Author Topic: Packing at the holiday dinner.  (Read 6451 times)

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VltGrantham

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Packing at the holiday dinner.
« on: November 26, 2012, 11:31:38 AM »
I'm prepared for general wackiness when it involves family, but Thanksgiving sorta took us by surprise this year.

A relative of ours, Jack, showed up sporting a side-arm at Thanksgiving dinner this year.  He is not a police officer or in any job that involves him having to carry a weapon.  One of our Uncles asked "is it really necessary to bring that in the house?" and he replied "I have to protect my family."  We do not live in a dangerous area.  They did not have to commute through back-country to get here--they live in the next town over.  To my knowledge no one has been threatening them.  I don't know if he was expecting someone to try and break in and make off with the turkey or what.

What really concerned us is the fact that Jack is an arrogant, loud-mouthed, show-off and I could just see him taking the weapon out and/or playing around with it.  Sure enough, after dinner, as soon as one of the kids showed interest in it, he took it out and began showing it off, talking about how it was loaded, etc.  It was then that DH and I took our leave, cutting our visit very short.

Both DH and I were raised around weapons, to have a healthy respect for their care and use, and to handle one safely.  We own one--but it's securely locked up.  We both have carry permits, but rarely make use of them.  And neither of us have ever taken one to someone's home--excluding my Uncle's hunting cabin, where of course he knew we were bringing it.  Even there, we weren't wearing them at the dinner table!

Since the house wasn't ours, we didn't feel like we could say much, if anything--but Jack's attitude is what is really concerning us both.  If this is going to be a habit of his, we won't be attending any future get togethers because we don't trust in Jack to safely handle the weapon or control himself.  In addition to his other qualities, he's can be a nasty drunk and we are fairly sure he's abusing his wife, if not physically, certainly emotionally.  (We have always told her that if she ever needs anything we would help her all we could, but other than encouraging her, we haven't been able to do much to help her.)  The fact that he now has a weapon, is really concerning to us both--for her and the kids safety, as well as our family when they're around him.

Would it have been o.k. for DH or I to have said something even though the house wasn't ours?  We both felt, afterwards of course, that maybe if one of us had spoken up in addition to what my Uncle said that either they would have left or Jack would have had to return the gun to his car for the duration of the time they were there.  Is it normal for anyone to come to a holiday table wearing a weapon?  Would it be rude if we had taken our leave then?

Yvaine

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Re: Packing at the holiday dinner.
« Reply #1 on: November 26, 2012, 11:39:08 AM »
I initially read that as "pecking" at the holiday dinner and was ready to post a "poor thing, maybe s/he just wasn't feeling well that day!" :-[

Jack sounds scary. Him suddenly deciding he needs to "protect his family" at the dinner table makes me wonder about his mental stability, to be honest. That's a normal reason to get a gun, but not a normal reason to openly brandish it, loaded, at dinner! And it doesn't sound like he was careful enough around the kids with it, either. Coupled with the fact that you suspect him as an abuser and he seems like a creep and a half.

I'm not sure if you could have said something once Uncle (albeit grudgingly) allowed the gun, but I don't blame you a bit for leaving, and I wish there was something that could be done for his wife.

Sharnita

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Re: Packing at the holiday dinner.
« Reply #2 on: November 26, 2012, 11:40:45 AM »
Well, I know a couple police officers who might wear theirs. SOme people might have permits to carry concealed and I suppoes it is possible I havne't noticed a weapon because they haven't made it obvious. But in general - no, I don't think it is obvious in the circumstances you describe. In dangerous areas it might be different. I am not rabidly anit-gun and I understand people who feel the need to defend themselves but I can understand the fact that this vibe is disturbing. I think I might excuse myslef ASAP and then decline to attend events he will be at.

rashea

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Re: Packing at the holiday dinner.
« Reply #3 on: November 26, 2012, 11:41:48 AM »
I don't think the issue was that someone was carrying at the family dinner. I think the issue is that someone who is known to not be responsible was carrying. If he had been responsible about it none of you would likely have known. But, if he's showing it off and showing it to children, that's not a good sign. I don't know that you can say anything when it isn't your house, but you can certainly let people know you are not comfortable with having him carrying while you're around.
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VltGrantham

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Re: Packing at the holiday dinner.
« Reply #4 on: November 26, 2012, 11:43:03 AM »
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I wish there was something that could be done for his wife.

We do too and if anyone has any advice on that score, I'll be glad to listen.  We both feel helpless about that situation.

Hopefull

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Re: Packing at the holiday dinner.
« Reply #5 on: November 26, 2012, 11:49:55 AM »
It would have been a bit odd to me if he had to keep his weapon with him at the dinner table. With the background you provided it seems he may have been trying to seem like a tough guy and wanted people to know it. But that is just what I think.

We have a friend who works in a law enforcement field. He travels to see us from several states away and is required to carry. He has never worn his firearm to our dinner table. There really is no need for him to carry while at our dinner table.

If it is someone elses house you really can't dictate what people do. All you can do is what you did. Leave. But you can tell the one who hosted why you left. Maybe if they plan to host this man again they can make clear that he needs to leave his firearm at his house or in the car. Maybe he wont' come at all if that restriction is placed on him.
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Yvaine

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Re: Packing at the holiday dinner.
« Reply #6 on: November 26, 2012, 11:52:09 AM »
There really is no need for him to carry while at our dinner table.

