It has become pointedly clear that, where the discussion concerning guns and gun owners is concerned, we have entered the Twilight Zone. There is, on the far right, an irrational and completely unfounded belief that our government has shifted from that of being a democracy where we elect our leaders to an almost monarchical tyranny headed by a man whose skin is a darker hue and whose name definitely signifies him as an ‘other.’ A mistrust of government and those Americans tasked with helping it to operate has been not only allowed to pervade the right wing, it has been intentionally cultivated by a small band of otherwise intelligent men and women who obviously have self-enriching skin in the game, and now we are seeing the manifestation of the monster they have created in the proliferation of the many in-your-face open carry groups that may likely visit your favorite restaurant or coffee shop soon, long guns held across their chest as though they were Marines on patrol and not, in point of fact, insecure Rambo wannabes.
Before Wayne LaPierre referred to federal agents as “jack-booted thugs” the organization he helms, the National Rifle Association, was actually a proponent of gun control legislation that perhaps some on today’s left might even view as restrictive. This fact and others were exposed in Adam Winkler’s excellent book, Gunfight: The Battle over the Right to Bear Arms in America, where he discusses how the NRA has morphed from a gun proficiency and safety organization to this paranoid organization we know today that exists solely to lionize the 2nd Amendment.
Here are the videos, courtesy of Mother Jones.
Winkler, a constitutional law professor at UCLA, detailed a brief history of the founding of the organization now known for deflecting any and all correlation between the multiple massacres we’ve witnessed and the unparalleled availability of firearms in this country. As he explains, William Church and George Wingate founded the NRA just after the end of the Civil War, during which they both had soldiered for the Union side. The founding of the group was meant to address a distressing problem they realized in battle and that was that their Union brethren were woefully inadequate when it came to marksmanship. Through the NRA, they wanted to impart the basics of gun ownership and use to their members so they would be better firearms stewards and would be better prepared should their country ever call on them to war on its behalf.
But that history is obviously not today’s reality. LaPierre’s NRA, as extreme as it has tact, is but a simpering pussy cat compared to the open carry zealots that fetishize their guns in such a way that even a casual observer has to be keenly aware of the deep insecurity they are trying to mask. The actions of members of groups like Open Carry Texas are actions that are undertaken by provocateurs who lack maturity and even a modicum of civility. If you don’t believe me, watch one of the videos where they descend on a private business to assert their rights under the 2nd Amendment, giggling like newly pubescent teens and stringing together nonsensical strands of words to express their disappointment when, once again, they are made to exit the establishment.
For said videos, I would recommend you go to the Open Carry Texas website, but their latest filmed descent on a San Antonio Chili’s and Sonic have been scrubbed from their pages. Thankfully, the quick-fingered archivists at Mother Jones managed to seize a couple of copies for posterity. While there are several SMH moments, perhaps best was when a young lady came to the front of the Chili’s and took video of each of these nutjobs. They mistake her for being sympathetic to their cause until she provides voiceover for her own video by announcing she is recording a bunch of “Texas retards” and then chastises them telling them there are children in the restaurant and that they are all, to a one, “dumbasses.”
These failures come in light of both Starbucks and Chipotle having had to put out statements to leave your guns home when visiting their businesses. Recognizing the potential volatility of the polarizing issue, Chipotle’s statement diplomatically steered to a common sense middle stating:
Recently participants from an ‘open carry’ demonstration in Texas brought guns (including military-style assault rifles) into one of our restaurants, causing many of our customers anxiety and discomfort. Because of this, we are respectfully asking that customers not bring guns into our restaurants, unless they are authorized law enforcement personnel.
The statement continued:
The vast majority of gun owners are responsible citizens and we appreciate them honoring this request. And we hope that our customers who oppose the carrying of guns in public agree with us that it is the role of elected officials and the legislative process to set policy in this area, not the role of businesses like Chipotle.
The tone adopted by Chipotle may be the exact right way to go, too. Open Carry Texas, with their completely self-serving and unnecessary demonstrations, seems to be alienating themselves from people who recognize the immaturity and insanity of that side of the movement, now aligned with the sovereign citizen movement.
Over at PoliceOne.com, several individuals left comments that could only be considered disparaging to anyone associated with Open Carry Texas. The comments were left in response to a re-published Houston Chronicle story detailing how the now-infamous group was aiming to up their profile, ala a Cliven Bundy situation, by travelling to the Wichita Falls area, a northern part of the state that shares a Red River border with Oklahoma, to stand with the Ranchers against the United States Bureau of Land Management.
According to Dakota 663:
I am a huge 2A supporter, NRA life member, and have supported the right to OC all along. But these idiots have really made me reconsider my support for OC. I am to the point where I’d almost like to see a law passed prohibiting it. They are doing more harm than good for gun rights. Even in casual contacts with LE, everyone I have met in this ‘group’ have been world class jerks – not just ‘I’d rather not show you ID’ but confrontational, provocative, jerks.
They turn a place like Chipotle, that doesn’t care about guns either way – and thus a ‘gun friendly’ business, into an anti-gun establishment because of their antics. I wouldn’t want to eat there with my family either if those two morons walked in.
Another commenter, screename ‘paint’ said:
I support 2nd amm and concealed carry. I DO NOT support these MORONS who do more harm, with open carry, and are to [sic] stupid to know it. You’re not going to change 35 yrs of media indoctrination by scaring the crap out of the public! Be safe!
The idea in the two above comments were echoed several times throughout the thread. In a divided environment like the one in which we now live, it is comforting, from time to time, to learn that there is just far enough some might go to actually be considered too crazy. How ironic that Open Carry Texas and groups like it could be responsible for re-establishing in me a faith in my fellow humanity?