by Billy Roper

A Roper family outing may consist of going for a several mile long hike in the mountains, or a live country and folk music concert, or an outdoors shooting competition. Yesterday, we traveled to the next county over for an organized trap shooting tournament. Fifteen teams of five competitors each busted clay pigeons for most of the day in order to raise money for a scholarship program for rural school children. Yes, you know what “rural” means. Out of the over 200 people there including shooters and family and friends, there was only one visible nonWhite, a Mexican kid somebody had brought along to pick the lettuce out of their hamburger or something. Well, honestly, I don’t make light of even ONE nonWhite being present, that was one too many, and it’s not to say that everyone there shared out views, but many did, and the demographics gives you some kind of idea of the area where we live. It’s the kind of place where every business in town sponsors a shooting sports team for such an event, proudly displaying their signs, and many donate items for the silent auction or food for the cookout, but nobody protests the event or complains.

My wife Tina, who coordinates the Shield Maidens, is seen pictured with a 20 gauge Remington Flightmaster semi-automatic shotgun that’s well suited for trap shooting. Our kiddo scored the highest of any shooter on his youth team through both rounds of the competition, I’m proud to say. We have another shooting session scheduled for tomorrow.

Bear in mind that my name is very publicly known and many if not most of the people involved know who I am, yet they don’t run shrieking in terror when our family shows up. We aren’t blacklisted or shunned. I’ve been using the technique discussed in the ShieldWall Network program to make IRL connections with them, and others, throughout the surrounding communities. It’s working. I would never suggest that anyone else do something I’m not willing to do myself. So, spend time with your families in healthy, strengthening activities that also prepare them for what lies ahead, while humanizing and normalizing us to our neighbors. You’ll have fun and make new friends who will be much appreciated in times to come.