How to Lose Friends and Make Enemies

There is a modest goal of legalizing open carry in Texas. Maybe I’m crazy, or just don’t have a true appreciation for all the subtleties of the use profanity for making one’s point, but I’m going to suggest outbursts like this are doing nothing except helping move more sensible activists farther away from the goal of legal open carry in Texas:

What is the goal of this? The dispute seems to be over the fact that the officers are arresting people for carrying antique firearms openly, which as far as I know is allowed in Texas. But this is a reason we have civil rights lawsuits. The purpose of civil disobedience is to act in a manner that draws attention to your plight and gains public sympathy for it. Its purpose is also to rouse people to action, by showing there are others out there who not only believe in the cause, but are willing to risk prison for it. This is not going to rouse anyone to action. It’s likely going to just alienate people, discourage them from joining our cause because they don’t want to be associated with things like this, nor antagonize law enforcement unnecessarily. None of these things are a winning formula.

Had this been New York, I think a carefully arranged act of civil disobedience would be admirable and appropriate. But even for civil disobedience, this isn’t the way to do it. This is also Texas, and not New York.

Folks need to look at where this issue really is. One quarter of Americans are still perfectly fine with banning handguns, and we still have a plurality that would like “more strict” gun laws, with only 13% wanting fewer laws. We don’t need to be fighting our fellow citizens, and certainly not law enforcement, every step of the way when it comes to moving the ball forward. There is a time and place for civil disobedience, but that place isn’t Texas, and the time isn’t over trying to get open carry legalized.

57 thoughts on “How to Lose Friends and Make Enemies”

  1. It’s all about the attention whoring. They really don’t have an end game. If they get OC legalized, they will stage OC events and act up even more in the name of normalization.

    Anything pafoa
    leonard embody

    1. Yeah….

      Putting California on that list kind of takes you from going “Bad tactics and goals are harmful in advocacy” to “Those dirty OCers need to have their rights taken away.”

      Unless you think the slippery slope of banning first loaded open carry then unloaded pistol carry and unloaded longun carry in California was the fault of Open Carry advocates.

      There’s a line between blaming Open Carry Doofery and excusing the actions of gun controllers.

      1. Still, the OC douches in CA had to keep organizing beach walks and other crap till lawmakers could no longer ignore the stray OC’er. It worked out so well for them. Then they moved to long guns for their OC antics, and that too worked out well.

        1. OC issues in CA started a very long time ago — during Reagan’s time as Governor, IIRC. Back then it was the Black Panthers.

          There is a difference between working — agitating! — for change and convincing the Gummint you or your group are a genuine threat to them. And they kinda have police and courts and judges. It’s actually pretty hard to whup that with outrage — and dammed hard to claim the moral high ground while shouting “F-cking punk-a$$ b!tches” at the cops, especially when they appear to be going out of their way to not get out the pepper spray and the jumbo party-size pack of plastic handcuffs.

          If you wanna be a martyr, you better start out saintly.

          1. “If you wanna be a martyr, you better start out saintly.”

            Perfectly stated.

    2. Nope it’s about defending rights. It’s clear you don’t understand that, hence are on our side.

      I see mike and Dave, the tyranny militia, are spouting their worthless thoughts again.

        1. Yep this is you standard argument for those who fail to line up behind a bunch to tobacco chewing foul mouth fatasses who have appointed themselves as our representatives. These nitwits are not doing anyone any good, and it’s worse that they think these videos are positive PR.

      1. The folks in the video have successfully used their firearms to defend themselves from their own right foot.

  2. I’d like to know why these guys are shooting videos in 4×3 format and not 16×9 and 1080HD?

  3. Is it just over the profanity? I mean, I get that it can be offensive to some people, and that the language could turn some fence sitters off. But, people who have taken an oath to uphold the law and the constitution should be publicly shamed and heckled.

    The first individual that was arrested was sitting peacefully. We’ve seen the same thing occur elsewhere – and when the cops broke out the zip cuffs and pepper spray, people were rightly indignant and loud about it.

