Warning: If you hate guns, you might want to move to the next blog. God knows, if you read on, you might learn how to see things from a different perspective. 😀 We know, for some at least, this simply can’t be allowed to happen. For those made of stronger stuff, welcome to my attempt to foster some understanding.
Let’s set the stage. As you’re shopping in Wal-Mart, you glance over and spot someone openly carrying a pistol. Now, they’re minding their own, simply on a shopping excursion. They haven’t displayed an ounce of aggression, instead they’ve shown themselves to be utterly calm, seeming to desire little more than to move on to the next item on the shopping list.
Welcome to a day in my life. I happen to live in an Open Carry friendly state, for which there is no permit requirement for open carry.
In fact, the only restriction is based on whether or not one is legally permitted to own/possess a firearm. (i.e.- of age, no felony convictions, no domestic violence convictions, no court orders declaring you mentally incompetent, no orders of protection and/or no involvuntary commitments to a psichiatric facility within the last 5 years.)
The sight of someone openly carrying isn’t a worrying one for me, as I generally have a pistol riding on my right hip. In fact, I carry almost everywhere I go, forgoing it only when going into a gun free zone, the shower or my bed. So, the sight of another open carrier is actually an encouraging one.
By now, those who haven’t moved on to the next blog in disgust and outrage are probably wondering why I choose to live in this manner. Normally, I refuse to answer such a question, simply because my reasons are my own, and I’ve no need to justify myself to any but my God, my other half and my children. However, I’ve chosen to make an exception, and here’s why.
This past New Years day, our entire family went to a restaurant for breakfast. My brother and I were both carrying, while our significant others had opted to go unarmed. There we all were, four adults and eight kids. It was a rolling circus. It was a normal family.
Yet, as we’re eating our breakfast, we’re approached by a very inquisitive manager, who wanted to know all about our weapons. He asked all manner of questions, from the legality of it, to why we carry. As always, we were very polite, very informative and hugely respectful. He came away from the conversation better informed and rather encouraged, especially since I informed him that he could regard us as free, volunteer armed security, for the duration of our stay.
As it turns out, his curiousity stemmed from something that happened when we arrived. At the time of our arrival, there was a rather sizeable waiting list, with roughly about 20-25 people waiting to be seated. Initially, we were told our wait was anywhere between 30-40 minutes, depending.
Unbeknownst to us, some of those waiting were rather upset by the fact that we were carrying, as well as the fact that we weren’t immediately kicked out. Their response wasn’t to ask why we weren’t being kicked out, as any adult might do. No, their response was to pull up stakes, and leave for parts unknown.
Personally, it’s of little consequence to me, whether someone else approves of how I choose to live my life. In this situation, their abrupt departure actually did us a favor, suddenly taking our wait time down to ten minutes. For that, I’m thankful for their act of childish discrimination. Waiting a half an hour for anything is bad enough with eight kids, it’s even worse when you’re waiting for a chance to eat, with eight hungry kids.
What I was most fascinated by was the almost casual way that act of discrimination was carried out. These people didn’t know us. They watched us as we waited, as we tried valiantly to prevent the combined force of our children from reducing the building to rubble, all the while unjustly judging us, based on the actions of an exceedingly tiny sliver of our population.
In other circumstances, this would be known as bigotry. Yet, because we’re pro-gun, it’s somehow acceptable. I’ve been denied service at businesses, simply because my legally carried, properly holstered sidearm happened to be visible. No other reason. I’m always polite, even when I’m being discriminated against. (I know what it’s like to be discriminated against, as I’m Latino. It sucks.)
My philosophy is simple. I take my safety and security very seriously. I take the safety and security of my loved ones even more so. As such, I carry a weapon, so that I may be better able to protect those whom I love, with my own life if necessary.
So, when someone tells me that their continued business with me is predicated on my voluntary disarmament, I interpret that to mean they don’t think my money is green enough for them, and I move on to someone who sees it differently. I freely practice that fundamental right of the American consumer: I vote with my bank account.
Just as those people chose to do, when our rights weren’t unceremoniously violated by a business who felt our money was indeed green enough. For this reason, I chose to write on this subject. For the most part, I’m curious. I mean, I’d be lying if I said I didn’t find it even slightly hurtful, in the manner of one harshly judged, but this topic isn’t actually going to change my stance.
I’m really just curious about why it’s perfectly acceptable to discriminate against millions of people who’ve committed no crimes, who pose no threat and whom are mostly content with simply going about their business.