I’m not sure who said it, or said it first, but maybe you’ve heard the phrase about noise being like a stench in the ear. When you smell something bad, you know it. When things are noisy, it’s not a lot different. In fact, if you look in the mirror, you probably have a similar facial expression when confronted with either.
From the time we wake up to our alarms, until the time our head hits the pillow each night (and frankly sometimes even through the night), we’re inundated with noise. Some good, like the sound of good music, the trickle of a stream, rain on the roof or the sounds of laughter in the yard. Some not so good, like the sounds of traffic, annoying music from your neighbor’s yard or your kids bickering in the basement with their online gamer buddies. Noise of all sorts permeates our lives.
When my kids were younger, there was a lot of noise in my house. In fact, pretty much any Gleason family gathering consisted of lots of noise. When I began to work out of a home office, now almost 20 years ago, the days the kids were in school were a dream come true. But when the kids were home on break, well let’s just say there was noise, and then there was the noise I’d make when the kids wouldn’t listen or behave while I was on work calls. And for a guy with a background in TV, radio and theater productions, I know how to project that noise quite well. My kids are probably scarred for life.
On the flip side, there were times when I was pretty darn good at tuning that noise out. Just ask my wife. I used to tell her it’s because I was so focused on my work, I just couldn’t hear the kids screaming bloody murder. She insisted, and still to this day, accuses me instead of practicing “selective listening.” She’s probably not entirely wrong. Looking back now, I can see why she’d be angry. She just wanted a little break from the noise as well.
To that end, sometimes the best noise, is the sound of silence.
But sometimes, the best noises are like the ones I just heard at the NRA Annual Meetings (NRAAM) in Indianapolis this past weekend. Because of COVID, or a schedule that conflicted with NRA events, I’ve not been to NRAAM since 2019. I know that NRA, like all the rest of us, has suffered from lower attendance and participation. But if you ask me, I’d say things were pretty much back to normal this year. The noise on the show floor was music to my ears.
Truth be told, I wasn’t going to attend this year. It’s been a busy travel year for me, and I’ve got a lot of travel and events on the calendar over the next few weeks as well, so it was a little bit of a stretch. In short, I’m super glad I went.
Why? Well, because right now in our world, in our country, in our hometowns – we’ve got a lot of “noise” distracting us from what we do. It’s easy to get caught up in that noise and let it impact us in negative ways. The political and cultural challenges we face in this country can easily get you down, can weigh on your mind and on your emotions. It builds anxiety and tension.
However, being on the show floor in Indy, with people from all walks of life, with people from all colors of the spectrum and all socio-economic backgrounds, I found peace. Moreover, I found joy. It was amazing to have an opportunity to spend time with old friends and to be introduced to quite a few new ones. All of it, blended together, created a sense of harmony and I walked around with a pretty big grin. I had fun.
I also found reassurance that if we stick together, things are going to be alright. We weren’t divided or distracted by the outside noise, we were making our own noise – that of tens of thousands of Americans who believe in and care about the 2nd Amendment, who believe in and care about our inherent right to protect and defend our families.
Noise can be distracting. It can pierce our minds and deflect us from our purpose. But only if we let it.
This week I’ll once again be making noise, joining together with colleagues from across the industry as we descend upon Washington, DC, for the annual National Shooting Sports Foundation Congressional Fly-In. There’s plenty of noise in the Halls of Congress, but we’ll do our best to make sure the message we carry is the best kind of noise.
When we come together, when we collectively join our voices, we are a force to be reckoned with. Let’s keep making noise folks, let’s be so loud we can’t help but be heard.
Thanks for all you do to make our industry the greatest to work in. Thanks for what you do to make your voice heard about the importance of our 2nd Amendment rights. It’s going to take all of us, standing strong… and staying noisy.
Until next time,