I can honestly tell you, as I now approach 50 years on the planet, I’ve had the opportunity to experience some pretty amazing and unique things. Some good, some really awful.
When I was a television anchor and reporter, I had the chance to fly with the Blue Angels. Won’t EVER forget that. As controversial as the wolf reintroduction to Yellowstone was (and still is), it was still pretty incredible to be in the enclosure the day they brought in a mother and her pups. We were allowed to film and even pet the wolf pups briefly. It was surreal.
I put on snowshoes and lugged about a hundred pounds of camera gear through the park a few months later to see the growth of the pups before they were finally released into the wild. I’ve witnessed catastrophic fires and tornadoes and told the stories of those impacted by the devastation. I covered many tragedies and triumphs. You learn to sort of balance it all. And fortunately for me, the good far outweighed the bad.
I’ve been trying to write this column for a few days now, struggling with what exactly I should write about in the midst of this current “unique” situation we find ourselves in. The global coronavirus situation is rather unlike anything I’ve experienced as of yet. On the one hand, I’m confident it will pass, and on the other hand, I understand the impacts may be felt for months or even years in some cases.
The U.S. is still on the front end of this pandemic, so it’s still pretty raw, and uncertainty abounds, as you can tell from watching the financial markets. But, canceling classes at all levels and shutting the doors on iconic events like the NCAA basketball tournament, or suspending the NBA, NHL and MLB seasons, or in our industry the unthinkable closure of such major outdoor events as the IWA show in Germany and now the NRA Annual Meeting, we’ve reached a point in time that’s unprecedented.
In the past week, I’ve seen a massive rush on toilet paper aisles and gun stores. Everyone seems to be scrambling to grab ahold of the smoke, only to find it’s disappeared. And that has them scrambling for something else.
In spite of it all, from everything I’m hearing, it’s very busy in our industry right now, though the virus situation is starting to have an outside impact on the workforce. At NASGW, we’ve asked our team not to travel and work from home. But many companies and offices do not have that luxury. I’m hearing that in some cases, workers are not able to make their shifts, or maybe prefer not to. But, for us to do what we do, it takes people actually in the warehouse, on the manufacturing floor, or making the sale at retail. It’s probably a little too soon to say yet how profound this virus will be on our distribution channel or the supply chain. But at least so far, it appears to be minimal, especially where guns and ammo are concerned, because the vast majority are made right here in the U.S.
So, what should we do? As silly and trite as this sounds, the only thing you can do – take it one day at a time.
Step by step, we’ll keep walking the path forward. This country, and in particular this industry, has incredible resiliency and capacity to overcome significant challenges. We as a collective group of outdoor enthusiasts are likely far more prepared to deal with situations like this than many of our neighbors, so we have an opportunity to lead by example and give help and guidance when and where it’s needed.
The coronavirus may be like nothing we’ve seen before. But the virus has likewise never encountered the heart and spirit of America. We’ll be on to better and more regular days soon. In the meantime, stay safe, stay healthy, and stay alert.
Until next time,