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Isn’t public masturbation illegal?

A gun isn’t just a tool, it’s a sex aid for the terminally inadequate. A gun fondler in Georgia wandered about exposing his toy to children.

A Georgia man panicked parents and children at a local park and baseball field by randomly walking around and displaying his gun to anyone he encountered in the parking lot.

According to witnesses who spoke with WSB-TV, the man wandered around the Forsythe County park last Tuesday night showing his gun to strangers, telling them “there’s nothing you can do about it.”

He was right. There was nothing anyone could do about it. The police came, talked to him, he had a permit, so there was absolutely nothing illegal about strutting aimlessly through a park, smugly waving his gun at people.

Maybe there ought to be a law, though. And maybe the NRA should support it, being fans of responsible gun ownership and all that.

Ha ha, I made a funny.

But seriously, people like that will help make a change as more and more voters realized that these gun fanatics are dangerous idiots.

Comments

  1. says

    Wouldn’t waving a gun at people be a threat to do bodily harm? I mean, isn’t it inherently threatening to wave a weapon at people?
    Heck, cops will shoot someone if they wave a gun at them.

  2. says

    Apparently, he didn’t explicitly threaten anyone — he just wandered about, announcing I have a gun! as if it were some great accomplishment.

    I’d say there was an implicit threat, though, and the people at the park certainly felt threatened. The police generally seem to be pro-gun, though, so they decided to overlook it.

    If if had been a black man with the gun, though, I wonder how well that would have gone down…

  3. Rik van says

    Ha, in the US you get shot for waving violently with a pen (at least if you’re an plaintiff in a courtroom).
    But yes, gunslingers will eventually evolve out.

  4. Muz says

    I think it’s true in some places that if it was a knife he would have been arrested.

    Something like that should be disturbing the peace at least. These guys render the second amendment an absurd joke, if it wasn’t already.

  5. says

    Public display of weapons? That might be dangerous as it may wantonly or accidentally hurt someone. But public masturbation… what does that hurt? Perhaps kill one or a few dicks… conservative dicks? That’s all. And they are easily ‘revived’… FYI.

  6. Sili says

    I like Dan Savage’s use of “Second Amendmenting” for the results of what these gun fondlers do.

  7. twas brillig (stevem) says

    He is protesting the Concealed Carry Permit requirement. He just wants to carry his gun around, so thinks by showing it to everybody, he won’t be in violation of not having a Concealed Carry Permit. I heard there was a mass protest like this, somewhere in T*%@$ that got severely reprimanded.

  8. says

    I think it’s true in some places that if it was a knife he would have been arrested.

    The first thought I had from reading the post was ‘what if it had been a drawn sword?’ Knives have tool uses, so there are some non-threatening contexts for having one out in public. Not so many for drawing and publicly displaying an object designed specifically to be a weapon.

    Someone who draws a sword in public is a dangerous lunatic out of touch with reality and gets taken away by the nice men in white coats. This guy who waves a gun around? Nothing to be done.

  9. timpayne says

    “But seriously, people like that will help make a change as more and more voters realized that these gun fanatics are dangerous idiots.”

    So you would hope, but the opposite seems to be true. Georgia just established a new ‘guns everywhere’ law that does in fact put guns just about everywhere. And it’s popular enough that it was supported even by the Democratic candidate for governor. Besides putting guns in schools, churches, bars, and public buildings, it permits using silencers while hunting and prohibits police from detaining a person solely to establish whether she has a permit. Oh, and if you are a convicted felon who can’t legally own a gun, but shoot someone in a ‘stand your ground’ killing, you can’t be charged with illegal possession.

    So instead of the proliferation of guns breeding distaste, in Georgia it’s spawned a desire to absolutely saturate society with guns.

  10. methuseus says

    In many states it is illegal to carry, concealed or openly, any knife, whether it be folding or straight, that has four inches of blade. That means, technically, that in many public parks near me, it would be illegal to have a bread knife to cut buns for the burgers being grilled at the shelter. Of course, the cops won’t be called for that, but if you decide to use something like a Bowie knife, that could get you sent away.

  11. Pierce R. Butler says

    When driving across Georgia, if you have a vehicle which gets good mileage, you might be able to fuel up outside the state line, zip across without having to stop, and have enough fumes to make it to a gas station just past the border again.

    Of course, then you’ll be in South Carolina, Tennessee, Alabama, or Florida, so you still can’t consider yourself “safe” in any meaningful sense of that word…

  12. says

    In Texas, he would have been arrested. Open carry of pistols is illegal. Alas, Greg Abbott, who likely will be our next governor, wants to change that. His general campaign stance is: “I’m crazier than Rick Perry.”

  13. says

    I posted this story on G+ and it was quickly buried in over 100 comments (a record for me) from gun-fondlers telling me that the people who called 911 were frightened little girls. I don’t even know where all those people even came from. Absolutely impervious to facts or even the actual details of the story.

