I had a disturbing thought while at work last night; how to tell the difference between an Open Carry advocate and a Somali Shopping Mall Suicide Squad member? Before the latter starts shooting of course, as that tends to be both a bit of a giveaway and way too late to be helpful.
The last few days revelations about the makeup of the terrorist squad (at least three US nationals, one Canadian and an as yet undetermined number of UK citizens) have been tentatively identified as active shooters in the days-long killing spree in and around the Westgate Mall in Nairobi, Kenya (scroll down here for numerous links to reports on this and the terror attack generally). All of which puts paid to the single most difficult-to-overcome aspect of putting such a terror action into effect in a N. American setting; the vast majority of active jihadists can't blend into N. American society well enough (or for long enough) to put together such an operation. Being able to match a few foreign jihadists with a native jihadist overcomes that obstacle and vastly simplifies the logistics of organizing such an attack. If nothing else, the Westgate Mall attack proves the viability of that tactic.
Which brings me the long way around to the Open Carry activists who carry long guns at public venues.
Yes, if doing so was legal before the Kenya terror attack it is presumably still legal now. And, No, I'm not accusing anybody of aiding any enemy to freedom (religious or otherwise). I am asking if this particular method of raising public awareness about our rights and freedoms might not be better retired from active use, given the general visual similarity between the terrorists and the activists as they enter a business or other open-to-the-public locale.
It seems a virtual certainty that there will be an over reaction (or just an ordinary mistake) by somebody should there continue to be individual or small group efforts to demonstrate in support of 2ns Amendment rights by openly carrying rifles and/or shotguns at non-shooting related venues, particularly as people become familiar with the images of the terrorists entering the mall in Kenya with their weapons openly displayed in a non overtly threatening manner. Just like OC activists are prone to do. Even if its just the cops responding to a panic'd call of "terrorists like in Kenya", the outcome of that can't be good for convincing people to consider supporting 2A efforts themselves. And if an actual gunfight breaks out ...?
A basic tenet of strategy is to use the tactic(s) that offer least potential advantage to the enemy while still advancing your own position. It's time for Open Carry activists to employ a different tactic to demonstrate in support of 2nd Amendment rights, there's just too much potential advantage to be gained by the opposition (not to mention the actual enemy) from continuing to do so with rifles and shotguns.