    Outside of the profanity, how is it any different than some of the hyperbole and name calling that occurs (on this blog and others) directed toward public servants who do the wrong thing? They absolutely deserve the public tongue lashing and deserve to be called out on their actions.

    1. On this blog, after the fact, is not on the news and youtube during the event.

      Here’s the deal, if the goal is truly to win, and not just make yourself feel good or feed your ego, you do -nothing- that cannot possibly further that goal. If it can be interpreted or misinterpreted as negative by the undecided bystander, and is not absolutely necessary to that goal (like simply OC-ing a holstered normal pistol at the OC event) don’t do it.

      In the case of expanding free exercise of carry that means you dress, speak and act in an utterly non-threatening, polite, manner. No aggressive clothing or statements or actions or profanity. Dress and act like Mormon missionaries on casual Friday.

      1. “On this blog, after the fact, is not on the news and youtube during the event.”

        Oh.. I get it. Don’t call attention. Only speak out in a forum where most of the public will never hear you. Gotcha.

        “Dress and act like Mormon missionaries on casual Friday.”

        Well then, since it worked out so well for the Mormons…. oh, wait….

        1. “Oh.. I get it. Don’t call attention. Only speak out in a forum where most of the public will never hear you. Gotcha.”

          There is a difference between not speaking out and swearing and looking like a fool, you know it, I know it, let’s not pretend we don’t know it.

        2. You have that exactly backwards.

          When we “speak out” where the people who don’t really -care- about our issue, which people we absolutely must have neutral, if not actually positive, about us and our issue in order to succeed in achieving our goals, we need to not look like threatening nutjobs or petulant douchebags.

          Those people -must- see us as non-threatening and rational as the anti’s and their lapdogs in the media will seize any opportunity to magnify any idiocy like these jack-offs showed to tar all of us with the same brush.

          Winning has two basic rules. Don’t interrupt your enemy when he is in the process of making a mistake and don’t hand your enemy the rope he needs to hang you with.

          As for the conservative dressing, the people we -must- have on our side do not see boonie covers, t-shirts with Patrick Henry quotes, camouflage pants, and slung M4-geries as the attire of normal, well-adjusted people with whom they want to associate nor whom they want around their children.

          All that crap is counter-productive, “Look at me I’m a real PATRIOT, hur-de-hur”, posturing. It plays well with the other idiots, but not with the non-aligned folks we need well-disposed toward us to actually, you know, maintain our current free exercise of our rights in some “battleground” states, much less expand it.

          1. Like said. I could have done without the profanity as well. But, there it is.

            When I talk to people that are neutral about incidents like this, I try to remind them that there are likely issues which they are just as passionate about. That there are issues that could illicit a similar response. Much of the time, they come around.

            The people we must have on our side probably don’t see ass-less chaps and ball gags as the attire of normal, well adjusted people either. But they’ve certainly come around to supporting the rights of people, regardless.

            I’m sorry that you find historical, meaningful quotes counter-productive.

            1. There’s little evidence the Gay Pride parade extravaganzas had a -positive- effect on normalization. In fact given the different media environment of the ’70s they provided evidence of how dangerous and disruptive flamboyant homosexuals were to those not predisposed to be on their side.

              Instead it was and is the quiet, rational arguments presenting gays as “people like us” that have moved the needle, to the point where even the gay community is arguing over whether the parade public exhibitionism is counter-productive to their normalization efforts.

              And the fact that one-on-one discussions can -counteract- the initial negative impression is fine, but only to the extent that it is recognized that the initial impression is negative and that we can’t positively have that one-on-one with the millions of voters we need to accept us as “normal.”

              Better and smarter, tactically and strategically to avoid the problem by not -creating- the negative impression in the first place.

              Similarly, historical quotes are only meaningful in -context- when they can be explained to those unfamiliar with them. “Tree of liberty / blood of tyrants” quotes on the the t-shirt of a rifle-armed yelling belligerent being shown on the news as part of a negative broadcast (given the current media environment) prevent any -possibility- of providing that context, leaving only a negative impression.

