More dangerous open-carry antics

The open-carry movement continues to spawn ridiculous posturing that can easily veer off into tragedy. One recent case involved an elderly white-haired man wearing what looks like pajamas scaring the daylights of people by walking on the sidewalk of a strip mall armed with what looks like some sort of assault rifle and talking about revolution. Several police cars, alerted by several callers expressing alarm at the sight, came and shut down the street and started negotiating with him and finally managed to get him to lay down his weapon.

The police handled the situation quite professionally, though their use of the jaywalking charge as an excuse to force him to identify himself illustrates how we are all in contravention of some law pretty much all the time and can be charged with committing some sort of offense if we are seen as a threat for any reason. The man got his gun back the next day.

But while watching the video, I thought of how differently the police might have reacted and how ugly things could have turned out if it had been a black (and young) man involved who talked of revolution and called the police ‘gang members’ with a ‘history of violence’.

Some people may recall the fuss that ensued when Malcolm X said in a speech in 1965 that “We declare our right on this earth to be a man, to be a human being, to be respected as a human being, to be given the rights of a human being in this society, on this earth, in this day, which we intend to bring into existence by any means necessary.” That last italicized phrase was seen as both a threat and an incitement to violence.


  1. Guess Who? says

    Mano, I agree that had this guy been anything but an old white guy, he would have been shot dead.

  2. richardrobinson says

    This seems relevant:

    The contrast is striking. An older white man carrying an assault rifle and talking about revolution gets talked down. A middle-aged homeless native man whittling with a knife is shot in the back and side four times by the officer who’s shout he was turning to answer.

  3. dean says

    We just had another one of these ass clowns carry a gun into a library during a children’s reading event -- “to protect his daughter”.

    There are some awfully stupid comments left after the article. Kalamazoo may not be as densely populated with the type of conservatives that populate the Grand Rapids/Holland area (the area that gives the world the DeVos family, the guy who started the mercenaries the US used in Iraq, and that “educated” the guy who just unseated Cantor) but the conservatives we have are really proud of their stupidity.

  4. countryboy says

    I’m just waiting for open carry to collide with stand your ground. The results should be interesting.

  5. richardrobinson says

    I’d like to see a parade of visible minorities exercising their open carry rights. That would put an end to this idiocy in a hurry. Or start a civil war. It’s hard to tell with this crowd.

  6. Mano Singham says

    Dean @#3,

    These guys seem to assume that we all know how to distinguish between a person who is carrying a gun for ‘good’ reasons and someone who wears one for ‘bad’ reasons. That is the reason that police wear uniforms, so as not be mistaken for someone with criminal intent.

  7. dean says

    True. Re the situation you posted about. It’s been stressed locally that the guy involved repeatedly told police “I could aim at you,”, “I can threaten you,”, has a history of telling people that there is a revolution coming and people will be fighting police, swore at the police involved in his incident, and more — he’s been defended as a patriot. Switch to stories about a different part of town, with different people, and guess what: many of the folks who defended this guy are arguing for police to come down harder and more violently on “gang bangers who brandish guns and scare people”.

    It’s rather easy to see how these folks distinguish between “people standing up for our rights” and “gangbangers”.

  8. DsylexicHippo says

    About the jaywalking charge -- I wonder what they would have used against him if he was sitting down, say on a park bench.

  9. Trebuchet says

    @2: In what’s generally considered a very liberal city. The death penalty for “whittling while brown.” And I didn’t even follow your link to know what event it was.

  10. astrosmash says

    @Mano @ 6:
    his self-centered attitude that assumes that others can accurately gauge his intent reminds me of our much-missed FTB comrade. Ian Crommunist Cromwell and his brilliant frame of ‘schroedinger’s rapist…Why on earth would anyone but a rank egotist belieev that others can know their mind…? pathetic

  11. Ed says

    I’m not for any kind of open carry, but before this recent nonsense I assumed it meant something like people walking around with a pistol in a hip holster. Some of these large rifles the activists carry are almost impossible to carry without looking like one is ready for immediate combat.

    For example a rifle slung across the front of one’s body with a strap. It’s the equivalent of someone walking around with the 9mm in their hand instead of a holster.

    This threatening a appearance combined with overall aggressive demeanor of a lot of these folks is going to get them shot by a cop, a person with a concealed carry permit or a shopkeeper with a shotgun under the counter. Someone will see them coming and honestly think that they are under attack.

  12. Buddy aka Beverly says

    I was in a conversation that went on for several days with a friend of a friend on Facebook. The person I was conversing with is a self-described Open Carry Gun Enthusiast. He lives in an area that doesn’t not allow for that, yet he wants it and wants to impose it on those who do not want it. He called me a communist, an idiot, asked my what fairytale world I lived in and so on as I tried to reasonably explain some of the reasons I did not feel such a thing should be imposed on law abiding citizens who only wanted to live in peace, not fear. He ended the conversation by saying he hoped I was hurt and killed in the crossfire of an altercation. That only reinforced to me that people who want to go walking around with big ol’ guns, not only want to be the Boss Man and decide what people should or should not be doing, but that they are already hoping for a fight. I removed my comments of several days from my friend’s page and blocked the guy on Facebook, but he knows where I live, has seen my picture. I have not slept well for a couple of days since then. If you don’t think I’m scared, I am. BTW, I’ve never been an anti-gun person and own home protection guns myself, and expressed this several times during this encounter, and I only asked that if people wanted to have the biggest gun collection in the world, that they only carry them out in the open if they are on their way to go hunting or to a firing range and they keep them safe from little kids. He thought that was unreasonable, and for this I do not deserve to live. How did things ever get so crazy.


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