    Most posts, maybe I get two comments, maybe three.

  14. says

    @georgewiman: I’ve noticed similar outbursts in the comments area of many sites. I’m starting to wonder if the NRA has a spider that looks for certain keywords on some (more popular?) sites and if it gets a hit they put out a call and NRAte comments like we Pharyngulate polls. Who knows.

  15. liz321 says

    In Florida it is actually illegal to brandish or show your weapon in any way, even if you have a concealed weapons permit.

    Obviously it’s considered OK once you are acting in self-defense, but doing what this man did, just randomly waving a gun around, would have gotten him arrested in Florida. I seriously believe that George Zimmerman probably did such a thing to Trayvon Martin, which might have precipitated the fight between them……but George could never admit to that, because it is illegal here. That’s why his “Trayvon attacked me out of the blue” never seemed to make any sense. That’s my pet theory anyway…not provable, but highly likely in my opinion.

  16. anuran says

    6 Rik van
    “Ha, in the US you get shot for waving violently with a pen (at least if you’re an plaintiff in a courtroom).
    But yes, gunslingers will eventually evolve out.”

    No, in the US you get shot for grabbing a pen, charging a witness and trying to stab him with it when you’re a repeat violent felon on trial for murder. Do try to read more than the headline.

  17. says

    I’m starting to wonder if the NRA has a spider that looks for certain keywords on some (more popular?) sites and if it gets a hit they put out a call and NRAte comments like we Pharyngulate polls. Who knows.

    I don’t think it’s the NRA specifically (they’re no doubt too busy in Washington), but I know of a few gun-related blogs (I live with a gun fondler, sad to say), with a readership of probably half Pharyngula’s, that seem the type to do something like that.

  18. peterh says

    The manner of displaying in many jurisdictions can be and often is seen as and prosecuted as brandishing/assault. Were this person to carry on in the above-described manner in some areas, there would be a stiff fine, loss of the permit (however legal it may have been originally), and henceforth no ownership of any firearms, concealed or otherwise. It’s possible Georgia’s law (if any) regarding brandishing is too vaguely worded to be of much use.

  19. Akira MacKenzie says

    We had a player in my old AD&D group who, upon getting his CCP wore his piece EVERYWHERE, including the game table. The GM, whose house we were playing in, politely asked if he could leave his pistol in his car. He didn’t challenge the player’s right to own a gun, he didn’t question the player’s ability to carry the gun safely, but the GM did have a child and since accidents do happen to even the most cautious he felt more comfortable if the player refrained from bringing his gun to the game.

    Predictably enough, the player became extremely indignant. “You’re saying I’m not safe unless I’m rendered helpless!? That I can’t be trusted with my RIGHTS!?” He went on to explain how he was a “business man” (i.e. He used to sell cheap swords and knives at the local Ren Faire.) and needed to be armed for his protection. (He failed to specify whom he needed protection from.) Being a vocal Libertarian ( surprise, surprise) we told him that since this was the GM private property, he can make whatever rules regarding it he wished. At this point, the player evoked his “freedom of association” and quit the group.

    Ironic footnote: I relayed the story to my extremely right-wing, vehemently pro-gun father and even he thought the player was acting like an asshole. Dad even went so far as to say “If he’s going to behave like that, then he shouldn’t own a gun.”

  20. says

    Gun culture in the US is such a strange beast. It is amazing, I could drive less than 100 km south and enter a country with many cultural similarities, but has a significant number of people with a very, very different relationship with guns, one that seems to be based on self protection fantasies far too often. I am not so much made uncomfortable by the fact there are so many gun owners, that they can have totally pointless and impractical weapons, or even be carrying them in the streets, but the gun culture that makes people like this feel the need to show them off and that there are many that really seem to relish in getting a chance to use them.

  21. says

    I remember once reading a story about native american man with impaired hearing, who walked down the street, minding his business, and carving something out of piece of wood. Carving was his means of living.

    Along came a cop who stopped his car, got out of it, shouted at the man, followed him and shot him in the back multiple times and was NOT found guilty with murder.

    Just one story of so many that do not make their way over the atlantic onto my screen.

    So I think the assumption about this guy being cheese white is pretty safe, as well as the assumption that had his skin collor been just a tad darker, things would have gone rather differently.

    American gun culture is incomprehensible.

  22. says

    Travis, don’t forget that we have our share of people in Canada who’d like American style concealed carry laws up here.(It is technically possible to get a conceal carry permit in Canada, but they’re very rare.) Not that it will happen. Even our current “Even America’s poop is precious gold!” government know they’d lose a lot of voters if they even hinted at such a thing, and also know the gun crowd is more likely to vote for them no matter what they do.

  23. says

    Georgia has a “stand your ground” law, so if an armed person feels threatened by an unarmed person (a la Zimmerman) he can shoot to kill. Yet these parents with children, who clearly felt threatened, evidenced by calling 911 twenty-two times and hiding their kids in the dugout, had no recourse, and got no help from police.