              Again, better and smarter to avoid that known negative risk (certainty really) since there is -zero- corresponding -positive- effect such t-shirts can have in the minds of the undecided.

              In the end that sort of thing is dressing for themselves and their supporters, not in rational furtherance of the actual goal.

    2. Um, because it makes the casual observer think the guys yelling profanity (and all those associated with them) are nutjobs. Because they are.

      The guy was trying to get arrested. He succeeded. Then the Clown Militia made sure to show everyone who bothers to watch that gun rights advocates are unstable nutjobs. Good job, clowns.

      If anything, these folks have shown that Texas is right to outlaw OC. Maybe that’s a good model for other states to follow to keep these clowns under control. Speaking of which, I haven’t heard of any OC rallies in California since they begged their own legislature to do away with what OC rights they had left. Maybe that’ll catch on in other states and we reasonable gun owners won’t need to apologize for the OC clowns anymore.

      1. “The guy was trying to get arrested. He succeeded.”

        OK, so he was successfully civilly disobedient.

        “Then the Clown Militia made sure to show everyone who bothers to watch that gun rights advocates are unstable nutjobs.”

        Yeah, sure did. Every one of them carrying concealed (per TX Law) cleared leather and proved to be “unstable”.

        Stay off my side, Mike. You’re not helping.

        1. “Stay off my side, Mike. You’re not helping.”

          And that’s exactly how I feel about OC clowns. Get it? If they need to be thrown under the bus so they can’t do anymore damage, then so be it. California self-corrected itself by eliminating OC activism. We need more of that.

            1. That’s a good point. Recently there was a dustup in TX from some clowns OCing AR15s. Again, I don’t hear about that happening in California. So maybe Texas will outlaw the OC of antique guns now. Because anyone looking at that video sure isn’t going to say “Gee, that gentleman makes a good point – perhaps we really should make OC legal.” I think the folks in that video really thought they were helping. Well, helping the Brady Bunch perhaps.

              Any action an activist makes should answer the question “What is the best thing I can do right now to further my cause?” If this was the best they could come up with, then they should just give up before they do any more damage.

              1. Mike, you’re basically talking about putting fellow traveler 2A advocates in prison, and making them prohibited persons for life, due to what you see as an ineffective tactic.

                The reason we win is because nobody gets thrown off the life boat. Our host, Sebastian, has said that before. The adversary wants to divide and conquer. We stand up for fudds, even if the fudds want to throw handgun owners under the bus. We stand up for black rifle owners, even if you just have a CCW and see no need for an evil baby killing AR-15.

                Our challenge is to persuade, through reason and other means (other</I than the power of the state to destroy lives — that's Bloomberg's gig), our side to be more effective activists.

                Even an event like this has the potential to be positive, in that it may activate more supporters. If you can get people out of their basements and out from behind their keyboards to heckle cops, you can probably get them to write letters to the legislature. I'm not defending this as a completely valid tactic, but there is a silver lining in most clouds.

                The question to me is, how can we channel that obvious energy and enthusiasm into more productive channels?

                1. These OC attention whores aren’t looking out for my right to protect myself and my family, so I’m sure not going to look out for their right to be attention whores. I’m more than happy to throw them under the bus if it’s in my best interests. And it is – because their actions are so outlandish – not because my best interests are so demanding.

                  Folks can OC if they want, and act like nutjobs if they want. But if they do both at the same time, I’ll be the first guy on the phone calling in a nutjob with a gun.

                  1. No you get off our side. You don’t support our side. You support your self and your self only. You are terrible for our side. They aren’t attention whores. They are fighting for OUR rights. They care about yours, but you don’t care about theirs. You’d gladly see them arrested. That’s not somebody on our side. That’s a tyrants philosophy.

                    Seriously. You are complete and utter detriment to our side.

                2. I want to be clear that I do not support making OC illegal. That would be throwing someone off the lifeboat. I do support speaking out against the boorish behavior, and I’m very concerned there are people thinking that banning OC is the answer. I don’t mean to single Mike out here, but he’s not the only person I’m hearing this from.

