Thursday, August 20, 2009

Packing heat in public? What a dumb idea.



About 12 people were carrying guns, including at least one semi-automatic assault rifle, outside a building where President Obama was speaking today.

CNN’s Ed Henry reported seeing a second man with an assault rifle, but that has not been confirmed.

These reports come less than a week after two people brought guns to a presidential event in Portsmouth, N.H.

Another man in Portsmouth was spotted carrying a gun in a leg holster outside the school. The unconcealed weapon was legal under New Hampshire law and he was not arrested. Later, when asked why he brought the gun, he replied, “That’s not even a relevant question. The question is, why don’t people bear arms these days?”

“These days..?” What days, exactly, were those in which people routinely walked around town with a gun (or two) hanging out of their trous? Um, yeah, if you guessed that for at least the past 100 years that would be never, you are correct. As a matter of fact, the last time this was a phenomenon that could be routinely seen anywhere in the United States was in the late 1800s in the western territories, and even then, it wasn’t your standard everyday citizen who carted an arsenal along with him as part of his daily routine–it was, well, the criminals. Ie, those who intended to terrify the standard everyday citizens into doing what they wanted them to do, which generally consisted of activities that were directly in opposition to those standard, everyday citizens’ best interests.

In other words, the only folks showing up in public carrying firearms are likely to gangsters doing gangster stuff. Seriously, my attitude toward firearms is pretty damned positive, and yet it has never occurred to me to go packing heat the next time I go grocery shopping, take my wife to the movies, or pick the kiddos up from school. Hell, I would seriously question the sanity of anyone who would advocate such a move as reasonable or desirable.

To put some of this in a context, I'm somewhat politically involved in my community (in the sense that I've become a fixture at school board meetings over the last year or so), and quite frankly would consider packing heat at one of those meetings to be if anything entirely counterproductive. Actually, I'm reasonably certain that the laws in my state would frown on such behavior, and rightfully so. Rather, if there is a dispute with district administration or the school board itself, I would suggest what worked for me (and my family): build alliances with fellow parents and a friendly school board member or two, and make sure that you have good solid arguments based on reason and evidence. In my corner of the US, I sure wouldn't try to "persuade" with intimidation tactics. For starters, it just isn't my style. But more importantly, folks here tend to react to intimidation efforts by simply digging their heels and fighting back. In other words, the attempt to terrorize, as some of these idiots have been doing at some of the town halls would be lead to the opposite results of what I would desire. Extrapolating to the various town halls being hosted by our congresscritters and the Prez, I'd say the same basic points apply. As a simple outside observer, I can say unequivocally that the efforts to shout down congresscritters at these town halls, hurling racist slurs at fellow attendees, as well as to intimidate by showing up armed, has done nothing to persuade me to embrace our current health "care" system. Given what I was discussing in the previous post, it is questionable as to whether such tactics have had any persuasive power on the general public with regard to the proposed reforms of the health "care" system. You simply come across as a thug who's probably pining for the "good old days" of sundown towns and Jim Crow laws, rather than as someone who has a legitimate point to make.

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