A week or so ago, the Rude Pundit was contacted by a self-identified gun owner and a supporter of Open Carry Texas. He called himself ex-military and retired law enforcement and, indeed, the Rude Pundit believed him. His tone was respectful and questioning,and the Rude Pundit answered him in the same way. In fact, through a few exchanges, they approached something of a dialogue.
What prompted the initial email from, oh, hell, let's call him "Jasper," was the Rude Pundit's assertion that the open display of semi-automatic rifles and shotguns in places where one might not normally see such things (like restaurants or downtown) is merely the desire of the gun owner to show his penis off. Jasper disagreed. His guns were not penis substitutes. They were guns.
And then he offered this: "Texas makes the carry of a handgun illegal without a very expensive handgun license. By open carrying long guns, our only option, we are sending a message to Austin: 'You don't like to see long guns on the streets? Fine. We don't like it either - too heavy, too awkward. Legalize carry of handguns and the long guns will go away.' The legislature has been 'talking' about legalizing the carry of handguns for about 10 years. This is our way to hold their feet to the fire."
Now, the Rude Pundit hadn't heard that discussed, not even in the column by the head of OCT that he mocked that set Jasper off (although CJ Grisham did talk about it in a longer version of the piece). And when he thought about what Jasper wrote, the Rude Pundit said to a friend, "Well, that's a reasoning I can at least respect. I think they're wrong and hope they fail miserably, but at least it's got something more to it than a pathological exhibitionism for some kind of perverse gratification." Or words to that effect. He might have said, "Instead of showing off their dicks like crazed five year-old boys." Sure, it's a bit of a public pout by carrying around the long guns, but, hey, so's a sit-in.
Of course, truth being what it is, that argument is, at best, worthless and, at worst, a bullshit lie. Every argument for the good of open carrying a weapon is bullshit. It doesn't affect crime. It doesn't deter a goddamned thing. In fact, what Open Carry Texas wants is "unrestricted open carry." That is, "It’s not just the right to openly carry a pistol but also the right to do it without any training, screening or permit." OCT calls that "constitutional carry" because what the fuck do you know about the Second Amendment, pussy?
So, sorry, Jasper. The Rude Pundit is left with his initial assessment: it's about dicks, dicks, and cocks. The Freudian message here is clearly a kind of arrested growth, with gun owners stuck in toddlerhood, where they are compelled to display their penises as a way of asserting masculinity, a narcissistic exercise. But, since just showing off your dick at the mall is illegal, a gun merely steps in as a rigid substitute. And as for the women who open carry, like a group at a Texas Target last week? Ever heard of "penis envy"?
The whole open carry thing has gone off the rails. In Medina, Ohio, there was a "march" this weekend for Open Carry, and it went something like this:
That's fine parenting there, shirtless guy who needs more sunscreen.
In Kalamazoo, Michigan, a man open carried into a library because that state barely restricts where you can bring a gun. In Georgia, a new gun law is so confusing that people aren't sure where they can carry their penises...sorry, guns, but you sure as hell can't ask someone for a permit because that'd be a violation of their rights.
There's a near-psychotic attachment people have to their guns, which is a sad commentary on where we are as a people here in the United States. But we've been through that tangled thicket of conflicted emotions before.
Instead, the Rude Pundit wants to ask a question of the people who bankroll the pro-gun movement, like the sinisterly wealthy Koch brothers, who give ass-tons of money to the NRA: Do you, as a rich person, really think it's smart to keep supporting policies that promote income inequality while at the same time fostering a belief in guns as the solution to Americans' problems? Have you really thought this through?