In any hobby there are people with a lot of money that use their financial ability as a club to beat down ‘lesser’ hobbyists. It’s just as true in the gun community, but fortunately there aren’t that many of these folks and they are such obvious assholes that it’s easy to shrug and dismiss them.
But increasingly I am seeing seeing a more subtle divide. There’s a You Tuber I really like, but he seems to class anything that costs less than $800 as an ‘economy’ option. On social media I saw someone ask for suggestions for an economical rifle scope and most of the responses suggested scopes that start at $500-600, which is more than the individual payed for the gun in question. There are perfectly usable scopes that cost a hell of a lot less than that, they are just not likely to be as useful beyond a few hundred yards and are less likely to survive a direct hit by a nuclear weapon. Seriously, someone who wants a scope for a hunting rifle that will never shoot more than 150-200 yards NEEDS to spend $1000 for scope?!
OK, people are different and have different finances and standards. Understood. But what’s disturbing to me is the lack of empathy. I regularly see people suggest that someone buy hundreds of dollars for accessories even after a person has stated they are on a strict budget; it seems to be beyond their comprehension that someone might not be able to afford it. In some cases it’s worse than that; they seem to think the person ‘isn’t serious’ if they won’t scuttle their budget to buy something optional that exceeds the need.
The classic case is someone saying they need a defensive firearm and have a very limited budget. To me this means they can only afford to spend so much, and I assume that they know their finances better than I do. But every single time there are people that just have to say, ‘You should save your money and buy this thing that costs 150-200% of your stated budget.’ It never occurs to these folks that the person might actually know their own life well enough to know what they can genuinely afford.
Today I posted on social media that I didn’t want to spend hundreds on a gun that I had made clear I was pretty much indifferent to. One person said basically ‘You should just spend the money.’ It was like they didn’t even read the post. Jesus dude, I’m a self-employed partially-disabled vet; you think I can just shit money at will?! It was pretty obvious from his subsequent comment that he couldn’t comprehend that someone couldn’t simply spend any amount of money for anything they wanted. Oh, and if you read this and wonder if I am talking about you that means something even if I am not.
Not having tons of disposable income is not indicative of a character failing, and people still need stuff even if they aren’t rich. If someone is looking for a budget option it is perfectly reasonable to ask what their budget is if they don’t specify. It is NOT reasonable to simply ignore their budget and tell them to spend more money. Odds are if they could they wouldn’t be asking the damn question.
Seriously, if someone says ‘I need an inexpensive, reliable new car’ you don’t tell them to get a 7-Series BMW or a Porsche, do you? Because if you do you’re a dick. But I see people do this sort of thing all of the time with firearms related stuff. Sure, some of them are dicks and are deliberately doing it to be a jerk, That doesn’t bother me; there are always jerks. What disturbs me is the people that it never seems to occur to that this is unreasonable.
So try to pay attention and be a little more understanding, people. Don’t assume, ask questions if you need to and try to understand that not everyone is you, with your needs, wants, priorities and finances. If you can’t do that, if you cannot genuinely be helpful it is possible and better to just stay out of the way of people that can. Shut up and scroll down is actually an option. Try it some time.
Stay safe and take care,
Michael Tinker Pearce, 16 January 2023