                  1. The funny thing is that with regard to this incident, Mike already has his wish. Openly carrying sidearms in TX is a crime. Guess what? Doesn’t stop the “clown militia” as these activists are being called.

                    I suspect that TX could ban the OC of rifles, too, and some people would still not comply. Texans are not fully shorn like Californians are. Really what Mike is advocating is pretty short sighted: he will eventually have to jail or kill (in a shootout) people to get his dream.

                    We do need to highlight boorish behavior and discourage it. I agree with Matt Carberry — when I OC, which is rare, I dress professionally and act very politely.

                    I prefer to look for the positive opportunities. Why is nobody engaging with these OC folks and seeing if their energy can be directed in a more productive direction? Here we’ve got a sizeable group, clearly motivated, willing to actually go out and do more than bitch on a website.

                    I want those people on an Appleseed line. I want them in an NRA hat working a gun show. I want them writing letters. I want them doing effective, structured OC protests with a media plan like Robb Allen in FL.

                    I don’t get from here to my desired end state with threats, like some folks is throwing down. That will just drive a wedge in an already narrow subculture (and we are one…) and alienate folks further.

                    1. Just to be clear, I don’t think people need to dress like preppies or act like saints in their day to day OC-ing, the key part of “normalization” is “normal” after all.*

                      There is a difference between OC (or any other) ‘activism’ and simple normal daily exercise of a right.

                      Obviously if your daily OC -becomes- an issue, someone asks about it or you interact with law enforcement, you should be polite and respectful and not cause a negative effect as you have now become the “face” of OC for anyone observing, but other than that, live your life.

                      It is when one chooses to put on the mantle of “defender of -insert liberty-” that they owe themself and everyone else technically “on their side” the respect of not being an assclown and making it harder for everyone else.

                      * I would hope people aren’t boorish slobs in their daily life though. There’s a difference between running a quick errand in your “around the house clothes” while armed and being the kind of tool who can’t speak without dropping f-bombs and wears puerile t-shirts, stained sweatpants, and crocs (for instance) as their daily clothing of choice. Don’t be that guy, that guy sucks.

                  2. I’d much prefer people learn to behave themselves than throw OC under the bus. But these people are determined to do as much damage to gun rights as they can, in a misguided attempt to “normalize” OC.

                    So here’s the deal, I’m openly advocating banning OC because that’s the only thing that stopped these people from continuing their path of destruction in California, for instance.

                    So yes, I directly support making OC illegal. But here’s the thing – these OC clowns indirectly support making OC illegal without even realizing it, just like all the OC activists in California did. My position might anger some gun owners, but (and here’s the rub) which of us is going to be more effective at eliminating OC? Hint: it ain’t me.

                    You can smack these people upside the head with this revelation all day long and it still won’t sink in because SECONDAMENDMENT / SHALLNOTBEINFRINGED / TREEOFLIBERTY / DURPDURPDURP.

                    1. It’s already illegal in TX.

                      So, uh… send your donation to the Brady’s so you can help make it more illegal.

                      If your so out for yourself, then please, do us a favor and keep it to yourself.

                    2. OCing antique guns apparently isn’t illegal in TX. Yet. But fear not, the Clown Militia is working hard to change that. For actual video proof, just scroll up a bit.

                    3. And yet, they were arrested for OC?

                      If clues were shoes, you’d be barefoot.

                    4. So you also support banning alcohol because drunks give drinking a bad name right?

                      Or do you only justify restricting everyone’s rights because of other people being stupid int the context of firearms?

          1. The point was… the guy who was OC’ing wasn’t agitating. According to the “Don’t be a dick rule”, he followed it to a tee.

            But your name calling sure helps. Calling people unstable (who aren’t) sure helps connect them to the truly unstable. Good job, Mike!

            Instead of calling out ANY positive in the situation, you focus on the negative. Maybe YOU should join the Brady’s. Your attitude is a much better fit over there.

            1. I watched the video. The folks screaming profanities at the police are clearly unstable. If they meet your definition of “stable”, then do us a favor and why don’t you stay out of gun rights activism too.

