It’s a Hard Knock Fudd for Us: Tales of a Bay State 'Instructor’.

AP Photo/Carlos Osorio

We as “gun people” include a vast array of people, disciplines, and even ideologies. Our eclectic nature makes us a unique lot, but oftentimes it also may retard us a little. Are we living in a Gun Culture 2.0? Where on the spectrum of gunnyness are you? A recent email exchange with a, I’d say colleague, but that’d be an insult to me – a person whom I do business with, kind of sent me through the roof. It all stemmed from their rant about an initiative being pushed out by the Massachusetts State Police.


The email that went out to the licensed Massachusetts instructors was as follows:

I hope this email finds you well.  The Massachusetts Governor's Challenge to Prevent Suicide Among Service Members, Veterans, and their Families has been working on several initiatives.  One of which included a survey that was sent to all of our Basic Firearms Safety Instructors community in August of 2022, where over 1,000 of you participated. Since suicide is the leading cause of death from a firearm, one initiative is preparing firearm instructors to cover suicide prevention in their classes.  We want to thank you for helping us to create materials to discuss suicide prevention in your Basic Firearm Safety Courses and the Hunter Safety courses.

The Massachusetts State Police has been lucky enough to be part of this working group who created these materials. We encourage you to attend a meeting to discuss the materials available and how to include suicide prevention as part of your ongoing courses.  We want to thank you in advance for your support in bringing this material to the firearms community.

We have provided multiple dates and times for your convenience, please select one of the training times below and register.  All the trainings will be held virtually. 

Good, bad, or indifferent, this is a policy in the Bay State. My opinion? There’s nothing wrong with handing out materials that cover suicide awareness, etc. in a training class. I personally believe that’s a perfect place for such discussions, or at least to drop a mention and hand out a brochure. I’d be encouraged by something like this.


I remember taking a class far too many moons ago and I was chatting with the instructor. He related to me a story about an individual who sat all the way through a basic class that ran for 8+ hours, only to take their own life once on the firing line. There was no way for the instructor – a friend of mine now – who was working with that fellow to know they were in distress. 

What if the simple act of handing out a brochure was enough to cause a pause, and get the individual to reconsider what they were going to do?

I ended up getting roped into a diatribe where, we’ll call him Mr. Quahog…Quahog snapped back at the email I related just above and CCed me in his reply. I can understand the “undue” stress that’s being put on firearms instructors, especially in states like Massachusetts, but I’m not really sure if the message fits the ignorant word salad that followed in his reply.

I can’t share Quahog’s response with you folks, but I can relate to you how it was all scaffolded. The opening sentence acknowledges that there was an email about adding suicide prevention to classes. But quickly turned to discussing the Massachusetts “Bruen response” bill, which has nothing to do with a Zoom meeting covering the incoming requirements on suicide awareness.

There were five paragraphs that had to do with Michael Day’s carry-killer bill. And then, of the suicide awareness topic, he only briefly addressed it. He expressed displeasure in having to be involved in that kind of thing.


The specific complaint was he’s afraid he’d be held liable should someone die by suicide via firearm after taking a class from him. He did state – based on the email you read above – that “firearms instructors are being asked to become quasi-mental health professionals.” I did not read the email that way.

From there, shame on me, I engaged. Good on me, I engaged. I’ll explain.

Here’s the thing, a government worker with the State Police, regardless of their status, title, or position…someone in the executive branch, sent out a notice about training firearm instructors in the state on these new initiatives. Again, I’m open-minded about hearing about this and carrying on with my bad self.

The person who sent out the notification email did not deserve a poorly written Fudd manifesto about something the legislature is doing. The person was a messenger, even if they’re in charge or, whatever – they’re following orders that came down through the executive branch. Not the legislative.

I should not have engaged with this individual. But I did. There’s no benefit of arguing with someone who knows everything. However, I did dig my heels in.

Am I part of Gun Culture 2.0? What I can say about Quahog is that – and I don’t want to sound ageist here, so forgive me – but Quahog is well into his 70’s, creeping up on 80, and when he bellows out his non-rhetoric, all I hear is the sound of clam chowder hitting a bowl. I straddle some lines in this world, and if I’m cringing, I can tell you others will smell right through Cape Shore Quahog’s Moxie cologne, buckles on his shoe and all.


If there’s anything people may know about me is that I don’t live in Massachusetts. However, I did go to school there. I have family there. As much as I talk smack about Massachusetts, I do love it. New Jersey will always be better, of course. Even Governor Phil Murphy, D-N.J., carpetbagged himself from the Bay State to the Land of 1000 Diners.

But I have adopted Massachusetts as a second home. I have embraced the gun owners in the Bay State (including the Bay State King of Glocks), and many of them have embraced me back. I have a vested interest in the Second Amendment across the country, but I take it very personally when these things happen in states like Massachusetts and New Jersey.

Quahog’s actions make gun owners look like idiots. It’s that simple. I engaged to make him know that his outdated way of thinking is not doing anyone any favors. I’m not saying it was the “right” thing to do, and I’m sure our business relationship is nearly completely scorched because in my final message I called him a penis in a not-so-nice way. As in "you were being a penis to that woman for no reason". He was put on notice that he's not helping us in this fight acting that way.

As Second Amendment activists or advocates, we’re ambassadors too. Firearm instructors in particular should hold themselves to a higher level of tact when in such situations. The actions of a few unfortunately can define the many.


Quahog is ending his run doing the “gun stuff,” while myself and others here at Bearing Arms are just cracking into our prime – some more prime than others, those hittin’ that “Brimley Year.” [I still have a year to go before I cross that particular Rubicon, Petrolino - Cam] In a U.S. where original MTV VJs are now in their 70’s, like Quahog, I do get cringey thinking about my own mortality.

This indicates that it’s beyond our turn to cast gun culture and our turn to be ambassadors. Most importantly, it’s our job to help the upcoming new blood of younger generations who are cutting their teeth, and hand over the Second Amendment in good condition. If we can do that without bringing the stereotypes of yesteryear, all the better. 

We’re not going to win hearts and minds by drooling chowder out of the corners of our mouths when there’s a conversation about suicide awareness. That’s probably a topic best ignored if you’re going to be negative about it. A great way we can be custodians of this civil liberty is to quietly usher the Fudds who create problems/make us look bad to their retirement homes.

On the other hand, I can see how burdensome this all might be. Instructors being forced to hand out a brochure is quite a big ask.

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