There's a convenience store not too far from my house. It's also not far from a gym I frequent.
The name of this convenience store is not important for the terms of this column, but it's sufficient to say I used to do a fair amount of trading there. It was especially handy after a vigorous workout at the gym. I could pop in, grab a drink or snack, and undo an hour's worth of exercise in just a few minutes.
One day I walked into my favorite convenience store and there was a large handgun display right by the front counter. I asked about the gun display and was told by the friendly clerk it was new to the store. When I asked if the display was permanent, she smiled and told me it was.
That was the last time I bought anything from that convenience store. That's been, to the best of my memory, about two years ago. I can say with absolute honesty I never plan to buy anything there again.
The fact I no longer shop at what was once my favorite store is my form of protest. I have no desire to see an arsenal of handguns on my way to buy Gatorade. I think buying a handgun should be a little more difficult than, say, buying a bag of chips. That's just me.
I realize this boycott has amounted to absolutely nothing, but if 50 steady customers were to share my beliefs it would make an impact.
My little protest may not seem like a rational move to everyone, but if there's one thing I've learned it's that you can't tell folks how they "should" feel. There may be one correct answer to a math problem, but there's no instruction manual about how we should react to everything that hits us in life.
A perfect example is the NFL protests taking place during our national anthem. Some people see this and view it as a stab at America, an insult to our troops.
I see these protests as our greatest freedom. To be able to express an opinion while our national anthem is performed is one of the gifts which separates America from the rest of the world. I see it as the ultimate form of liberty, although that is a minority opinion in Warren County.
However, free speech doesn't come without consequences. I've heard several people say they're done with the Titans or they're done with the NFL because of the national anthem protests. If you feel that strongly, that's the perfect way to let your voice be heard.
Don't buy an expensive Titans ticket. Don't pay for a ridiculously priced Coke at the stadium. Don't shell out $40 for parking.
The players absolutely have the First Amendment right to peacefully protest as they please, even if it is during a very patriotic moment before the game. Likewise, the fans have the right to stay away and not support the team and its players. If you don't like their actions, don't pay to see them play. You can protest their protest.
If enough fans stay away, the NFL will get the message that protesting during the national anthem, while permissible, is not embraced by America.
Standard editor James Clark can be reached at 473-2191.