              1. Certainly no worse then some fans at major sporting events, boxing or UFC matches. Appropriate behavior? Probably not. But unstable?

                1. What kind of sporting events do you go to? I think they are unstable too. The first thought I had was that they had run out of Prozac or Valium.

                  1. Not a whole lot – pro sports aren’t really my thing. however, I did grow up between NY and Philly and spent a lot of time in Boston. I was also in Oakland, CA for a while… so pick a team, and they’re fans are… passionate?

                    Although to be honest, at those sporting events, I’ve heard a lot of threats hurled back and forth, and even seen some fisticuffs.

                    At that TX event, while the crowd was certainly rowdy and agitated. And the profanity was flying, I don’t recall hearing someone threaten violence. So, I still question the “unstable” label.

                    1. If you think a stable person hurls profanity at police and screams that if they shoot, they better kill or beware the consequences, or that it’s entirely rational to yell at police about “what happens to people like you after a revolution”, then again, I’d suggest that the reason you can’t recognize instability is because you suffer from it too.

                      That you’re an apologist for these toxic, unstable, and irrational individuals speaks for itself I suppose.

          2. Don’t use those civil rights except where we tell you to- Might as well not have any then. How are any of these things rights if you can be tazed, gassed and arrested for doing them?

            1. The point is optics matter, more than being right unfortunately.

              If you want to get to where exercising rights won’t get you tazed etc, you need to either win in court, in which case you want as clean a case with as personable and relateable defendant as possible or, by being personable and relateable, get enough people on your side preemptively so that the authoritarians won’t dare to try suppressing you.

              If you scare Ma and Pa Kettle your free exercise will be reduced as much as they can get away with in both instances.

              There is a reason the Deacons for Defense and Malcolm X got thrown under the bus by the mainstream civil rights movement: the leadership knew they could only achieve their goals by playing the passive resistance victim card and not scaring their upper class liberal white backers with the bugbear of “angry black men.”

    3. It’s more the style than the profanity, though the profanity is part of that. I’m not suggesting that people need to just stand back and quietly watch an unlawful arrest, but there are better ways to make your argument than this. There’s also the civil rights lawsuit, if the officers are truly in the wrong.

      Though I would note one thing. Had this been a bunch of occupy protesters I think you would have seen the pepper spray and tasers come out, but the police here are very measured, while the crowd is continuing to amp up.

      Why is that? I think we all know the answer, but it’s a good lesson to those who want to understand the relationship between authority and an armed citizenry. Whether you think it’s good or bad, it’s still illustrative.

      1. I agree, I would have liked to see the profanity dropped, and simply call out the public servants for failing to serve the public.

        As much as I don’t agree with the occupy crowd, I support their right to protest and demonstrate – up to the point that it beings to injure someone.

        1. I guess what I really have a problem with is the fact that it was deliberately provocative. There were agitators in the crowd trying to take it to the next level. Only because the cops didn’t take the bait did this end without anyone really getting hurt. Something like this could have turned very ugly, very fast. And over what? Trying to legalize OC? TX went from no-issue to shall-issue with good old fashioned activism. None of this crap was needed. Had this been in New York, I would at least have some sympathy that, though I don’t like the style, the powers that be have pushed farther than they have any right to. But this is TX. Don’t provoke a confrontation between two armed groups when that’s wholly unnecessary. Even in New York, we still have remedies through the political process to fix things.

          The problem with a lot of the radicals is a lot of them, I’m convinced, actually want a civil war.

          1. I think you’re right. I think there are a lot of people who THINK they want a civil war. They have NOT thought through how absolutely terrible, for everyone involved, that would be. I also think that there are radicals on both sides that want a civil war.. which is all the more worrisome.

            I guess what bothers me about this incident (and all we know is what is on video) is that the first guy who was arrested “did everything right”. He did not antagonize the LEOs. He did not amp up the crowd. He did not resist arrest. He was nothing but peaceful and civil.

            The rest of the crowd did what they did. But the (at least the one) guy who was arrested for open carrying, wasn;t being a dick. How are we hanging the 2 folks arrested for the crowds actions? They guy who published the video wasn’t OC’ing, or wouldn’t he have been arrested too?

