Racism, Ignorance and Hypocrisy: My Confrontation With an Open Carry Activist

open-carryYesterday I decided I’d engage in a debate with a family member who supports the right for Americans to openly carry their firearms.  Normally I wouldn’t do such a thing, but to be honest I had no choice but to be around them for a couple of hours and they were annoying me.

They were going on and on about the “rights of Americans to carry guns!”  How it’s “unconstitutional” to deny Americans these rights and anyone who opposes the right to open carry hates freedom.

At first I didn’t say much – their ignorance is so embedded within them that no fact I would present was going to change their mind.  But after listening to them blather on and on for a few minutes, they finally decided to ask me what I thought about it as a “fancy politics writer.”

I paused for a moment, looked at them and asked one simple question, “What if you saw various groups of 100 or so African-Americans, Mexicans or Muslims gathered on the side of roads all over Dallas-Fort Worth with loaded AK-47’s, AR-15’s and a whole host of other semi-automatic weapon they could get their hands on, can you honestly tell me you wouldn’t feel threatened or alarmed?”

They stammered for a few seconds into a mumbling, “Uh, um…well, you know.  That’s, uh…” followed by, “Well that’s different.”

“How?” I asked.

What followed was some drivel about how open carry activists aren’t racist and the gatherings you see are composed of people of all races and genders.  Never really answering my question, I pressed it again.

“If you saw a group of 100 African-Americans standing on a street corner, all openly carrying some form of semi-automatic weapon, would you not feel threatened?  What if 1,000 Muslims gathered in “stereotypical Muslim garb” near a government building that you worked in (they don’t work in a government building, it was just a hypothetical situation) would you feel completely safe?”

Still, no real answer.  Just more of the same, “Typical liberal, trying to make it about race.”  Which is usually what someone says when they’re busted for being racist.

And while it’s true there are other races of people seen at these open carry rallies, the vast majority of those in attendance are your typical white male right-wing conservative gun nuts.

It’s the same pattern you see with conservatives on a lot of issues pertaining to “rights.”  They love going on and on about “freedoms” and “Constitutional rights,” but what they really mean is that they’re fighting for these rights for only those who they feel should have them.

When they talk about religious rights, they mean Christian.  When they talk about protecting equal rights, they mean heterosexuals.  When they talk about shrinking government, they only mean laws that are preventing them from getting away with what they want to get away with.

So when they talk about “open carry rights” they’re really only talking about those people who they feel safe around.  Because I really can’t imagine a group of rural country folk sitting in their local diner feeling at ease with a group of 30 openly armed African-Americans strolling in.

And what about our rights as Americans to feel safe when we’re out in public?  I’m sorry, but someone feeling the need to strap an AK-47 to their back to attend a Little League baseball game isn’t someone I think is mentally stable.

What the hell kind of society do these people want to create?  One where everyone’s armed, guns strapped to their backs or holstered on their hips, strolling around Pop Warner football games or local restaurants ready for a good ol’ fashion shootout if the situation calls for it?

Yeah, I don’t see any potential problems there.  None at all.  I’m sure untrained civilians would act perfectly calm and precise if some armed gunman unexpectedly happens upon whatever establishment they happen to be attending.

There’s a reason why the wild west died – society evolved.

Why not just say we should be allowed to carry grenades with us everywhere?  Wouldn’t that be an effective way to take out a “bad guy with a gun”?

But don’t tell me for a second that race still doesn’t play a huge part in all of this.  I live here.  I talk to these people.  Those who say racism isn’t an issue are either lying, gullible or don’t talk to anyone – ever.

Living in Texas I constantly see racism.  And you can’t tell me for one minute that these racist white conservatives who seem so proud of their desire to openly carry firearms would feel safe with a large group of “stereotypical urban African-Americans” walking into one of their local establishments armed to the teeth with semi-automatic weapons.

It just all goes back to a question I’ve asked before, “What is it about the gun debate that seems to render people incapable of using common sense?”

Because these open carry activists clearly aren’t using it.

Allen Clifton

Allen Clifton is a native Texan who now lives in the Austin area. He has a degree in Political Science from Sam Houston State University. Allen is a co-founder of Forward Progressives and creator of the popular Right Off A Cliff column and Facebook page. Be sure to follow Allen on Twitter and Facebook, and subscribe to his channel on YouTube as well.


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