Appleseed Experience.

Went to first day of an Appleseed and didn't go back to the second day. I thought it was apolitical. Not my experience. For those who don't know, It's a program based on Liberty, Heritage, and Marksmanship. I knew that going in was fine with it--those values should be nonpartisan in America. I mean, saying you don't love Liberty, Heritage, and Marksmanship is like saying you don't love Jesus and apple pie (see where I'm going here?). While that motto has the potential to be a serious dog whistle, I figured I was just overthinking it and people here have had good experiences. So I went.

The rifle training was great, the history part was nice enough, and there were a lot of friendly folks there. But it opens with lots of, "The problem right now is not enough people love liberty." And that keeps going. ALL. DAY. LONG. It continues with, "If someone's liberty was being trampled today do you think you could muster even 1000 armed men to stand up for them? How about 100? How about 10?" Yeah, it was like that.

Training was good, so I stayed. You know, maybe I'm just overly sensitive. I mean maybe I just see dog whistles everywhere now and I'm paranoid. Yeah, no. Sanity check in the afternoon. Instructors and students held a nice big anti-vax / anti-mask echo chamber. I don't care what the students say--I brush that crap off all the time. But the leader? Made me start to wonder what "liberties" they're training to defend. I'm not sitting around for this. They got a piece of my mind.

So yeah, maybe it's just me, but I ain't going back. As always, your mileage may vary.

Re: Appleseed Experience.

Appleseed depends a lot on the volunteer instructors. Some of them are neutral, others not so much. But like any organization, it can always be taken over by fascists, like the NRA. It was initially an organization for marksmanship and gun safety, but today it’s nothing but a corrupt right wing setup.

My experience several years ago was completely neutral, but things may have changed. Too bad.
Glad that federal government is boring again.

Re: Appleseed Experience.

I'm sorry you had a bad experience. I went to an Appleseed event in Texas back in Feb 2020 and had a good time. I didn't really notice any politics being discussed, or at least none that was extreme enough to get my attention. I suspect that each Appleseed group is a little different in what they say.
89+ recreational uses of firearms
1 defensive use
0 people injured
0 people killed

Re: Appleseed Experience.

I've been to quite a few Appleseed and am just getting involved as a volunteer and will work my way up to instructor I am sure. For now I am an orange hat.

Appleseed has the goal of turning out better marksmen and better citizens. There are strict do not talk politics rules for those involved, but at the same time try to motivate people to get involved by voting, writing your politicians and even running for office. To sign up for classes there are statements like these:

"By checking this box, I certify all students I register are not affiliated with any group that promotes, supports, or encourages taking up arms against the citizens or government of the United States of America or any other form of armed insurrection."

The same is more true for volunteers and there is an interview process to weed out people with an agenda.

At least in Florida the instructors I have met are not radical right, but some are definitely trumpers, some like me are not.
Appleseed is constantly training volunteers and they want to have the volunteers pass on a sense of civic duty. It is hard to create a sense of urgency in this political climate without risking it sound like a call to arms, especially when at a rifle class and talking about our revolution.

I hope you just read into someone trying to be motivational and it wasn't someone trying to push an unspoken agenda.

Personally, I see the 2nd amendment as the safety net of the others and the sense of urgency is to defend the second amendment, not to fight each other.

But you can't say protect the 2nd amendment, because it turns into fight whatever political party is pushing gun control, and not apolitical.

I will say, that for many of the volunteers, being a motivational speaker, teaching or even reading to a class is not their strongest skill set. And, stressing the need to get involved without stepping on a political landmine is hard to do.
Old School
The best upgrade for you firearm is always instruction and practice.

Re: Appleseed Experience.

I was booked for Appleseed here in a couple of weeks. I had to ask for a raincheck, some family event came up, but now I'm wondering if I even want to go.
My hope was to get some marksmanship training and if they threw some history my was, fine.
Now I'm not sure I want to go at all.
If I want anit-vax, anti-mask and any number of conspiracy nonsense, I can just go hangout at any of my local gun clubs... plenty of hardcore RW there.