    If a parent had been armed, and killed the man, that would have been perfectly legal under the law. It seems obvious that the lawmakers want everyone to be armed, and to shoot each other.

    My brain hurts.

  24. ck says

    But seriously, people like that will help make a change as more and more voters realized that these gun fanatics are dangerous idiots.

    I’ve repeatedly read that something like 90% of people in the U.S. support gun control. How much more support is required before something can be done?

  25. says

    timgueguen #27

    Travis, don’t forget that we have our share of people in Canada who’d like American style concealed carry laws up here.

    Oh, I know we have them, but in my experience it is not nearly as pervasive of an idea. I’ve known a lot of gun owners and very few have owned them for protecting themselves against scary people or were even concerned about that.

  26. The Mellow Monkey: Non-Hypothetical says

    Charly @ 26

    I remember once reading a story about native american man with impaired hearing, who walked down the street, minding his business, and carving something out of piece of wood. Carving was his means of living.

    Along came a cop who stopped his car, got out of it, shouted at the man, followed him and shot him in the back multiple times and was NOT found guilty with murder.

    The victim’s name was John T. Williams, a Nitinaht carver. He was deaf in one ear and hearing impaired in the other. Officer Ian Birk approached him from behind and used verbal orders to drop the knife, then shot five times. The Seattle Police Department attempted to lie about how this happened, but witnesses came forward to correct their version.

    I’m impressed by how well you remembered the details of that story.

    Here’s an article on it.

    It was also evident that Birk never identified himself as an officer of the law—the witness nearest to the shooting testified at the inquest that she heard Birk yelling, but ignored it as a common occurrence on a downtown street. “If I had heard ‘Stop! Police!’ I would definitely have stopped and turned around,” she stated on the witness stand. As documented in his patrol car’s camera footage, Birk fired his weapon within four seconds of issuing the commands for Williams to drop the knife. The bullets struck Williams’s right side, indicating that he was not facing the officer at the time of the shooting. Found close to the scene was William’s three-inch pocketknife—shorter than the legal limit for a blade in the city of Seattle—that he used for carving.

    Brown man carries a knife he can legally carry and he’s shot to death. White man brandishes a gun and police shrug. Racism and white privilege is so intimately intertwined in this.

  27. Arawhon, a Strawberry Margarita says

    Charly #26

    John T. Williams was his name. He was deaf in one ear and quite ill from alcoholism. He sold carvings at Pike Place Market. He was siting, making another carving when the cop stopped, got out of his car, and began yelling at Mr. Williams. The cop then shot and killed him for failing to put down his small knife and piece of wood. Many across the state called for prosecution of the officer, the King County prosecutor refused to do so, much like he had for a violent racist cop caught on video stomping on a Latino man’s head.

  28. Eirik van der Meer says

    I’d say there was an implicit threat
    Oh, grow up. These loons are the gun-version of “free speech”‘ers, doing things for no other reason than that they can. The point wasn’t to threaten anyone but to flaunt their rights in the most provocative manner possible to prove a point. I think they primarily proved that they are assholes, but that’s their problem.

    I try to keep my guns out of other peoples view. They are nobody’s business but my own, and the last thing I need is some hysterical person calling in the storm troopers.

    If if had been a black man with the gun, though, I wonder how well that would have gone down
    No you don’t, we all know how that would have turned out.

  29. Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought says

    Eirik van der Meer

    The point wasn’t to threaten anyone but to flaunt their rights in the most provocative manner possible to prove a point. I think they primarily proved that they are assholes, but that’s their problem.

    I would consider a loaded gun being brandished in my presence an implicit threat, certainly.
    But then again, I don’t live in US or some other gun-fetishizing country so my standards are a bit different.

  30. raefn says

    There’s a word I’ve seen, that I think is highly descriptive of gun nuts -

    Ammosexual.

    Says it all, really.

  31. Desert Son, OM says

    burgundy at #31:

    Wendy Davis supports open carry as well. Yay Texas!

    Well, crap, I didn’t know this. Thank you for the alert.

    *sigh*

    Still learning,

    Robert

  32. Rich Woods says

    @Erik #34:

    and the last thing I need is some hysterical person calling in the storm troopers.

    This says so much about you. Thanks for sharing.

  33. johnmarley says

    @raefn (#36)
    yeah. These types bring this Cyanide and Happiness short to mind:

  34. Eirik van der Meer says

    @Rich #38:
    I wish that was paranoia, but sadly it isn’t anymore. Even before the Utøya-massacre people and the police have become increasingly hysterical about guns, there has been several incidents where completely legal hunting has produced an armed response from the police.

    I’m not saying it’s likely, it’s just something I’d rather avoid if possible.

    @Beatrice #35: I see your point and I wouldn’t appreciate it or feel completely safe. Yet one should distinguish between an actual threat and a perceived one.

