- The Washington Times - Monday, January 16, 2017

Mike Rowe of CNN’s “Somebody’s Gotta Do It” thrilled fans over the weekend by defending the Second Amendment with the delivery that made him famous.

America’s favorite “everyman” sometimes makes time to share angry email with his 4.5 million Facebook followers. On Sunday he shared a missive from “Marla W,” who wrote about his upcoming appearance at the 2017 SHOT Show in Las Vegas. The woman said he lost her as a fan for daring to appear with “a bunch of gun nuts” who fuel “faux patriotism.”

Mr. Rowe, whose mikeroweWORKS Foundation helps train Americans for in-demand jobs, admitted that he would be discussing ways to “close America’s skills gap” before addressing the “gun nuts” claim.

“One things for sure — while I’m at there, I’m going to make sure I see my friends at the SEAL Family Foundation,” Mr. Rowe said “You’d love these guys, Marla. They look after the families of those involved with Naval Special Warfare. Remember Ty Woods and Glenn Dougherty [sic] — two of the men who died in Benghazi? The SEAL Family Foundation raised over $500,000 for their memorial fund. Anyway, they have a booth at The SHOT Show, so I’m going to stop by and thank them for their efforts, as well as for their help with a team-building event I arranged for my staff before Christmas.”

The former “Dirty Jobs” star then detailed a day with SEAL Family Foundation that gave employees a chance to “rub elbows with veterans.” Everyone went skydiving before heading to a accelerated small arms training session.

“There was an emphasis on safety, obviously,” Mr. Rowe said. “Some of my people had never held a gun before, much less fired one. So there was some … trepidation. But after an hour of intense instruction, everyone got comfortable with the Glock 9mm. Then the AR-15. Then a variety of sniper rifles. We all got to shoot an M-1 from WWII, a Steyr from Austria, the Scar Heavy … even a Barrett 50 caliber. Fifty yards, a hundred yards, then two hundred yards. Their progress was impressive. Their enthusiasm was infectious. At 400 yards, my office manager was hitting a target the size of a pie plate. Unbelievable.”

“Afterwards, we ate ribs and drank beer in a local bar with our instructors,” he continued. “We also listened to war stories from Ramadi and Fallujah and a few places I hadn’t heard of, from people who wrote the book on teamwork. Fascinating. Eye-opening. Humbling.”

Mr. Rowe said he wished he could tell Marla some of the stories the SEALs recounted, but could not for many reasons.

“What I can tell do is tell you how remarkable it is to see people who have never even held a gun go from uncomfortable, to tentative, to comfortable, to very comfortable, to empowered,” Mr. Rowe said. “One day Marla, I hope you’ll have the opportunity to experience something similar, and listen to the stories of people who use guns to protect us.”

Marla was then invited to join Mr. Rowe as his guest at SHOT Show, although he said he respected her right to “stomp off in a cloud of righteous indignation.”

“Great response Mike,” wrote Koren Billie. “People in our day and age do have a right to their opinions, but until they fully educate themselves on a subject it would help if they open their minds to both points of view.”

“As the wife of a combat vet, thank you for this,” added Susan Koerperich. “You’re an incredible person, and I admire you for your eloquence and intelligence.”

This 2017 SHOT Show takes place Tuesday, Jan. 17 through Friday, Jan. 20.

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