otherwise wouldn't have met.
And the thing about them, the thing that sets them above most of the rest of the folks you meet day-to-day is that they're FREE, and they don't give a hoot in hell what anybody thinks about them.
I ran into two such friends at the last gun show here in Birmingham. One, a longtime "pragmatist" that I had known for 15 years while fighting in the political trenches together (and with whom I had argued frequently with) came up to me and shook my hand. After the pleasantries he said: "You know, Mike, I always thought you were full of sh-t. The way you used to rave back when Clinton was in, you used to scare the hell outta me. Now, well, now I see you were dead right. We're going to have to fight these bastards." I nodded, shook his hand again, and said, "Welcome to the fight."
The other fellow I ran into was a retired Army officer who has a background of training indigenous troops overseas. We chatted a bit, musing on the political scene. Looking around at all the obvious newbies packing the show, he said, "I've trained troops on four continents, I guess I can train dumb Alabama rednecks. They're goin' to be comin' down out of the hills in a few months lookin' for someone to show 'em the difference between a muzzle and a buttplate." We both laughed.
I commented that neither he nor his buddies were overburdened with packages, unlike the rest of the folks at the busy show. "Hell, Mike," he said, "we're ready. We've been ready. We're just waitin' for the bastards to kill YOU." He threw back his head and roared. And after a moment, so did I.
Lord above, I love gun shows.