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An Open Apology to the Pensacola Kid

Mr Honorary Mayor?Yesterday I made an unfortunate comment on one of my sister’s Facebook posts. Perhaps you saw it. She posted a notice about a raffle in support of my 11-year-old nephew Mason’s candidacy for the ceremonial position of “Mayor” of Cottonwood, California. This is a fund raising campaign to benefit the Cottonwood Community Center. A very worthy cause. The raffle offers a chance to win a Smith & Wesson M&P SHEILD 40. This prize was donated on Mason’s behalf by a friend of his and his mother’s. A friend who is one of the generous men of that small town who have so selflessly stepped up to help fill the void left in my nephew’s life by the sad loss of his father. I know how deeply Rhonda appreciates and values these friends.

I made the poor choice to respond to Rhonda’s appeal in support of her son and the worthy cause with what amounted to a lecture. It was an inappropriate response, to say the very least. Rhonda deleted it, but unfortunately not before Mason read it. He thought I was mad at him and it hurt his feelings keenly. For this I am very and truly sorry.[1]

Here is a copy of the email apology I sent to Mason this morning. I want to share it here in public for any friends of Mason and Rhonda who may have been offended by my inappropriate response to the raffle appeal. In particular to the person making the $400+ donation to Mason’s campaign.

Mason, or should I say, Mr Honorary Mayor-elect (fingers crossed),

I am VERY sorry to know that what I wrote on Facebook was upsetting to you and your mom. I hope you will accept my apology. I am truly sorry! I love you both very much!

Let me try to explain myself. This is NOT and excuse and does NOT mean I am not really sorry.

First of all, I was NOT mad at you or your mom or the man who donated that gun for the raffle. It is hard to understand sometimes that adults can disagree about some things without being mad or angry with each other. It is also hard to know whether someone is angry when reading what he writes. When we listen instead of read, it is easier to know how someone really feels.

When I write about some things I care strongly about, I can seem angry. You would know I wasn’t angry if you heard me talking.

I DON’T think all guns are bad and I certainly don’t think all people who have guns are bad. MOST people who have guns are good. It is only the few people who use guns to hurt others and those who are not careful with guns that are a problem.

It is true that sometimes good people can make a mistake or forget to be careful with a gun and something terribly sad happens. This DOES NOT happen a lot. But it happens more often than it should and is each time a reminder to all good gun owners to be careful always.

You may want to be a hunter someday. My son-in-law Cole gets his buck every year and it feeds his family. I am proud of him. Kayli got her first buck last year and I’m proud of her too. I know they are both careful with guns and I would never try to tell them not to own guns.

It will be your choice someday to be a hunter or not to be a hunter. You can be a fine, strong man either way. Owning guns will not make you a real man. Not owning guns will not make you a “sissy” either. Being a good, strong man is A LOT more than that. I know your father Andy was a good strong man, and guess what? I don’t know whether he was a hunter or not and it doesn’t matter.

What I wrote about keeping a small pistol for self-defense is just my opinion. Good people have different opinions about this. I do believe that more tragic accidents happen with these not-for-hunting guns than bad guys get stopped with them. That’s why I am not a big fan. But, again, good people disagree with me. When you are an adult man you will have to decide this question for yourself. I know you will be a good man, and I will be proud of your decision.

When and if you decide to become a gun owner and hunter I would be honored to pay for your hunter’s safety course!

Know that I love you and your mother very much!

Love always,
Uncle Steve


  1. I want to state clearly and unequivocally that I stand by the view expressed in my post (reproduced below) that the ownership of this kind of weapon for personal protection is a bad idea. I went horribly wrong in posting it where I did, and my expressed wish to win it and “dispose of it” was an unnecessary and regrettable rhetorical flourish.

    I assume whoever wins that gun will have to pass a background check and qualify for a conceal-and-carry permit. I hope it goes to a responsible, stable person who remains in that happy state for as long as she/he owns it (and transfers it only to such a person). I also hope that no loved one of mine wins it, because any gun kept at home is many times more likely to kill its owner or a family member than an attacker of any kind. This statistic is MUCH worse for a pistol than, for example, a hunting rifle. And, though this is only a guess–I can provide sources for my preceding assertions–a pistol “the size of your hand” (from manufacturer’s ad) is unlikely to be used with accuracy beyond a VERY short range by anyone not exceptionally trained and skilled. Of course everyone buying or lusting after “protection” of this sort is an exception to the sad facts about its likely effectiveness. Those tragic accidents, suicides, and failures happen only to other people.
    Nevertheless and notwithstanding my pessimistic naysaying, please use our contribution (if our check arrives in time) to purchase raffle tickets. We would be delighted to win the drawing and to dispose of the gun. With love, your brother.

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