By now, everybody not in a persistent vegetative state (like the District of Columbia) should be aware that the Supremes have finally given judicial notice to the existence of an individual right to keep and bear arms. To those somnambulists not familiar with this ruling, I invite you to read the decision in it’s entirety here. Briefly, the Supreme Court of the United States struck down the draconian prohibition of handguns in the nation’s capitol. In doing so, Justice Scalia, writing for the majority, emphatically affirmed that self-defense (whether against Gummint intrusion or merely lesser predators such as robbers and murderers) is an inherent right of all Americans which predates the Constitution.
While I am pleased by this ruling, I am somewhat less than pleased by Scalia’s none-too-subtle swipes at the minority opinions of the Court- especially at Justice Stevens. Stevens may or may not be an idiot, but the ruling as written certainly gives the impression that Scalia considers him so. This sort of unprofessionalism is not a good idea, and might serve to further divide the Court along the lines of partisan politics. Not a good thing coming from the final arbiters of what is or is not Constitutional.
In the aftermath of this decision, a group of people from an organization called Open Carry have started a “public-awareness” campaign to demystify firearms in general and handguns in particular. These folks wear their weapons openly and proudly in an attempt to wean their fellow citizens away from the visceral panic attacks which invariably result at the sight of a firearm these days.
So far, so good. I have no problem with the organization’s stated aims. I do have a problem with the implementation of those aims.
As with any group- however noble in intent- a small but vocal minority of the Open Carry organization are apparently unhappy with the low-key and non-confrontational tactics of their fellows. This fringe group seems to enjoy confrontations with police, and go out of their way to be “in your face” about their right to bear arms. They boast about confrontations with police and ideological opponents, where their fellows would have been content with education and awareness.
I own firearms, and I have a permit to carry concealed weapons. I also live in an “open carry” state, where the right to bear arms openly is written into law. That said, I do not wear my pistol openly in order to avoid the sort of confrontation some of the “Open Carry” members seem to enjoy. In my opinion, going out of one’s way to get into a confrontation with the police is not only stupid, it is working directly against Open Carry’s stated purpose. The major media outlets may or may not be biased toward liberal issues, but they are absolutely biased toward sensationalism. Loudmouthed imbeciles with guns who boast about causing friction with the police will quickly and permanently drown out the message they are supposed to be presenting- that firearms are not bad in and of themselves. The public will only see the confrontational ass-hats, and their opinion of all guns and gun owners will be colored by this flawed impression.
Sanctimonious and self-important ass-hats are intensely irritating, no matter which side of the issue I happen to be on. If anything, the sanctimonious and self-important whackjobs on my side are more irritating than anyone else, because they tend to make me look bad by association. Also, people who seem to go out of their way to defeat their own purpose are not folks I think I can rely on.
I don’t know about you, but the idea of unreliable people with weapons bothers me. I’m willing to put up with it as part of the price for the freedoms we all enjoy, but I don’t have to like it.
Current status: Concerned
Current music: Roll the Bones by Rush