  35. David Chapman says

    34
    Eirik van der Meer

    5
    PZ Myers

    I’d say there was an implicit threat,

    Oh, grow up.

    ?!??!!!?

    These loons are the gun-version of “free speech”‘ers, doing things for no other reason than that they can. The point wasn’t to threaten anyone but to flaunt their rights in the most provocative manner possible to prove a point.

    And what would be the most provocative manner possible ( that is, without getting arrested?) Well, implicitly threatening people of course. That is, threatening people in such a way that you can claim you’re not threatening people.

    I think they primarily proved that they are assholes, but that’s their problem.

    Er, no. It’s quite clear that when this creep is strutting his stuff, it’s everybody’s problem. As for ‘growing up,’ a large part of the problem was that this creep was setting out to intimidate children, who most definitely felt threatened. ( See News Report. )

  36. methuseus says

    I would personally have called the cops on this man, and told them I would be down the road, with my children well away from a man yelling about how he had a gun and nobody can do anything about it. There’s the implied threat, and, if he were in my home, I could shoot him under stand your ground and get off scot free.

  37. mikeyb says

    Georgia has just plunged into new levels of insanity with their new gun law, which will predictably lead to similar proposals in conservative states and many more unnecessary gun related deaths. I think the ultimate goal should be to replace public schools with gun safety schools and diplomas with your choice of a gun.

  38. says

    So if someone felt threatened and shot him dead, could they use the ‘stand your ground’ defense?

    After all, the brandisher wouldn’t be around to tell the judge he was only excercising his rights?

  39. says

    Everyone knows that the NRA recently held its annual meeting at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, right? Lot’s of off-the-wall radical rightwing stuff was said, but Sarah Palin may have taken the prize for amply demonstrating why people like her waving a gun around should be cause for concern. She demonstrates a lack of judgement, and she adheres to a knowledge stream so narrow that it eliminates most of reality.

    Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin (R) says she wouldn’t be afraid to torture terrorists if she were president.

    “C’mon! Enemies who would utterly annihilate America, they would obviously have information on plots. They carry out jihad. Oh, but you can’t offend them. Can’t make them feel uncomfortable, not even a smidgen,” Palin said on Saturday during a speech at the National Rifle Association’s “Stand And Fight” rally. “Well, if I were in charge, they would know that waterboarding is how we baptize terrorists.” […]

    The rally, held at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, was part of the NRA’s annual meeting.

    Palin also warned the crowd that there are increased efforts to strip their gun rights. She said that Obama is trying to use gun control policy to control Americans.

    “If you control oil, you control an economy. If you control money, you control commerce,” she said. “But if you control arms, you control the people, and that is what they’re trying to do.”[…]

    Where I live, I have heard from otherwise reasonable people that Obama is trying to take away our guns, and that gun control is just a way to chip away at the 2nd Amendment.

  40. Eirik van der Meer says

    This isn’t the first time this happens, although it’s the most extreme case I’ve ever heard of. As I frequent some gun-boards I think I understand how their minds (doesn’t) work, they see guns as a fundamental right and pulling off stunts like this as the best way of protecting that right.

    Although people naturally feel threatened by this sort of action I do not think that is their intention. That doesn’t mean that these guys are harmless, far from it, but not to the general public in a situation like this. A lot of these people have a scary fetish for self-defense that can get you shot the second they have legal grounds to do so.

  41. HappyNat says

    Lynna OM #46

    Where I live, I have heard from otherwise reasonable people that Obama is trying to take away our guns, and that gun control is just a way to chip away at the 2nd Amendment.

    I’ve gotten into this conversation with a couple different associates as well. When I ask why he hasn’t started taking guns away yet and why any legislative move to restrict guns doesn’t make it out of the starting gate. They shake their heads and say “it’s coming”. Like Obama is waiting for his last day in office to go door to door and remove all guns personally. The paranoia is really deep with the gun issue.

  42. Forbidden Snowflake says

    methuseus:
    if he were in my home, I could shoot him under stand your ground and get off scot free.
    Correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t the point of stand your ground that it doesn’t matter where it happens?

  43. Desert Son, OM says

    Eirik van der Meer at #34:.

    The point wasn’t to threaten anyone but to flaunt their rights in the most provocative manner possible to prove a point.

    and again Eirik van der Meer at #47:

    Although people naturally feel threatened by this sort of action I do not think that is their intention.

    Yet another in a long line of things for which intent is not magic. In the mind of the gun-waver the point may have been right-flaunting, but that does not mean parents, children, and others in a public space see that. It also doesn’t mean that right-flaunting is the right thing to do in that space and context. Not to mention, it’s also entirely possible that the gun-waver wanted to flaunt rights and threaten others. Those two conditions are not necessarily mutually exclusive.

    That doesn’t mean that these guys are harmless, far from it, but not to the general public in a situation like this.

    That’s quite a hypothetical leap to make. If I am out in public, and someone begins brandishing a weapon, by definition I cannot know with certainty that this armed individual is not a threat to little old general public without access to a whole slew of other information currently superseded by the presence of the fucking weapon.

