Quick note about open carry

The folks gathering at Target carrying the kind of firepower that used to be confined to battlefields. From Moms Demand Action

Being that I’m ostensibly a good liberal, I’m getting the pictures and fundraising e-mails and Facebook links of the Open Carry ‘activists’ congregating at stores. Target is not the only such store–open carry advocates are packing heat in malls, restaurants and bars. Lots of outrage on the internets machines I thought I’d chime in. Two points:

1) Many years ago I made a really bad career choice. I was young and I was foolish and I’d watched too many war films.

What a career mistake looks like.

What a career mistake looks like, circa 1976.

This is not a brag about military service and I never heard the sound of enemy gunfire. I had enlisted for 11 Bravo, which used to be the designation for Infantry. I was rescued from this idiocy on my part and spent the bulk of my Weekend Warrior years safely ensconced in a headquarters company of a National Guard Infantry brigade. But while I was 11Bravo, I fired every weapon the Army had–the M16a1, M60, M203 grenade launcher, and even the M2 50 caliber machine gun. I requalified on the M16 annually, and had to at least test fire a couple 203 rounds at various points.

Let me tell you about my experience with weapons. Carrying one around all the time gets really old, really fast. Carrying one around with a magazine full of live ammo gets even older. It’s heavy, it can get caught on bushes or fall in mud or rust up in seconds in rain and snow. There are all kinds of bad things that can happen when you’re carrying around a weapon with live ammunition in it. That’s why soldiers aren’t forced to carry one around in peacetime conditions.  In fact, if you screwed up in Army Basic training, carrying around an M16 was a PUNISHMENT (it was usually a big rubber one, and hauling it into every latrine and shower was an utter pain in the ass). On the annual exercises where you’re in training as if you’re at war, there’s nothing like having to carry a weapon with you everywhere you go.

Personal story: In AIT, I was doing an infantry assault exercise with an M16 loaded with blanks. We’re running forward and then jumping down as we assault hill 25 or whatever. My weapon had been hopelessly jammed (blanks put out a lot of grit, and the M16 was/is not forgiving of any schmutz in the chamber). As I threw myself down after running forward, my weapon unjammed itself and proceeded to blow through eight or ten rounds full auto at my squad buddies who were fortunately too distracted by the artillery simulators to notice. 

My point is that the people I’ve met who regularly have to haul weapons around for a living aren’t all that enthusiastic about doing so. The people with the most training who should have the biggest ‘comfort level’ being around the weapons, aren’t allowed to carry them around for ‘shits & giggles‘.

(a side note–I’ve noted that a whole lot of the people who are big advocates of open carry seem to be people who’ve never been in the service. I wonder what the cross-over is between vets and open carry advocates. Correct me if I’m wrong. I really hate adult men who play at Soldier and don’t know what the hell it means. Then again,thanks to obesity and criminal records, only one in four of our young men could qualify for the draft right now)

2) If this is about the Second Amendment, you already know my opinion on this. Short form: the Second Amendment was about the Federal government allowing states to raise their own militias. There were various rebellions brewing after the Revolution, when (as usual) the 1% gained the majority of the prizes and the 99% (who’d done all the bleeding) couldn’t even get paid. It wasn’t about great feelings of warmth by the plutocracy toward the citizenry–remember that the only people allowed to vote were white men with property, a condition that wasn’t changed nationally until the 1850’s or thereabouts.

Folks, the Fourth Amendment has been eviscerated. Habeas Corpus has been wiped out by the NDAA. All those patriots walking around with their AR15’s and other shooters should’ve been out defending our freedom years ago.  Because if the state has the right to lock you up without charges, how many of us are going to be able to get to the gun rack to defend our freedoms? And as I have occasionally said in this funny little play I do, the other side has all the cool weapons.

Just sayin.

 Update: After I put this post up, I realized that I HAD carried a loaded weapon in a semi-combat role. In 1979, Florida National Guard was called out to quell a Truckers’ strike brought on by high oil prices. They equipped me and several thousand others with a flak jacket, a clear plexiglass panel to hook on the front of the steel pot helmet, and a loaded 12 gauge shotgun with pump action. I don’t think that anybody in my company had ever had training with riot shotguns, and one of our slow learners nearly blew the top out of a Tampa PD cruiser by playing with the pump action. We were also equipped with a riot baton, a longer version of a nightstick. I sat in a TPD cruiser for 12 hours a night at a place where no protesters showed up.

After a week, the strike was called off. I went home. I never fired my shotgun in anger, and nobody in the Florida National Guard managed to shoot themselves or anybody else during that week.  

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