Re: Appleseed Experience.

I'm finding it VERY challenging being a gun nut these days. I'm a social kind of guy, I love guns and love to talk guns. But sooner or later they all want to talk nutcase politics. The vast majority of people who are really into guns...not just gun owners, but REALLY into guns...those people are by and large Trump supporters, and extremely conservative. And more than just a few are full on conspiracy nuts, and hate group members.

Getting hard to find a proper gun nut who isn't a right wing nut. I'm cool with conservative or right wing...just have a grasp on reality and we're good.
“I think there’s a right-wing conspiracy to promote the idea of a left-wing conspiracy”

Re: Appleseed Experience.

I'm sorry your experience was bad, Cooper. I've been considering the training at some point, in large part because of positive experiences mentioned on this forum. One of the reasons I own a 10/22. OTOH, I've been leery - similar concerns. Honestly, I'm not sure I enjoy rifle enough to really commit to it.

We can't let one party own guns. Period.

Re: Appleseed Experience.

I went to my first Appleseed this summer. Northern IL.

I didn't have the negative experiences that the OP had, and I'm sorry to hear that they had such a rough time.

It is true that there was a "we need to retain our 2A rights to remain free" and a "you are responsible for the liberty you want in this country" vibe, but the instructors remained apolitical - neither party was mentioned, mostly just the concepts I mentioned.

It's rare these days that those things are talked about, and I can see where context and wording could shift easily to feeling like a RWNJ vibe. What those words did do was give me an interest in learning more about the AWI (American War of Independence) in all of its messiness. "A People's History of the American Revolution" by Ray Raphael was eye opening in that regards.

I would love to recapture the words of liberty, patriotism and the like from the RWNJs. They're words that all Americans should be able to use without feeling like we're kowtowing to the Right.

Re: Appleseed Experience.

I have become an Appleseed volunteer and will become an instructor. I know we have plenty of Trump fans in South Florida, I'll make sure the Liberals are represented as well.

In the Appleseeds I have been to, the students included minorities, LGBT and others I suspect to be liberal as well. I don't recall anyone feeling unwelcome.

Since Appleseed is a good resource and would be a good way to introduce people to shooting I routinely tell people at the range about it and have seen many atend events. Appleseed is apolitical, if it dosen't feel that way in your area, I suggest considering getting involved. The more liberal volunteers and students we get, the better.

Perhaps we can help get groups of us to attend events so we have a support network.

If your area is too red, it would be great to have a bunch of us buy out the tickets and dominate an event.
Think Gay Days at Disney.
Old School
The best upgrade for you firearm is always instruction and practice.

Re: Appleseed Experience.

Oldschool wrote: Mon Oct 04, 2021 2:33 am ...

I hope you just read into someone trying to be motivational and it wasn't someone trying to push an unspoken agenda.

Oldschool, I really appreciate that you are getting involved. Maybe I'll buy a ticket and come down to your Florida Appleseed when I feel safe on a plane again (and when I'm not pissed off that Appleseed screwed with some of my valuable free time). Wife and kids can have beach time while I shoot. Anyhoo, here's the longer version of what happened at my Appleseed. I wrote this after waking up the next morning then decided not to post it because it was so long (like that's ever stopped me before!):
Lots of support here for Appleseed, so I went to one this weekend with the impression that it was apolitical. Everyone else's experience may vary, but mine was such that I'm not going back today. I'd been looking forward to this for a long time, and I'm disappointed. The rifle training was great. Good camaraderie. We had a morning of rifle teaching and range time, then sat under the trees and ate our packed lunches while the instructor gave history lessons. Overall a great way to spend an autumn Saturday. At this point, I'm thinking "Hell, I'm making this an annual thing."

Afternoon continued the same way. More great instruction and range time. Another history lesson under the trees. I'd been ignoring the little COVID-19 mask and immunization comments from instructors and students. At lunch, it had veered off far and one student declared: "It's about personal freedom." Met by general approval. I politely kept my mouth shut, specifically engaged in other conversations to maybe send out a dog whistle of my own that maybe we could talk about shared interests instead.

