Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Shoot, or No Shoot?

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.


Bob S. said...


Let's back it up a step or two, eh.

a.) How do you tell the difference between a person enjoying the park and a pedophile waiting to molest a child.

b.) How do you tell the difference between a person out for a walk at night and a mugging about to rob someone?

c.) How do you tell the difference between a loving caring mom and one who is about to drown her children?

d.) How do you tell the difference between a cop doing his job right and one about to physically assault someone (ala Rodney King,eh?)

We are particularly phobic about 'scaring' people with rifles because that is what some nut jobs/ terrorists have used. Well, we still fly (9/11), we still fertilize (Oklahoma City), we still carry pistols (Virginia Tech).

We determine the intent by what they do, how they act. Look at most of the folks Open Carrying AR-15s into Starbucks and we don't see them acting too different from anyone else. We forget how common it has been throughout history (including our own) that people carried weapons with them every day. We have become so passive as a society that we depend on others for our safety that the sight of someone carrying a firearm is out of place. How do we change the focus from the inanimate object to the behavior of the criminal/terrorist?

It sure isn't by letting only the criminal/terrorists be visibly armed.

Will Brown said...

Hi Bob,

A) We don't have gangs of NAMBLA members going around in drag and rounding up everybody in our parks so they can kill the adults and rape all the boys.

B) We don't have organized crews of young men sweeping the streets clean of mug-able victims (although groups of young men going out for a night of "knock out" is getting close).

C) We don't have openly armed squads of Moms taking over pre-schools so they can shoot the teachers and drown all the kids.

D) We actually expect a certain likelihood of violence from cops, even when they're not giving The Rodney to someone with their roscoe.

Is the distinction I know I'm making rather poorly becoming more clear? We now do have direct evidence of known terrorist group(s) imitating (deliberately or not, it makes no effective difference) American 2nd Amendment activist behavior. I submit that this is a circumstance we need to take into account and modify our behavior accordingly.

When the enemy adopts a tactic that undermines the effectiveness of your own, you don't respond by proclaiming, "But It's My Right!", you modify your own tactics to effectively negate the enemy's effort instead. And I use "enemy" deliberately. The bastards are dressing up like us; it's personal now! :)

Maybe our message shouldn't be a simple "the tool doesn't matter" (even though that is demonstrably true), but transition to the admittedly more complex concept of "There are tool users everywhere, some of whom mean you harm; maybe you don't want to be a passive target" instead. Because that's demonstrably true too and it doesn't hurt to keep the whole "enemy" concept active in people's minds either.

What I am not suggesting is that 2nd Amendment activists cease doing so, only that it appears we have been overtaken by events and that a change of action on our part now seems necessary.

Anyway, the whole guns at the coffee shop thing has been done to boredom now.