    Still learning,

    Robert

  44. says

    Although people naturally feel threatened by this sort of action I do not think that is their intention.

    swell. and now explain how a person should be able to distinguish a gun-nut brandishing his weapon but has no intent of shooting from one brandishing a weapon with the intent of shooting or one with no intent of shooting but lack of competence for preventing an accident? BEFORE someone gets shot?

    Oh that’s right, it’s not possible. So brandishing a weapon is threatening per-se, intent notwithstanding since intent isn’t visible.

  45. Lofty says

    I gather the police checked his gun license and saw he was indeed “a good guy with a gun”, that is a member of a long standing local conservative white family.

  46. zmidponk says

    Eirik van der Meer #34:

    “I’d say there was an implicit threat”
    Oh, grow up. These loons are the gun-version of “free speech”‘ers, doing things for no other reason than that they can. The point wasn’t to threaten anyone but to flaunt their rights in the most provocative manner possible to prove a point. I think they primarily proved that they are assholes, but that’s their problem.

    Maybe the intended point was to simply exercise their ‘rights’ in as provocative manner possible, but the way this person chose to do that was to publicly demonstrate and proclaim he was carrying a device with the sole purpose of maiming and/or killing, for no apparent reason, at a Little League field. When someone does something like this, it’s not exactly a huge leap to conclude that maybe he’s saying that because he’s threatening to use it – and that’s exactly why it’s so provocative. The implicit threats are the provocative part.

    I try to keep my guns out of other peoples view.

    But if showing people weapons isn’t making any kind of threat, why is this? After all, if you show weapons, you’re just exercising your rights, which, from what you’ve just said, cannot, in any way, be a threat, so why try to ‘keep them out of other people’s view’? I suspect the answer is that you actually realise that people can and do feel threatened by weapons, so, by displaying weapons, you actually make implied threats, even if that is not your intention, so you actually do the responsible thing and not display weapons without good cause.

    They are nobody’s business but my own, and the last thing I need is some hysterical person calling in the storm troopers.

    So it’s ‘hysterical’ to call the ‘storm troopers’ because someone is walking down the street publicly brandishing a weapon, presumably because there is no way of definitely knowing, for absolute certainty, they are actually going to use it. So, at what point, precisely, does it become not hysterical? When someone has it in their hand? What about when they raise it up and point it at somebody? I can think of circumstances for those things happening that don’t involve violence or the threat of violence, so surely that would still be ‘hysterical’? Or maybe there’s actually valid reasons for feeling threatened by weapons (something I would have thought is extremely obvious, given the meaning of the word ‘weapon’), and someone’s not being ‘hysterical’ simply because they think there is sufficient cause to believe a crime is about to be committed in a situation where you think there is not sufficient reason to think that (and this goes doubly for situations that they actually find themselves in, but you are merely commenting on after the fact, having heard about it second, third or fourth-hand, and triply so if you’re merely making a general statement about general situations).

  47. karellen says

    @Bronze Dog #11: Huh? Are knives and swords not similarly protected by the 2nd amendment?

    The idea that USA has an article in its constitution[0] which specifically allows people to be armed for… whatever reasons, but is interpreted to mean that they can only arm themselves with weapons that can be used effectively with almost no training to kill people at a distance, and not with weapons which require significant practice to use effectively and only work on people less than a meter away, is even more absurd than I originally thought.

    [0] Is there a short phrase for this? It is incorrect to refer to it as a “law”, right?

  48. burgundy says

    karellen – the guns-only bit makes more sense in the particular historical context in which the amendment was written. It refers specifically to the importance of a ‘well-regulated militia.’ It wasn’t written with self-defense in mind (or at least, individual-level self-defense, defending yourself against a fellow citizen.) Knives are less important to collective defense. I think that maybe the idea of knife ownership as something to be protected or even commented upon was not really in play, either.

    I don’t know enough about firearms to compare modern guns to what was available in the late 18th century, but my guess (correct me if I’m wrong) is that the mayhem-to-training ratio is much larger now.

  49. zmidponk says

    karellen #56:

    @Bronze Dog #11: Huh? Are knives and swords not similarly protected by the 2nd amendment?

    The idea that USA has an article in its constitution[0] which specifically allows people to be armed for… whatever reasons, but is interpreted to mean that they can only arm themselves with weapons that can be used effectively with almost no training to kill people at a distance, and not with weapons which require significant practice to use effectively and only work on people less than a meter away, is even more absurd than I originally thought.

    The actual text of the 2nd Amendment is this:

    A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

    IANAL, but, as I understand it, the way this has been interpreted by the courts is that, as firearms are weapons that would be used in such a ‘well regulated Militia’, those are protected, but, as knives and swords would not really be used in such a militia (at least, in modern times), those are not protected, so can be regulated and controlled.

