Saturday, May 01, 2010

Whew! Survived!


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.

13 comments:

Secesh said...

Michael,
I just listened to this week's podcast, it was great as usual. If next year's Shooting Gallery programs aren't already nailed down, how about a program on the Appleseed Project? A nation of riflemen needs instruction. Just sayin'.

Anonymous said...

After pondering the open-carry discussion further, along with my own comments of yesterday, I guess that I would re-summarize the "issue" in only a few more words.
There is a not so blurrd line separating flaunting a right from exercising a right. I think that there are many, many people, both gun owners and non, that support the Second Amendment and all that actually goes with it. This is supported by recent legitimate polls that show that the vast majority of US citizens support the 2A. I think that when one flaunts a right, or seems to "rub everyones nose in it", then we cease to inform, but rather offend and even scare people. We mis-represent the facts. Then, we take a step back ward. We need to simply represent the facts and display responsible behaviour. Then, the uninformed, or newly informed will see that there isn't cause for concern, but rather for support.
Life Member

seeker_two said...

I'm a supporter of OC mainly because it's an important step toward permit-less CCW. That's the way it happened in Alaska...and that's the way I hope it happens in Texas....

"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. "

So much for the "leaders" in the RKBA fight..... :P

Michael Bane said...

Flaunt a right? How might one flaunt the First Amendment right of free speech? Or protection against unreasonable search and seizure? Or freedom of religion? IMHO, a "right" by definition is an absolute. It's a light a switch — on or off. I grew up in the South in the 1950s, where those pesky black people flaunted their rights as citizens of the United States. Man, they kept rubbing people's noses in it! Some of them died for those rights. And died hard. But we are a better country and a better people for it, and today we honor them as the heroes they truly are.

I lived in New York City during the first push for gay rights in the mid-1970s. Boy, those gay people really really overdid it! They just flaunted it and flaunted it and flaunted it...until they won.

I don't mean to be harsh here, but the exercise of a fundamental right is not an educational tool for the unwashed masses. Exercising rights is often offensive and occasionally scary...I submit as example the persecution of Lenny Bruce or the fact that even Islamo-fascists have the same free speech rights in America as you, me, Obama or the local preacher. You may hate what they say, but American exceptionalism allows them to say it.

American exceptionalism is based on the Founders' belief that certain rights were absolutes.

BTW, as gun owners we simply represented the facts and displayed responsible behavior for decades...and we lost and we lost and we lost. We came, I believe, within a hairsbreath of losing everything. It took "irresponsible" confrontational people like Neal Knox, Marion Hammer, Jeff Cooper, Joe Tartaro, Alan Gottlieb, Dick Heller, and other miscreants to turn the tide. Now we're winning. We're winning not because the uninformed, or the newly informed, think we're nice, but because they think we're right and they're absolutely positive we're not backing down.

Sorry to rant...

Michael B

Anonymous said...

RIGHT ON M.B. the mushroom

Anonymous said...

I'm still not sure I would open carry when about town.

But over time, I have changed my mind from "why would anyone want to open carry unless they were in the boonies" to support of open carry.

EJ said...

Whether I choose to open carry or not should be left up to me if I have the right to do so.

To try and suppress my choice to do so because I am "flaunting" is nonsense.

Only I know my situation. Only I know why I choose to open carry in a given situation. If I have to justify it to anyone, then I have lost that as a right.

How do I say this politely? "Manage your own weapon, I'll manage mine."

Anonymous said...

Yes, as I have stated before, I do OC, mostly in summer (I am talking in town, not at the farm). Not a huge deal here as it is still accepted and not uncommon. I agree with MB and his assessment on this, including the rant.

You do not have the 'right' to not be offended.. :)

-Bidah

Anonymous said...

Michael,
You're not harsh at all. You're execising a right that nearly everyone recognizes as a "Right". The right to free speech. Nearly everyone also knows how it works too. There are a large number of people that aren't as aware of some of our other inalienable rights, or how they work. When I referred to "flaunting" a right, perhaps that was a poor choice of words. The idea that I wanted to convey is that I have been more successful in changing some "antis" minds by guiding them through the learning process, rather than kicking them through it. I think that we will get a lot farther by informing, rather than showing up next to those with the opposite opinion, with a the very focus of their attention and hate, strapped onto our hip. On the other hand, we can never resist standing up for our rights, when we should. I never inferred that we should not do that, ever.
Life Member

Shy Wolf said...

Regardless which of the Constitutional rights one advocates and lives by, someone's going to bitch and moan and piss their pants over it. Especially the Second. What difference does it make, really, where the weapon is carried- hip, under shirt or over shoulder- there's not a damn bit of difference- and it's not being "flaunted" by any except those who take exception to carrying guns, period- and they piss and moan even when they CAN'T see them, so screw those pansies.
If you have a gun, good- then carry it- you ain't rubbing anyone's nose in anything, they're rubbing theirs into your business. Where's the "irresponsible behavior" in carrying your weapon in the open? Oh- right, forgive me: everyone who open carries ends up shooting someone. DUH! That is your right as an American, and the more who do so, the fewer problems we're going to have convincing others to live their beiliefs as well... dang, this can be a really long discussion...
Suffice to say, a right not exercised is a right surrendered. So the question isn't Open Carry or Concealed? The question is, Do I carry? If you don't, you should.
I'm not going to ask forgiveness for being snarky, either- screw political correct and being polite and compromising with pussies and other wimpy limp-wristed effeminates. Time for real people to take back this country from the chicken shits.
Shy III

Brandon (BML325) said...

In Israel, the law is open carry. You can see people at the wailing wall all dressed up to pray with a gun on their hip. Or waiting in line at McDonalds with thier Glock showing.

I beleive you have an advantage carrying concealed, but not that much. If anything a criminal is more likely to go the other way or leave you alone. The last thing they want is to get into a shoot out. Imagine going walking through a park at night and 20 out of the 30 people walking all have guns on their hips, do you feel more or less safe? Is a criminal going to hold up one person or steal a purse and risk getting shot?

I like the "idea" of open carry. If I go camping or hiking I can keep a 44 mag on my hip easily available. Or since I live in FL and it it hot 11 months out of the year my clothing tends to be shorts and a polo shirt or t-shirt. If I am carrying concealed and then my shirt lifts up and you see the gun, or you see the imprint throught the shorts and shirt I am not brandishing a weapon since I could carry either way.

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