Ryan Bomberger: #NeverAgain Gun Protest Turns Into Civil Group Discussions

Sometimes we’re not as different as we think we are. Sometimes we’re not as polarized as mainstream media would like us to be. Sometimes we just need to stop labeling and start listening.

This past weekend the Western Conservative Summit (WSC) held a powerful conference exploring and extolling ways of fortifying freedom. I was invited to speak to hundreds of youth at Colorado Christian University and had an amazing time navigating through some of today’s toughest social issues. I encouraged students to be factivists, not activists. I also keynoted at the main conference and was honored to receive a standing ovation when I shared my story of being conceived in rape, yet adopted and loved.

But sometimes we don’t have a captive audience willing to listen to what we have to say. Trust me. I know from many personal experiences as a public speaker. I’ll never forget a lecture at Harvard where I “debated” with a professor who knew nothing about the topic being discussed (abortion’s disproportionate impact in the black community). Student activists in the auditorium would rather curse than converse. Too often, hostility and venom convince some that their cause and their tactics are unassailable.

Then, there are times, when reason breaks through as clarity and civility prevail.

That happened right outside of the Colorado Convention Center where the WCS was being held (see video here). Throngs of demonstrators gathered to protest the Summit and some of the keynote speakers. They were marching against the NRA, school shootings, President Trump, and some GOP legislators.

It seemed it was going to be just another one-sided exercise of free speech. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a staunch defender of the First Amendment and people being able to express their singular point of view (especially after being sued by the NAACP for simply parodying their name). But something even better happened.

Conference attendees came out to peacefully engage the protesters. Charlie Kirk, Candace Owens and a group of Turning Point USA student leaders appeared on the scene…and everything changed. Candace and Charlie immediately, and calmly, engaged the young man in charge of the demonstration. Tay Anderson, President of #NeverAgain Colorado, was welcoming. He and Turning Point USA are definitely on opposite sides of the political spectrum on gun issues. But they talked. They listened to each other. Candace and Charlie praised him for engaging with them in such civil dialogue.

Some of the marchers tried to shout down their conversation. I watched in amazement as I witnessed a rare act of courage and leadership during protests like this. Tay challenged the marchers to engage in conversations instead of shouting chants. He invited people to listen, to watch, to hear what the other side has to say. I was so impressed by Tay’s calm confidence. I may not agree with him on Second Amendment issues, the roots and remedies of school shootings and police brutality, but we can agree on the most important thing. We’re all just human, and we need to connect.

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Source: Christian Post