The lunch history lesson ended with a formal assertion by the lead instructor that there are not enough liberty-loving Americans anymore and that's why we're in trouble. (He had opened the day with a similar comment that I shrugged off.) That felt like it was moving from history towards some pretty sketchy dog whistling. I let it ride. I mean, I'm a liberal at a gun event, so I expect to shrug off a lot of crap. Plus, their motto is "Liberty, Heritage, Marksmanship," and their logo is a Minuteman (similar to our old one), so you've got to expect a little of that, right?

It went downhill for me late afternoon. Big conversation going on as I came back from the port-a-potty (for the nth time, damn prostate). As I get closer, I hear that it's a big anti-vax / anti-mask echo chamber (instructors and students). I pass on by, mind myself, and make small talk with someone else while we wait for instruction. Then the instructor goes into, "I ask maskers why they wear a mask, and they say to protect you and me. So I say, I carry a concealed firearm to protect you and me. Why don't you carry a firearm?" General congratulatory backslapping ensues. Yes, owning the libs at its finest.

You might say my "third match" was struck at that point. See, I'm a physician working my way through another COVID-19 surge, and I'm exhausted. (You may be unaware, but resources are stretched MUCH more thin in some regions this time around.) So I let the instructor and the rest of the group know what I do for a living, how many unnecessary deaths I've witnessed, and how lonely a COVID-19 death in the hospital is. I told him that the colonists didn't succeed because of a pure love of liberty. They succeeded because of extraordinary communal efforts rooted in mutual reliance and support of a common cause. I doubt I was very eloquent, and I certainly dropped a couple of F-bombs along the way.

Anyway, we return to shooting. During a break, one guy quietly thanks me for speaking up. The rest of the afternoon is pretty quiet and we all go our own ways. One guy catches me in the parking lot, and apologizes for offending me. "I assumed everyone here is a conservative," he says. Nice guy, we'd been a little chatty and chummy all day. "No hard feelings. Thanks for apologizing," I say. So he doesn't keep making the same assumption, I also let him know that there are many liberals who believe the Bill of Rights is a liberal document--with all of its amendments.

I intended to go back this morning, but this morning I woke up and decided I cannot support this group. I'm spending some time with my wife and daughter, then going squirrel hunting instead.
I'm a little sensitive to this particular issue, I'll admit, but this really crossed a line in my opinion. I actually think if a random person said that (the bolded quote above) to me while I was wearing a mask, it could be borderline threatening. But then again, I'm probably just a fragile snowflake.

I urge everyone to read CDFinger's excellent treatise on liberty vs. freedom, posted elsewhere on this forum. He says what I'm trying to say a lot better. I'll try to figure out how to link to it from here.

P.S. Appleseed instructor has since sent an apologetic email and invited me back. That was very decent of him.

Re: Appleseed Experience.

I've been doing Appleseed for a while, so although I haven't been a volunteer before, I am surrounded by familiar and friendly faces. We never talked politics at Appleseed of course, so I could only guess if I was the only liberal in the group.

The volunteers keep in touch on WhatsApp and I noticed the occasional anti Bidden memes so I outted myself as a liberal and held my breath....

For about 10 seconds until the group made it abundantly clear they didn't care, and the group was a mix of and welcomed all good Americans.

The volunteers tend to camp out or someone opens their house so there will be time to chat politics around campfires and we will benefit of having diverse views to consider. I think this is about the most American thing any of us can do. We will certainly not agree on everything, but we will be friends all the same.

I am even happier with my decision to get involved, good people.

Appleseed is a small community, if anyone wants to attend and is worried about not feeling welcome at any event, anywhere please reach out to me. Perhaps we can get you and the shoot boss communicating before you sign up to feel more at ease.
Old School
The best upgrade for you firearm is always instruction and practice.

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