The Chilling Effects Of Openly Displayed Firearms

BY Herschel Smith
1 month, 1 week ago

David Frum:

Charlottesville, however, marks a new era of even bolder assertion of the right to threaten violence for political purposes. Gun carriers at the so-called “Unite the Right” rally acted more like a paramilitary force than as individual demonstrators. They wore similar pseudo-military outfits, including body armor. They took tactical formations to surround the site of the expected confrontation. According to Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe, “They had better equipment than our state police had.” (The state police have disputed that claim.)

The carrying of firearms by random citizens into public places is typically defended as a contribution to public safety. If criminals must reckon with the possibility of armed resistance, they will hesitate to commit crimes—or so goes the theory. It’s a hard theory to prove or disprove, because the thing to be measured—“defensive gun use”—is so subjective. An altercation erupts after a traffic accident. One motorist raises his voice. The other displays a weapon. Has the weapon carrier prevented a crime? Or has the law empowered a subset of Americans to intimidate their neighbors? The Florida man who shot 17-year-old Jordan Davis dead for playing his music too loud also claimed he was acting in self-defense. If widespread gun carry enhances safety, why are countries that forbid it so much safer than the United States?

Whatever its merits, however, the theory of the crime-reducing effects of citizen carry applies only to concealed carry. Society receives the putative benefit of citizen carry only if the potential criminal does not know which potential victim might be armed.

Open carry has no such justification—and until recently, it has not needed it. Until recently, almost all states forbade the open carry of handguns. Although many Western states ignored the open carry of long guns, they did so not as a matter of policy or right, but as a left-over from their rural origins. A rancher moving about his lands may want to carry a shotgun or rifle in case predators attack his livestock. Is he supposed to put a bag over his gun? Are hunters supposed to carry their rifles in a locked case until they literally see the deer?

Today in Arizona, however, 89.8 percent of the population dwells in urban areas, a higher percentage than in Connecticut; Texas’s population has become 84.7 percent urban, higher than Delaware. Hunting is declining. The most popular rifle in the United States is the AR-15, a look-alike of the military-grade M-16 that can be used for hunting purposes only by the most skilled marksmen. Fewer and fewer American households own long guns at all. Gun sales are up because a few gun enthusiasts are accumulating miniature arsenals: In 1994, the average gun-owning household owned four weapons; by 2015, the average gun-owning household owned eight.

Over that same period, American political culture has become more polarized. Those polarities have become more extreme. And on the political right especially, the rhetoric has become more indulgent of—if not more enthusiastic about—political violence.

[ … ]

What can be done? We can begin by acknowledging that America’s ranching days are behind it. Within metropolitan areas, there is no reason—zero—that a weapon should ever be carried openly. The purpose is always to intimidate—to frighten others away from their lawful rights, not only free speech and lawful assembly, but voting as well.

Frum doesn’t apply his missive to law enforcement, because of course, he retains and reserves the lawful use of force only to them (progressives only believe in a monopoly of force), and because he knows that his suggestion that “Society receives the putative benefit of citizen carry only if the potential criminal does not know which potential victim might be armed” is tactical nonsense, and that law enforcement wouldn’t allow such stupidity to be applied to them.

Frum no more knows that the benefit of open carry doesn’t obtain like concealed carry any more than he knows the reasons men openly carry (e.g., to keep from sweating their weapon, because permitting only applies to concealed weapons, because concealing a weapon is uncomfortable, because concealing your weapon is tactically inferior to openly carrying it, because some men may not like their only holster options for concealed carry, etc., etc.).  He only pretends to know these things.  No one attending the inside-the-beltway cocktail parties he does actually carries a gun, so he wouldn’t know.

But let’s “cut to the chase,” shall we?  Forgetting about all of that, this is just the lead up to what Frum really wants, which is to justify his statist views that no violence is ever justified against the state.  He should have written an essay entitled “Why The War Of American Independence Was Immoral” or “Why Dietrich Bonhoeffer Was Wrong To Oppose Hitler,” and I would have respected him more.  At least he would be honestly stating his views.  With this article, like so many others he writes, he gets to unload on open carry in America, appealing to the progressives in the circles in which he runs, without ever really being forced to examine the logical consequences of his own prose.

Consistency isn’t the hobgoblin of small minds.  It’s the stuff of life, and it makes people dismiss your prose as the meanderings of an idiot when you don’t force yourself to think about what you’re writing or saying.  He beclowns himself, he embarrasses himself, and he only hurts himself, but he is too stupid and lazy to figure out why he is ridiculed by most readers.


Comments

  1. On August 17, 2017 at 10:28 am, Jack Crabb said:

    “He beclowns himself, he embarrasses himself, and he only hurts himself…”

    This is only true of those that have the ability to think critically and apply reason. Which skills, as the whole Charlottesville narrative illustrates, libturds do not possess.

  2. On August 17, 2017 at 11:02 am, Backwoods Engineer said:

    What do we expect from a statist Canadian like Frum?

    But this one takes the cake: “If widespread gun carry enhances safety, why are countries that forbid it so much safer than the United States?”

    WRONG WRONG WRONG WRONG WRONG!

    I would tell Frum to read GunFacts.info, but he won’t.

  3. On August 17, 2017 at 11:07 am, Herschel Smith said:

    @Engineer,

    What Frum conveniently leaves out is all of the violence perpetrated in the name of the state. If he included all of that in his calculus, his head would explode because of learning the truth. He can’t handle the truth.

  4. On August 17, 2017 at 12:27 pm, Archer said:

    “The Florida man who shot 17-year-old Jordan Davis dead for playing his music too loud also claimed he was acting in self-defense.”

    That man has a name: Michael Dunn. And Jordan Davis was not blameless in the encounter, as Frum implies with his phrasing. Dunn fired 10 shots: two volleys of three, and one of four. The first two volleys — the first six shots, including the ones that killed Davis — were ruled to be justifiable self-defense. Dunn is in prison for the next 20 years because he did NOT stop shooting as the SUV carrying Davis (and his three equally-belligerent friends; liberals conveniently forget about them every time) was pulling away.

    Dunn’s first six shots were ruled justifiable, in part because the situation was not “Jordan Davis playing his music too loud”. It was “Jordan Davis and his three friends making threats of violence after being asked to turn their music down”.

    But I don’t expect Frum — or any liberal, for that matter — to understand the facts of any self-defense case, or to report them honestly if they do. After all, the media still misstates the facts and findings of the George-Zimmerman-Trayvon-Martin case, and that one has been (pardon the unintentional pun) beaten to death!

  5. On August 17, 2017 at 12:40 pm, Herschel Smith said:

    @Archer,

    Careful. You’re going to ruin his narrative.

  6. On August 17, 2017 at 2:32 pm, Mack said:

    Such an ignorant child.

    Do these “conservatives” [sick] not consult the law?

    Carrying ANYTHING that could be deemed a weapon CONCEALED is a class 1 misdemeanor.

    Thus, persons have to carry openly, or else.

    I wonder who would “deem” fecal matter a weapon?

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This article is filed under the category(s) Gun Control and was published August 16th, 2017 by Herschel Smith.

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