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What constitutes a shooting range in Davie County?

The Davie County Board of Adjustments is likely to have a full house Tuesday when they consider a special use permit for a “shooting range” on property off Duke Whittaker and Sheffield roads.

A shooting range?

Look at the descriptions and advertisements for Recoil Management Academy, and you’ll see it’s not a “shooting range” as most would consider. And while the group advertises that it’s instructors have military  experience, it doesn’t mention military-style training, although the description goes much farther than what would normally be  thought of as a shooting range.

The board should not allow this to happen.

Maybe later – when the definitions in the zoning ordinance more accurately describe what is proposed – could it be approved. Maybe then at the proposed location, probably not. There are too many nearby residences and churches.

The board of adjustments should flat out deny this request on the basis it does not meet the definition of a shooting range. Then the county can get to the business of refining its zoning ordinance to find a place for such businesses – if any exist.

Omelia Diane Farrington Garner didn’t grow up in Davie County, but she spent quite a bit of time here visting her aunt, the late Lillian Britton Cain. In fact, most of the summers of her youth were spent here.

Magalene Gaither, a retired Davie educator, remembers her well. Omelia died on Jan. 3.

Born in 1937, she went on to earn a degree in secretarial service, got married and had three children. Then her husband died.

She worked three jobs to care for herself and her three daughters. On two of those jobs, she ran into Alvin Garner, a student at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

By 1967, they were a dating couple. She was a 31-year-old black female, he was a 21-year-old white male. Remember, the ban on interracial marriages wasn’t erased until 1971 in North Carolina, but Orange County started allowing them in 1967. This couple were married in June of 1968, saying their love was “blessed by God.”

Theirs was the first interracial couple licensed for marriage in Orange County, perhaps in all of North Carolina.

It was at a time of racial turmoil, so you can just imagine what the couple went through. Even today, there are many people who have trouble accepting interracial couples. Think about what this couple heard – probably on a daily basis. And don’t fool yourself into thinking those catcalls came from just the whites, or just the blacks. They must have heard terrible things anywhere they went. Their mixed-race children must have gone through quite a bit, as well.

Even Garner’s father opposed the marriage. He traveled to Chapel Hill with his minister to argue against the proposed marriage. The minister, Alvin reported, “hardly opened his mouth.”

Despite all of the naysayers and scrutiny, the couple was married for 52 years before her death on Jan. 3. Both were Christian ministers. They raised five children together.

It makes one wonder how this hatred of interracial romances continues today. Sure, prejudices are passed down from generation to generation, but those that are wrong usually have a way of working out, but not this issue.

I really don’t understand hating someone just because of the color of their skin. I don’t understand hating someone because of their religious preference, or lack thereof. I don’t understand hating someone because of their political beliefs. I don’t understand hating someone because of their social status. I don’t understand hating someone because of where they live.

Remember, you can’t judge a book by its cover.

– Mike Barnhardt