Last night we finally had the long-awaited overnight bus ride from Boulder, CO to Salt Lake City, UT. The counselors had been telling us that this would be one of the better nights of sleep of the entire trip. It actually wasn’t a horrible time sleeping on the bus because it was dead silent the whole time, but I still prefer the comfort of a bed for sure. One nice thing about the bus ride was the fact that the bus in motion created a relaxing vibration that put me to sleep for at least a couple of hours.
This morning we woke up to beautiful scenery in Salt Lake City. We were surrounded by huge mountains on all sides. Shortly after waking up, we arrived at the JCC in SLC. We were given a few hours of free time to work out, shower, hike, and relax. I took advantage of the gym for most of the time, but I also enjoyed the opportunity to just hangout and relax outside. One of the rooms in the JCC where we kept our bags and belongings had a balcony with some tables and another view of the mountains. I’m really glad we had a morning to chill, since we did just have a very late night.
We left the JCC around 11:30am for lunch at Whole Foods. After that we headed out of downtown Salt Lake City and into the mountains. We arrived at a Salt Lake County police shooting range on the side of the highway to meet with a lobbyist for the NRA, Clark Aposhian. After hearing from Tom Mauser and Tom Sullivan, I had a feeling that Clark would not be able to change my views on gun control, but he seemed like he knew his stuff. Clark talked mostly about gun violence, laws, and statistics for Utah, while not looking at the United States as a whole, which was interesting. He really ended up focusing on a couple different topics such as the gun show loophole and mental health, as it pertains to gun violence. We all had a lot of questions for him, which he seemed to answer while trying to spin the information to us. He also used recent shootings such as the Sandy Hook tragedy when trying to explain why more guns or people with concealed weapons licenses could have prevented these tragedies.
At the end of the discussion, he took us all out to the shooting range. We watched as Clark, and a few other people who spoke with us during this discussion, fired off several different types of guns. Clark even got our bus driver, Earle, and Billy to shoot a couple guns.
Later in the afternoon we headed to the Mormon Church at Temple Square in downtown Salt Lake City. Two sisters of the Mormon Church gave us a tour of the tabernacle and some of the buildings on the property. It was interesting to hear why they were so passionate about their religion and faith. At the root of the Mormon religion, they really put a high value on family, which is something I think we can all agree is a very important part of life.
After leaving the Mormon Church, we finally made it to our hotel. Billy ordered really good fajitas for us for dinner and prepared us for tomorrow’s journey to Zion National Park in Utah. Overall it was a busier day than I had expected, but a good day none the less.