as i mentioned in an previous post, i was going to tell you about my run-in with the nra. okay, maybe not so much the nra itself, but some dood who's on a power-trip.
now let me start off by saying that i'm not against the nra. to be honest, i'm probably ambivalent about them - and it's probably my ignorance that makes me ambivalent about them. sure, i think people have the right to keep and bear arms. but i also believe a private individual doesn't need some high powered, automatic military weapon capable of wiping out six hundred people stashed under their bed.
now that we have that out of the way, let me explain how i came upon my encounter with ego-trip man. just for clarification, the dulles expo center has (at least) two buildings. this particular day, a bike show was going on in one building while a gun show was going on in the other. while i was at the bike show, i had to hit the atm machine. the atm in the building i was at was out of order. so i headed over to the other building - where the gun show was going on. i get to the other building and see they're selling tickets to get in. instead of just walking up to the entrance doors, i get in line to talk to the ticket guy. as i'm waiting my turn, i read a sign full of rules - no loaded weapons, no this, no that, no cameras. guess what?? i have my camera. it's finally my turn to talk to ticket guy. i explain that i just want to go in to use the atm, i don't plan on attending the show. he says no problem, just tell that to the people guarding the door. then i explain i have my camera and ask if he thinks that will be a problem. he says no, it won't be, just tell the people guarding the door. (btw, guarding the door is my phrase, not his.) so i head for the door. as i walk in, i scan the room for the atm. it's to the right, about 20 yards away. i tell someone that i just want to use the atm, i talked to ticket guy and he said it would be no problem. they say sure, go ahead. i then tell them that i have my camera and just wanted to let them know so that there wasn't any problem. oops... they say i have to talk to one of the other guys guarding the door. you guessed it, i have to talk to ego-trip man. he's busy flexing his power rifling through someone's gun. i'm sure he's making sure it's not loaded, that it meets the necessary requirements to be brought into the building. after he's done with the guy, i approach him, tell him i i'm only there to use the atm, i've talked to ticket guy, junior guard on the other side and was told to talk to him. i finish up by saying i have my camera. mistake. this puts his powers into overdrive. immediately he says i can't bring a camera into the building. i told him i was aware of that, but i just wanted to use the atm, i would be happy to remove the memory chip, the battery, leave the camera with him, whatever. i said i wasn’t there to attend the show, i just wanted to use the atm. like the dolt that he was, he just repeats i can't bring the camera into the building. i said i realized that. he responds by asking why we're having this conversation?? i said that i was thinking he might be reasonable and we might work out a compromise so that i could use the atm. nope, ego-trip man was too busy flexing his power. he tells me he's too busy to watch my camera and that cameras aren't allowed in. well, i wouldn't let it go, i just stood there "discussing" it with him. after a couple minutes, he finally decided it would be okay if i left my camera on the table where he was standing while i used the atm. the only thing i can figure is he realized i wasn't going away and there was probably a line of victims forming behind me. of course before i set my camera down, i removed the memory chip. i don't know why, probably a gesture to show that i was sincere in trying to be honest. i headed over to the atm, took out my money, picked up my camera and was out of there in less than two minutes - once i got past ego-trip man.
as i was walking away, all i could think about was how this incident just reinforces the notion that the nra are just a bunch of gun toting boneheads. here i was trying to be upfront and honest. ego-trip man had a bad attitude and he was only there to enforce the rules. i know, i know, rules are in place for a reason. but i wasn't interested in breaking the rules, i was interested in a compromise so that i could use the atm without breaking the rules. i could have just as easily, no, more easily walked into the building with my camera, not saying anything and gotten away with it. i was tempted to walk back to ego-trip man and tell him that i saw a couple people stuffing cameras in the pockets, trying to sneak them in. i'm sure they would have put the place in lock down. but, i had better things to do; i had a bike show to get back to.