‘Open Carry’s’ Theater of the Absurd


“For they have sown the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind.” – Hosea 8-7.

Recent events remind me of the only lasting memory remaining from having poked my head inside a long-ago gun show at the Astrodome:

Metal detectors were at the entrance

Yes, even a gathering of gun nuts didn’t want nuts with guns joining the day’s congregation.

I use that example to illustrate why people who denounce gun control need to define their terms. After all, stationing metal detectors outside of a gun show clearly is gun control.

But what about our freedoms?

Welcome this week to a national nightmare.

The Trump convention? That’s not exactly what I had in mind.

Ah, but coincidentally, what I have in mind is in fact happening in Cleveland, in one of several states, Ohio, that has embraced the insanity of open-carry.

We are seeing heavily armed individuals roaming the convention grounds, people with no badge and no business lugging around killing machines.

The same insanity was on hand – 20 to 30 individuals armed with military-style weapons — when protesters gathered in Dallas to express their concerns and a sick individual with a killing machine took five officers’ lives.

Didn’t it make things safer that silly amateurs were on scene with their ARs and AKs? Yeah, boy.

As a Dallas police spokesman stated, “The challenge was sorting out witnesses from potential suspects. Texas is an open-carry state, and there were a number of armed demonstrators taking part.”

So, no. As police organizations state vigorously. Open-carry can make a crime scene less safe, more confused, more chaotic.

Open-carry is not about safety. It is show-and-tell that causes the class to do duck-and-cover.

In Colorado, where open-carry is a local option and where the right wing controls the city of Colorado Springs, a few months ago a man was advertising his intent to kill people, but a 9-1-1 operator told a caller that his walking down the street with a rifle strapped over his shoulder was within his rights.

Then he shot dead two people at random.

Aside from the self-evident safety problem that comes with allowing just anybody to openly brandish firearms is another issue that helps portray the matter in terms that suits its architects.

Open-carry laws are racist.

Maybe they aren’t racist in intent, but, let’s call them structurally racist, de facto racist.

When white people carry openly in an open-carry state, they are not going to be harassed or harmed. However, if a black man openly carries a firearm, he’d better hit the ground before the lead starts flying.

Among all the open-carry activists that night in Dallas, one was black. That man, Mark Hughes, not only was detained by police but was identified by police on Twitter for a short time as the shooting suspect. He’s lucky he’s not dead.

Since they know that many lawmakers will roll over and play dead for the NRA regarding laws like this, a gallant organization called Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America is calling on retailers to bar open-carry from their premises, as have Target and Texas grocery giant HEB. Kroger is resisting calls to join them.

I like Moms Demand Action’s nomenclature, by the way. Gun control? It’s like the War on Poverty — a hill too far with an unreachable objective. However, gun sense? Every American should demand that of our lawmakers, of our retailers, of our neighbors, of our country.

Gun sense. Open-carry is not about self-defense. It’s about exhibitionism. It’s mostly about the entitlement of a white, fear-making class.

Like our gun policies in general, it couldn’t possibly make us safer.

John Young is a longtime Texas newspaperman who now lives in Fort Collins, Colo. Email jyoungcolumn@gmail.com. See johnyoungcolumn.com.

From The Progressive Populist, August 15, 2016


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