I was thinking of an idea for a post, but as I was thinking it up, I got that dejavu feeling you get if you’ve been blogging a while “I know I’ve blogged about this before.” So rather than revisit the topic again, I’ll just link to it. Why you don’t have the option of not caring what other people think about your movement. I think a lot of gun owners are independent minded libertarian types that ideally prefer to do what they want, and screw what other people think. In a world dedicated to libertarian principles (i.e. not the world we live in) you could get away with that. But in a world where a minority is trying to convince a majority to accept its culture and habits, you have to care what the average joe thinks. It’s tempting to believe the average joe accepts what you do, or doesn’t care, and that might even be the case, but the fact that I know I need Joe’s consent to continue doing what I do is one of the reasons I get paranoid about this stuff.
The media environment has changed greatly for us in the past decade, and it’s largely been in our favor. I know it sounds crazy to believe, because a lot of gun owners believe the media just hates us, and we shouldn’t care what they think, but that’s courting disaster. If the media’s treatment of the gun issue today turns your stomach, it would have given you a full case of dysentery in the 90s. One of the reasons I’m skeptical of open carry as activism is every time I read coverage of the issue in the media, it reminds me of the 1990s media, and I don’t want to go back to that. In addition to that, in various reports or commentary, you’ll notice plenty of gun owners who aren’t particularly enamored with the practice. It’s not like some of the places where open carry has created a backlash in Pennsylvania are hotbeds of anti-gun sentiment — it’s coming from very pro-gun areas. Then you have incidents like in Idaho. Idaho! You don’t get a much more pro-gun culture than that. If all this were limited to anti-gun urban areas where I’d expect people to freak out, I wouldn’t worry as much, but when I start seeing people freak out in Idaho, I wonder whether we may be pushing the issue a bit beyond what we can defend in the public space.
You can disagree with me about open carry, and think I might be worrying too much, but I think it’s hard to argue there’s absolutely no cause for concern at all.