  50. says

    burgundy 57

    Not even then, really. At the time the Constitution was framed, swords were still legitimate weapons of war, although not usually for infantry (which describes the militia), who generally used a bayoneted musket. That said, the bayonet and related blades would definitely qualify, although most forms of knives wouldn’t even have been seen as ‘arms’ at the time, nor would a white person carrying one be considered to be armed for legal purposes. Slaves were explicitly prohibited knives above a certain length in many jurisdictions, but even there for the most part a knife was thought of as a tool, because in the agrarian society that was in place at the time, a knife is a tool of a million and a half uses, the vast majority of which are nonviolent.

  51. burgundy says

    Dalillama – awesome, thanks! That’s more or less what I was thinking re: knives, but explained much better.

  52. says

    Showing a weapon has to be taken as a threat… if not, if it actually requires that you wait until the gun is pointed at you before you can consider it a threat… that’s TOO LATE, isn’t it?

    You don’t wait until too late.

    The gun lobby is either sending a very mixed message “You can carry a gun anywhere” “you can kill anyone you think is a threat” “you should have a gun in case someone else pulls one”, or a very simple one.
    “Open fire!”

  53. says

    Eirik van der Meer

    These loons are the gun-version of “free speech”‘ers, doing things for no other reason than that they can.

    The difference being that speech can’t kill people, not on purpose and not by accident. As a result, it may not be entirely unreasonable for people to react differently to provocative speech and provocative gun brandishing.

    Although people naturally feel threatened by this sort of action I do not think that is their intention.

    It doesn’t take intent. All it takes is one moment of carelessness. If your kid is dead, I doubt it’s much comfort to know that the shooter didn’t mean it.

  54. says

    What I was referring to was an absurd double-standard.

    I expect people would see someone waving a sword around as obviously threatening. The police would arrest him and we wouldn’t be likely to encounter anyone defending his actions. Meanwhile, we have someone waving a gun around to similar effect in a country where gun crime isn’t unusual. The police don’t do anything and we have apologists trying to tell us it’s not obviously threatening, we’re just crybabies.

  55. says

    I would consider a loaded gun being brandished in my presence an implicit threat, certainly.

    Showing a weapon has to be taken as a threat… if not, if it actually requires that you wait until the gun is pointed at you before you can consider it a threat… that’s TOO LATE, isn’t it?

    It rather fall under the rules of firearms usage: Don’t pull it out, don’t point it anywhere, unless you intend to use it. I have to assume all gun owners are proper stewards of their weapons, so I have to assume that if I see your weapon, it is a threat.

  56. Menyambal says

    georgewiman @ #16:

    I posted this story on G+ and it was quickly buried in over 100 comments (a record for me) from gun-fondlers telling me that the people who called 911 were frightened little girls.

    The people who called 911 were the parents of frightened little girls, probably. Or maybe they were even frightened little girls, literally, with cell phones. Or, parents of little girls who were frightened for their children, and who did their best to stop the crazy in a nonviolent way.

    Besides, aren’t we supposed to be frightened by someone with a gun, according to the gun-fondlers? Burglars, dope fiends and school shootin’ maniacs are all pants-wettingly afraid of guns, aren’t they? Or do guns just spread an aura of calm reasonableness that lets us all make good decisions?

  57. says

    @65 Menyambal – “The people who called 911 were the parents of frightened little girls, probably. Or maybe they were even frightened little girls, literally, with cell phones. Or, parents of little girls who were frightened for their children, and who did their best to stop the crazy in a nonviolent way.”

    Very likely. I don’t know why little girls are exemplars of lacking courage though. They live in a world where practically everyone is more powerful than they are.

    “Besides, aren’t we supposed to be frightened by someone with a gun, according to the gun-fondlers?”
    That is a very good point.

    @17 The Count – “I’ve noticed similar outbursts in the comments area of many sites. I’m starting to wonder if the NRA has a spider that looks for certain keywords on some (more popular?) sites and if it gets a hit they put out a call and NRAte comments like we Pharyngulate polls. Who knows.”

    That makes sense. The thread is up to 119 comments, or 39 times the average for my stream. That probably isn’t coincidental. The gun nuts must have some kind of response group or process.

  58. Menyambal says

    Yeah, I posted a comment here, once, about guns. It got copied over into a post by PZ (so proud), and a couple of people that I had never heard of before popped in to call it shit, with no argument or explanation or refutation. Then they vaporized, never to be heard of again.

    And yeah, at my elementary school, little girls are not frightened.

