It is rare the actions we take in our everyday lives don’t have unintended consequences. It is a byproduct of our instant gratification upbringing and a lack of future vision type thinking. I also believe it is has a lot to do with self serving needs as opposed to the greater good and yes we are all guilty of it at some point.
Know the rules
Take for instance the current trend of open carrying in public to support your constitutional rights. Before someone blows a casket, simmer down and realize this has nothing to do with your right to bear arms, it is the unintended consequences of the manner in which you choose to support your rights. Quite simply from the very first stages of firearms training we teach students to assume that “all guns are always loaded”. This concept doesn’t simply apply to training, but real world settings as well. You see, our safety guidelines are just that, they are for your safety, both on and off the range. We want to train people when they see a gun, their first instinct is to assume it is loaded. As such you will treat it with the respect it deservers and this situation is no different.
Like it or not, you are a threat
So, how are we to assume any different with the crowd of folks who are attempting to “bring awareness” or “normalization” to the everyday armed way of life. It again is an unintended consequence. I am not about to say, well on the firing line or if the guy “looks” really mean treat all guns as if they were loaded. I think if you were to take a look at the most recent active shooter suspects you would agree they don’t look mean at all, instead they look quite meekish. So, what’s the problem with this picture. Am I comparing the folks who I believe have good intentions, but are failing on the execution part; absolutely not. What I am saying is that at a certain point for my safety and the safety of my family when I see someone who is armed in public they are immediately escalated to a threat. Their actions will determine what actions I take, but I cannot afford to be in a reactionary mode with the understanding, “oh-they must just be protestors”.
That would be incredibly naive of me, instead they are threats and more than likely I will immediately distance myself and family from them. Imagine walking into a home depot and seeing someone with a pistol on their hip. It should give you pause as you go through your target discrimination process. Now, imagine they have a rifle slung over their back, probably registered as a higher threat since rifles are more lethal. Now, the rifle is held in a “ready” position that I might see on the range or if someone where about to employ said weapon, whether for good or evil intentions it doesn’t matter. That is the thought process for me and many of my colleagues.
Not as cool as you think you are
We need to do something about this and we it needs to be a collective, group effort. It is only through education that I believe we will be successful. First off, I wouldn’t be having this conversation with a student as I am sure they would see the danger in their actions. Second, the actions I see tell me these folks are not the proficient gunmen they think they are so education is vitally important. Lastly, while these action may support a short term goal, they only harm our long term strategy.
It really sucks that we have to not only educate those who want to strip our rights, but now it seems we have to educate those whose misguided actions are actually damaging to our rights as they continue to alienate the middle ground. As the saying goes, “you are either part of the solution or you are part of the problem.”