NRA vibe in Deep South
Finally! After years of hard work and negotiations I can proudly say that I’ve done a gig in Invercargill. It wasn’t easy. It costs more to fly down there than it costs to go to Australia (I ended up going through Queenstown). And don’t get me started on the venues. Too late! You got me started. The Invercargill Civic Theatre seats 1000 people. I don’t think there are 1000 people in Invercargill.
The Repertory Theatre was perfect – but they told me they were ‘‘booked out for the whole year’’. I drove past that night. It was closed. They really didn’t want me!
The Invercargill Brewery was going to do the gig, but it fell over because they don’t have a liquor licence. It’s a brewery! We literally couldn’t organise a p...-up in a brewery. Thanks to Suzie Q, a wonderful Spanish restaurant, for saving me. We had ourselves a show.
And what a show it was. About 15 minutes in, a large American car pulled up right outside the restaurant street front window I was standing in front of and Mayor Tim Shadbolt got out. He then came into the venue, past the stage to give me a copy of his book. It was off the hook.
But it was after the gig when things started to get really weird. I was cornered by a man who described himself as one of those ‘‘Trump supporters you were slagging off before’’
‘‘This will be interesting,’’ I thought. It was not. What I got was a passionate NRA supporter talking at me for seven minutes (I was checking the time on my phone) non-stop without me talking once. ‘‘This must be what mansplaining feels like,’’ I thought. ‘‘You can’t mansplain to me … I’m a man!’’
He told me that he was a ‘‘historian’’. That’s never a good sign. In 2017, if someone says they’re a historian and they’re not on stage at a university doing a lecture at that moment, or signing a copy of a book they have just written, published by a reputable publishing house … then run!
I’d barely said a word before he started telling me America didn’t need gun control. ‘‘Kiwis don’t understand American culture,’’ he lectured me. ‘‘Of course, shooting innocent civilians with military grade automatic rifles is a proud tradition,’’ I said. a heck of a lot more actual gun violence!?’’
I was getting annoyed. I couldn’t understand his perspective. Surely after tragedies like the recent shootings in Las Vegas most Kiwis would agree the US needs to limit the availability of automatic rifles? He disagreed: ‘‘More people died that day in road accidents in California!’’ What sort of weird argument is that? I’m not pro-road deaths, that’s bad too! It’s a separate issue! Was I going crazy? He may as well have said ‘‘Well, cancer is also bad.’’
I laughed when he talked about ‘‘mass knife stabbings in China being covered up by the anti-gun lobby’’. I cringed when he told me guns were needed to protect women, who are naturally attracted to alpha males who commit domestic violence.
I told him that I thought he was a ‘‘loony’’ and then immediately considered buying a gun to protect myself.
‘‘Don’t sink to personal insults,’’ he told me. ‘‘I don’t call you a leftie w.....!’’
‘‘You just did!’’ I replied. ‘‘No I didn’t!’’ He was quick as lightning. I guess he won that one. I’m just glad he didn’t shoot me. I really want to go back to Invercargill some time.
Anti-NRA protesters outside the National Rifle Association headquarters in Fairfax, Virginia, in July.