  59. bytee says

    Hi to all my American friends. Here in Australia, I am somewhat of a rare beast. I own handguns. Entirely for sport, not self-protection. If I where stupid enough to wear it in public, brandish it, have it concealed on my person, have it anywhere but locked up at home or out on a police approved shooting venue, I lose my licence, my guns and my ability to ever get them back. (Plus a date in court) If I have an argument with my neighbour and tell him that I own a gun, I have committed an assault. I don’t even have to show him the gun. Our laws are tough, but they are workable and Gun Control can be achieved if enough citizens want it. Our police very rarely get in trouble for shooting an unarmed person. Why? Because they know that there’s little chance that a random suspect actually has them out-gunned. Therefore they’re careful, but they don’t have to be paranoid. Your gun nuts rely on the 2nd AMENDMENT, so I have a question. If the US Constitution, which I know is held in very high regard, is capable of being AMENDED, then why not AMEND it. Failing that, if you want to live in a Western style democracy with Gun Control, emigrate to Oz. You’d be welcome.

  60. hexidecima says

    wonderful. An example of how idiots think their gun is a replacement for their phallus.

    To quote my husband: “I have never felt so scared to need a god or a gun.” And yes, you can make this a bumper sticker if you feel like it. just let me know velkyn at Comcast.net…….

  61. says

    bytee #68

    If the US Constitution, which I know is held in very high regard, is capable of being AMENDED, then why not AMEND it.

    There are a couple of somewhat interrelated reasons. One is cultural, which is that a significant portion of the body politic considers the Constitution (along with the first 10 amendments but no others), to be akin to Holy Writ, and are highly resistant to changing it (although some want to change it back, by removing all the bits that say people who aren’t white men have any rights.) The second is that the actual process for amending it is extremely cumbersome. To do so requires that a 2/3 majority in both Federal Houses of Congress propose an amendment (or that 2/3 of the state legislatures do so, but this has never happened), and then that 3/4 of the states ratify it either by majority vote in the legislature or in a popular referendum. This was one thing when there were 13 states, meaning that it only needed 9 legislatures to agree, but today we need 38 state legislatures (or referenda) to ratify one, and a 2/3 majority in Congress to propose one, and there are several sparsely populated and heavily conservative leaning states whose legislatures are even more conservative leaning due to gerrymandering, such that it is functionally impossibly to get the requisite 38 states together to do it, even though the dozen-odd that can be relied on to block it probably make ~10-15% at most of the actual population.(that’s an off the cuff estimate; I’m in a hurry).

  62. scourge99 says

    Most states have laws for “disorderly conduct” which this would fall under if a cop was so inclined.

    Also, there are laws against brandishing a firearm in my state (Arizona).

    So this wouldn’t flt. Even in my gun happy, open carry, no license required to carry, wild west state.

  63. A Masked Avenger says

    Several people here are demonstrating a dangerous ignorance of the law. For example, a few people speak of “brandishing.” Having a holstered firearm is not considered “brandishing,” either legally or in the dictionary sense. Brandishing requires having a firearm in your hands, at minimum, out of it’s holster. This idiot displayed a holstered firearm only.

    There are only a few jurisdictions like Florida that prohibit any exposure of a concealed firearm, but there it’s not called “brandishing,” but rather “improper exhibition.” Many jurisdictions have actual “brandishing” laws, using that word. Florida doesn’t: there’s improper exhibition, and then there’s assault. Threatening is assault, without any necessity of actually carrying it out or touching anyone. Pennsylvania has no laws against displaying a firearm, but threatening with a firearm is assault.

    The dangerous bit is that NO jurisdiction allows you to shoot a person with a holstered firearm and call it “self defense.” No jurisdiction accepts “I was scared” as sufficient justification of self defense. You need to articulate why you believed that he actually intended to harm you, that he was able to do so, and that responding with force was necessary to prevent the harm. In addition, your explanation must pass the “reasonable person” test. That last bit is fairly subjective, and will depend on the locale. A man with a rifle and scope is a very different critter depending whether he’s in the woods on opening day, or in the bell tower before commencement, and whether he’s in Syracuse or New York City.

    Anger about unequal justice is right. Doing something about it is right. Promulgating dangerous falsehoods about the law is dangerous, and unworthy of anyone who clad to be rational. Lies don’t help truth win out.

  64. Eirik van der Meer says

    @LykeX #62:
    I think part of their intent was to show that a gun doesn’t automatically kill anyone. Someone carried a gun in public, yet nobody got killed or hurt. If anybody got scared, that’s their problem because people shouldn’t feel threatened by legal guns. That’s at least my impression of these guys.

    Remember, they consider them self the “good guys”, it’s the bad guys with guns you should be afraid of. Problem is, they haven’t come up with a reliable system for distinguishing these two categories. Except for the obvious one that is, if somebody pulls a gun and you die they were bad.

  65. says

    I don’t particularly care what stories these people tell themselves to justify their behavior. I’m sure this guy considers himself a responsible gun owner, but he’s not. I don’t see how why I have to lend any credence to this moron’s self-delusions.

  66. A Masked Avenger says

    I think part of their intent was to show that a gun doesn’t automatically kill anyone. Someone carried a gun in public, yet nobody got killed or hurt.

