The Inigo Montoya line keeps running through my mind every time someone talks about how Open Carry — and for some anti-rights cultists Concealed Carry — talk about how it is “intimidating”
Let’s look at the definitions and see if it makes sense or I’m completely off base. Please and I mean this, let’s talk about this.
verb (used with object), in·tim·i·dat·ed, in·tim·i·dat·ing.1.to make timid; fill with fear.2.to overawe or cow, as through the force of personality or by superior display of wealth, talent, etc.3.to force into or deter from some action by inducing fear: to intimidate a voter into staying away from the polls.
1.a distressing emotion aroused by impending danger, evil, pain, etc., whether the threat is real or imagined; the feeling or condition of being afraid. Synonyms: foreboding, apprehension, consternation, dismay, dread, terror, fright, panic, horror, trepidation, qualm. Antonyms: courage, security, calm, intrepidity.
2.a specific instance of or propensity for such a feeling: an abnormal fear of heights. Synonyms: phobia, aversion; bête noire, bogy, bogey, bugbear. Antonyms: liking, fondness, penchant, predilection.
3.concern or anxiety; solicitude: a fear for someone’s safety.
4.reverential awe, especially toward God: the fear of God. Synonyms: awe, respect, reverence, veneration.
5.something that causes feelings of dread or apprehension; something a person is afraid of: Cancer is a common fear.
No deliberate action is required on the part of the other party, e.g. the Open Carry advocate.For some people this will be a distinction without meaning; intimidation or fear results in the same thing they’ll say; that people do not want to see firearms in public.
And this is one of the biggest issues I have with pro-rights advocates decrying Open Carry. In pushing against Open Carry of long guns they are making the exact same argument as the antis!
Think about it carefully and you’ll see what I mean. How many times has an anti argued they shouldn’t have to be any place where people have guns. That the mere presence of firearms makes them uncomfortable.
How many times have we’ve seen some pro-2nd Amendment advocate say “If I see someone walk in with a rifle, I’m going to get ready draw” or worse “I’ll assume the Open Carrier is about to shoot up the place and confront him”. Just for the mere presence of a firearm??? Really folks.
Oh, I understand the thought process that goes behind it — A pistol is what you use to fight to your rifle, right? But isn’t that a mindset that we gun owners have created. Or stolen from the military?
Does the general public really see any difference between a rifle carried in public and a pistol openly carried in public?
Frankly, I’ve seen a lot of people on “our side” talking about how Long Gun Open Carry “scares” the public but I’ve failed to see the direct media reports from people there at the events saying they were afraid. Time and time again the reports of “people being afraid” come long after the fact by people who weren’t there (Looking at you Moms Demanding Attention) or were completely fabricated (Fort Worth Police Department, can you explain ala Jack In The Box).
I want to make sure I’m very clear here. I support Open Carry and the activism going on in Texas. I don’t support the continued carrying in restaurants, not because I think it is wrong, but because that activity was so easily turned against us.
But I also think we need to very strongly and solidly support people Openly Carrying Long guns because failing to do so will provide leverage for the antis. Just because something makes a person uncomfortable or fearful is no reason to curtail the exercise of a right. From Nudity to Open Carry– folks grow up and deal with it. There are things we should make socially unacceptable because they are harmful to society but the vast majority of things are simply “I don’t want to see because it makes me feel icky” — as in this example.
We need to let people know their fear of an inanimate object or people exercising their rights is not a sufficient reason to stop that person from doing so. Maybe this hits home especially for me due to personal experience.
I was in college at the local junior college when on two separate occasions (years apart) I was told by two different female students that my mere physical size (6’2″ and 190# at the time) “intimidated” them. Both agreed that I had not acted untoward (I try to be a gentleman), that I had not crowded them or intruded into their personal space, acted hostile or anything else. Just that my physical size intimidated them.
Now this was two class mates out of hundreds so I took it with a grain of salt but it stuck with me and continues to be something I’m aware of. It is also appropriate to the discussion — should I have not gone to school because someone was fearful, should I have changed my schedule based on the 1 in a 100 reaction? Absolutely not, it was their issue to deal with. I’m not trying to be cold blooded here but they simply needed to deal with it.
And this is exactly how some people see Open Carry, it is exactly how some people see Concealed Carry — ‘Oh…the presence of a gun ‘intimidates’ me; you have to stop what you are doing’.
Because the next time they make that statement it might be “Anyone except for the police owning a firearm intimidates me; we need to ban all guns”