... is online here. This is the one about the gun-toting host at a family party:
At my sister-in-law's home on New Year's Eve, we were shocked to see her husband "John" carrying a loaded gun. My sister-in-law was unconcerned: "He always carries it," she said. They host all the holiday family gatherings, but I don't want to attend when John is carrying a gun. My husband agrees, but no one else seems to think it's a problem--including the parents of the 3-year-old John spent most of the night playing with. How do we handle this without alienating ourselves from the family? We cannot have everyone to our house.
... and here was my bottom line:
When you are under another person's roof, you cannot ask that he adhere to your morality -- only honor your quirks.
In other words, she can ask to have her dislike of guns accommodated, but she shouldn't ask to have it validated. If Milo were a pit bull, I would willingly crate him when people visited who were nervous around dogs, or pit bulls in particular. They are my guests, I want them to be comfortable, it doesn't have to be the same thing that makes me comfortable. What I wouldn't like would be to have to listen to a lecture on the number of people killed by pit bulls, or how much you're in favor of legislation to make it more difficult to own one, or rudely editorializing questions on what kind of person would want to have such a dangerous dog, anyway.
Making a reasonable, polite request of your hosts so that your stay in their home is more comfortable is a fine and appropriate thing to do. Walking into someone's house and insulting them and their way of life is not.
Pro-Gun People: If you are arguing for unfettered access to firearms, try to act as though you are sane enough to be trusted with paper clips.
Anti-Gun People: Guns don't have cooties. Ignorance of firearms doesn't make you a better person, it just makes you ignorant.
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Welcome to Miss Conduct’s blog, a place where the popular Boston Globe Magazine columnist Robin Abrahams and her readers share etiquette tips, unravel social conundrums, and gossip about social behavior in pop culture and the news. Have a question of your own? Ask Robin using this form or by emailing her at firstname.lastname@example.org.