    Among firearm owners, “open carry” is intended to do just that: acclimate people to seeing ordinary people, armed, behaving no differently than anyone else (apart from the fact of being armed). However, those folks show a range of behaviors, including this guy’s. Many–I have no idea what percentage–would condemn this guy for behaving in a weird, disturbing way. If their agenda is to demonstrate that gun owners are normal people, acting like loons is counterproductive.

    By the way, I said earlier that being armed isn’t a priori justification of a forcible response–but it does factor into other behaviors like cornering people, muttering strangely, verbalizing threats, etc. if an armed person gets into a screaming match with you and then suddenly reaches toward his firearm, he’s asking to get shot, even if he was only wanting to scratch his butt.

  67. Dave, ex-Kwisatz Haderach says

    Considering that a 5 sec google search turns up dozens of incidents of holstered firearms accidentally discharging, I’m not sure that fact that he kept it in the holster is in any way a comfort.

  68. Menyambal says

    And considering that the gun fantasy includes a lightning-quick draw, a holstered gun can be out and bucking in a fist before you can say, “Louis L’Amour”.

  69. Xaivius (Formerly Robpowell, Acolyte of His Majesty Lord Niel DeGrasse Tyson I) says

    It’s really interesting to me that most rational people would have very little problem with individuals carrying firearms if there were consistent laws and regulations in place that made some sense, like quarterly/annual training requirements, Staying in touch with the local PD, etc.

    Considering that a 5 sec google search turns up dozens of incidents of holstered firearms accidentally discharging, I’m not sure that fact that he kept it in the holster is in any way a comfort.
    Dave, ex-Kwisatz Haderach

    Negligent Discharges are one of those things that make me advocate that all people carrying firearms (including military/police) ensure that their weapons have no round chambered (“condition three” in Cooperese) and are carried in a safe configuration when not in use (i.e Proper, well maintained holster and belt for pistols, proper well maintained sling/scabbard for long-arms)

    Among firearm owners, “open carry” is intended to do just that: acclimate people to seeing ordinary people, armed, behaving no differently than anyone else (apart from the fact of being armed). However, those folks show a range of behaviors, including this guy’s. Many–I have no idea what percentage–would condemn this guy for behaving in a weird, disturbing way. If their agenda is to demonstrate that gun owners are normal people, acting like loons is counterproductive.

    By the way, I said earlier that being armed isn’t a priori justification of a forcible response–but it does factor into other behaviors like cornering people, muttering strangely, verbalizing threats, etc. if an armed person gets into a screaming match with you and then suddenly reaches toward his firearm, he’s asking to get shot, even if he was only wanting to scratch his butt.
    A Masked Avenger

    Visible presence of a weapon is, barring visible , a priori escalation. We’ve seen time and time again that the visible presence of a weapon creates a change in interaction, as you’ve pointed out. As much as I have an intense dislike of the amount of ignorant fear-mongering among some people over firearms, this man’s action is still brandishing in WA state (RCW 9.41.270)

  70. Xaivius (Formerly Robpowell, Acolyte of His Majesty Lord Niel DeGrasse Tyson I) says

    Ack. Meant to have that last clause be as follows:

    barring visible identification of the possessor as a member of law enforcement or military

  71. caesar says

    I have no problem with open carry, although I personally wouldn’t do it because it draws attention to yourself, and if a bad guy were to see it, you would probably be the 1st person to get shot.

  72. Eirik van der Meer says

    @ #75: I agree, this seems to be the goal in most cases. But I can’t see how that’s supposed to work, as behaving normally doesn’t include flashing your gun to others.
    I think many would be surprised to learn exactly how many normal, responsible persons there are out there carrying a gun (if that satisfies your definition of normal and responsible), I don’t think these loons are representative of gun owners, not even in the US.

  73. zmidponk says

    A Masked Avenger #72:

    Several people here are demonstrating a dangerous ignorance of the law. For example, a few people speak of “brandishing.” Having a holstered firearm is not considered “brandishing,” either legally or in the dictionary sense. Brandishing requires having a firearm in your hands, at minimum, out of it’s holster. This idiot displayed a holstered firearm only.

    I’m no lawyer, so I’ll take your word for it for the legal sense of ‘brandish’, and all the stuff you wrote about the legalities of when you can or cannot display your weapon and so forth, but Mirriam Webster, for example, disagrees with you about the dictionary sense, and the dictionary sense was the way I was using that word:

    Full Definition of BRANDISH

    1: to shake or wave (as a weapon) menacingly
    2: to exhibit in an ostentatious or aggressive manner

    The second part of that definition fits what this guy was doing perfectly – he was ostentatiously making the point that he had a weapon by showing it to people and quite aggressively making the point that no-one could do anything about it.

  74. scourge99 says

    At a minimum he could be charged with disorderly conduct.

    In Arizona, if you “recklessly display” a firearm, its a felony. See ARS 13-2904 section B.

    Its a class 1 misdemeanor to intentionally disturb the peace and quiet of a neighborhood, family or person…

    Once again, all this nonsense about crazy gun owners is prevented by laws in most (all?) states.