Saturday, May 01, 2010
No witches, vampires or Ol' Scratch Hisself...not with my doors safely protected by garlic and me safely protected by a garlicky home-made pizza!
Interesting discussion on my yesterday snarky post on Ms. WSJ TV Critic's snarky dis' of open carry that touches on the continued fissures in our culture on open vs. concealed carry. Yes, it is certainly a valid discussion — some folks in our culture think OC is a very bad idea; some think it's a very good idea. I happen to come down mostly on the "good idea" side of the equation, largely because I think there is a huge danger to any right when we begin to define that right based on other people's visceral reactions to our exercising that right.
The simple truth is that rights are really only rights if we're willing to protect/accept those on the fringes of that right. If we believe what we say we believe. then we are obligated to stand up for that belief not just when it's easy. If instead our standard is that no right exists if the exercise of that right makes anyone uncomfortable, then there are no rights, because it's a big world full of diverse people, and everything makes someone uncomfortable.
The question of whether a specific act is "good public relations" or "sends the right message" is a whole other dimension, a dimension full of smoke, fog, dissent and differing personal experiences. There are certainly equally valid schools of thought. I come from a more confrontational school of public relations because 1) I've had very good success with harder-edged campaigns and 2) the most successful society-changing efforts of the previous century were all based on confrontational tactics.
"The center" is always a moving target. I remember my first SHOT Show where I went representing the fledgling sport of "practical" or "combat" shooting. A lot of the responses I got were that, "You lunatics running around with guns shooting at humanoid targets are going to ruin it for the rest of us! So stop it right now!" Needless to say, we didn't, and now practical shooting is "the center." Ditto on the birth of concealed carry in the mid-1980s — by taking guns "out of the closet," the argument went, the huge bulge of undecided people in the middle would suddenly become aware of guns and a percentage, perhaps a large percentage, would "go over" to the anti side. We were in a huge swirl of controversy...and yet concealed carry is now "the center."
I suspect that's why the big players — the NRA, NSSF, some of the other organizations — are keeping OC at arms length...to see how it's ultimately going to play out.