At worst, another loser hoping to get famous. It's been all over the news -- a young man showed up at a Springfield, Missouri Walmart, videoing himself, carrying an AR-15 and wearing some kind of vest or plate carrier, hung with pouches. He is reported to have been carrying "a hundred rounds of ammunition" (probably meaning three full 30-round magazines) and a handgun.
Unsurprisingly, people in the store reacted with fear; even without the recent horrific attacks, the man was wearing what amounts to the "uniform" of mass killers as described in news reports.
He does not appear to have made any kind of aggressive move with either gun and eventually another person, described as an "off-duty firefighter" (in other words, an ordinary citizen) drew his own concealed handgun and held the young fool until police arrived.
Was he planning something terrible? Was he just a nitwit with a grudge over Walmart's 21-and older limit on ammunition sales? We don't know. If he gets a good lawyer, we may never know for sure.
At the very least, his behavior was "felony stupid." In most states, it's legal to open-carry a long gun; some states may require a permit and a few prohibit it. It is, however, rarely a wise choice unless you're hunting, target shooting, or the like. --Yes, in Miss Bobbi's Libertopia Wonderland, no one would bat an eye, but that's not where we live. "Don't scare the average citizen" is a good approach to life; it was even before "Get Clean For Gene," but that's probably the best example.
In 1968, both the incumbent mainstream Democrats and challenging Republicans were in favor of the War in Vietnam. Democrat Senator Eugene McCarthy got into the race as an anti-war candidate, and all the hippies (well, most of them) were for him. It was a candidate's dream, a ready-made pool of enthusiastic door-knockers and envelope-stuffers. There was just one problem: Mr. and (especially) Mrs. Average American were not about the open their door to a dirty, long-haired hippie, even if they were registered voters of the proper party to support the Senator's primary bid, even if they had doubts about the war: hippies scared them up close and personal, while Washington D.C. and Vietnam were far away.
The answer, of course, was a shave, a haircut and a clean white shirt. Even a bath, if necessary. "Get Clean For Gene" was a success. The McCarthy campaign ultimately failed, impaled on the candidate's gaffes and loss of momentum when Robert Kennedy entered the race -- but not because his campaign workers "scared the normal people."
It's a good guideline. Push boundaries a little at a time, if you want to see something different in the world. Don't commit "felony stupid."
(P. S., the U.S. eventually left Vietnam. Did those scrubbed-up hippies help "move the Overton window" on debate about that war? Probably.)
4 months ago