I suppose there's the possibility that the turkey might rise as a zombie. Other than that, I got nothin'.

Free Range Hippy Chick

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Re: Packing at the holiday dinner.
« Reply #7 on: November 26, 2012, 11:52:40 AM »
OK, I'm British so this is an argument we generally don't get, because our gun laws aren't like yours but... Safety trumps etiquette, right? I wouldn't actually have cared if he had been a police officer - the moment that turned up at the table I would have been heading through the door. Even if somebody had persuaded me to stay, the moment a child was involved in being shown the gun, I would definitely have been lifting my coat, same as you.

As to whether or not you could say anything... I would be inclined to say yes, but what you could say largely escapes me. With hindsight, then yes, if you had agreed with your uncle, perhaps Jack would have backed down or left. If not, I don't think you would have been out of order to say 'I'm sorry, Party-Host, but I'm not comfortable at something that involves firearms at a private family party. We'll see you another time.' I certainly think you wouldn't be out of order now, after the event, to contact Party-Host, express that you were surprised, disturbed, whatever other words come to you, and that in future, if such a thing happens you will, regretfully, take your leave immediately.

Judah

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Re: Packing at the holiday dinner.
« Reply #8 on: November 26, 2012, 11:58:48 AM »
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'I'm sorry, Party-Host, but I'm not comfortable at something that involves firearms at a private family party. We'll see you another time.'

I think this is the most you could say.  If the party hosts are fine with Jack carrying in the house, it's not your place to say anything. That doesn't mean you have stay.

The vast majority of my friends and relatives own firearms, and many of them have CCW permits, but if anyone has ever brought one into a home I've never seen it. In my experience, people leave their guns in their car when they go someone else's house. 
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VltGrantham

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Re: Packing at the holiday dinner.
« Reply #9 on: November 26, 2012, 12:01:29 PM »
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I suppose there's the possibility that the turkey might rise as a zombie.

LOL!  It's funny that you said that though.  DH said he thought Jack had either been watching way too many episodes of "The Walking Dead" or he'd just come from seeing "Red Dawn."

He also said he was tempted to strap a battle axe to his back at the next family gathering.  Maybe it would start a new family tradition.  Grandma could yell at us to take our bows off the table like in "Brave".

Deetee

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Re: Packing at the holiday dinner.
« Reply #10 on: November 26, 2012, 12:02:19 PM »
If someone had shown up with a handgun I would have been very uncomfortable. If they started showing it to the kids I (and my family) would have left, especially if loaded.

This is a topic that people have strong opinions so let's not get into whether bringing a loaded handgun to the dinner table is a wrong thing to do or not. However, I think we can agree that because people do have strong opinions, leaving is not an overreaction because safety trumps etiquette can cover (in my my mind) physical safety and mental well being and emotional well being.


 

Yvaine

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Re: Packing at the holiday dinner.
« Reply #11 on: November 26, 2012, 12:03:45 PM »
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I suppose there's the possibility that the turkey might rise as a zombie.

LOL!  It's funny that you said that though.  DH said he thought Jack had either been watching way too many episodes of "The Walking Dead" or he'd just come from seeing "Red Dawn."

He also said he was tempted to strap a battle axe to his back at the next family gathering.  Maybe it would start a new family tradition.  Grandma could yell at us to take our bows off the table like in "Brave".

OK, now that would be hilarious.

Sharnita

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Re: Packing at the holiday dinner.
« Reply #12 on: November 26, 2012, 12:06:52 PM »
Well the point of a CCW is that you can keep it concealed uness you need it so if somebody felt the need to get it out I would be taken aback.  As far as police officers, They wear theirs holstered so you might see a tiny bit of the butt  and the holster but it is safely stored.  They would have no reason to get it out to show people either.  depending on if they are traveling I could understand carrying it secured and put away in that way as opposed to leaving it in a hotel room or evne in a car unattended for fear somebody could somehow lay hands on the weapon.  But getting out the gun/showing it off would definitely cause me alarm.

LeveeWoman

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Re: Packing at the holiday dinner.
« Reply #13 on: November 26, 2012, 12:12:56 PM »
There really is no need for him to carry while at our dinner table.

I suppose there's the possibility that the turkey might rise as a zombie. Other than that, I got nothin'.

Its head already was gone.

VltGrantham

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Re: Packing at the holiday dinner.
« Reply #14 on: November 26, 2012, 12:14:05 PM »
If Jack was a police officer, I'd have no issue with it at all.  We have friends that are police officers and I know they're required to carry.  However, to be honest, I have never seen their weapons when they are carrying, unless they're in uniform.  I once saw one's when he bent over to pick something off the floor and his jacket flipped up and you could see the gun in the holster on his back.  That was it.

And if DH had done it, I would have thought it was beyond tasteless-but that's just me.  Unless we really are in danger of zombies breaking in at any moment, under threat of incoming invasion, or someone's being stalked, I see no reason for it.  Still, I could make allowances.

It's Jack's personality and his need to prove his machismo that concerns us the most.  In hindsight, DH and I also felt like if we left, said/did nothing, and somebody was harmed, we'd hate ourselves for not speaking up in the first place.