            1. I’m not blaming the guy that was arrested at all. There was one guy who was arrested also for sitting in front of the police car. I’m also fine with that as long as you’re willing to be arrested. I think it’s a waste, but if someone wants to take a meaningless trip to jail that doesn’t necessarily affect me.

  4. I’m going to take a tangent to this specific issue, and note from the “Republic of Texas” video source, that if this is an activity by the same Republic of Texas outfit that promotes the strained legal doctrine that Texas is still an independent republic because it was not legally annexed by the United States — well, let’s just say that is a strained legal doctrine, these days.

    From there I will observe that strained legal doctrines — even if we study them along enough that we begin to hear the sounds of their one hand clapping — have a characteristic of being what I refer to as “loon magnets.” They attract wackadoodles as the greater portion of their adherents. The “Sovereign Citizen” movement springs to mind.

    I of course have an Old Story to illustrate my principle, but I will forbear reciting it. Suffice it to say I learned from experience that you can push the envelope of popular opinion pretty far, and still be treated as very credible, as long as you keep your wackadoodles under wraps. But having an outfit that attracts a disproportionate number of loons, be the one that promotes your cause for you, is not going to be a winning strategy.

  5. I was offended by the whole video. I was offended at the behavior of the cops. I was offended at the behavior of the crowd, especially language. OK, I believe a right unexercised is a right already lost. But, I see too much contrast between the “Crowd” and the Civil rights protestor from the 60s singing “We Shall Overcome”. One group eventually won by being seen as sympathetic. While I may agree with all the sentiments of the crowd, sympathetic is not a word they will ever emulate.

    1. Yes… I agree… this is truth. The cops played this one very well. They look sympathetic. The crowd looks like a bunch of confrontational jackasses out to pick a fight. And the sad part about that is the crowd were the ones who were presumably right about the law.

  6. Wow brilliant post on this blog. Gun owners eating their own, that’s new. This is why we lose and will continue to lose in the long run. Blacks, Gay rights etc. did not get their rights by being tolerant, eating their own or playing nice. We could learn a thing or two from them.

    Furthermore blaming OCers for California is just plain ridiculous. Explain to me again how the 50 BMG got banned ? The AR15 all but banned? Cali bans guns, that is what they do.

    Let’s remember that gun owners did not choose this fight it was thrust upon us. Since long before Newtown we have been assaulted at every turn. Are you really going to try to tell me that these cops did not have real criminals to be pursuing?

    1. California OCers absolutely chose the open carry fight they lost. They started showing up at coffee shops OCing guns, and when some shops started changing their policies to prohibit them from doing that, they doubled down and pushed Starbucks into the public spotlight. Starbuck’s Facebook page was constantly plastered with gun pictures, and they decided to make their failure national by making a “Starbucks Appreciation Day” which also backfired because even Starbucks decided they had enough of it too and changed their policy because of these clowns.

      We wouldn’t need to eat our own if we didn’t have so many idiots out there trying to do us such detrimental favors. Just because someone straps a gun on and says he’s trying to advance gun rights, doesn’t mean he’s immune from criticism – or actually advancing gun rights.

    2. If you think the mainstream (successful) black civil rights movement didn’t go out of their way to be polite and non-threatening while firmly demanding their rights, you may want to reexamine your history. They actively suppressed and continue to downplay those in their movement who wanted to take a more hardline stand, groups like the Nation of Islam and the Deacons for Defense.

      Similarly, it wasn’t the Stonewall riots or the annual hedonism fests in San Fran that advance(d) the gay rights cause, it was and is the reasoned arguments by personable “normal looking” folks within their ranks that homosexuals are normal, non-threatening people who just want to live and love like other normal, non-threatening people, which message was eventually reinforced and echoed by a friendly press and judges, appointed by progressives in many cases, who dismantled the discriminatory laws then in place in most states.

      We don’t have a friendly press nor supportive judges, our worst elements will be paraded whenever possible as typical for all of us, not dismissed as outliers.

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