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Seriously? Here's the claim:* If people feel afraid when they see an openly carried gun in public, that's the same as people fearing a black man or a gay couple holding hands. That claim was made in my diary yesterday, Reciprocity in Concealed Carry Law - Glossary of State Residency Rules. The claimed equivalence was repeated several times today and my rebuttals were dismissed with, "you just don't like disagreement" and "you haven't shown how they differ." I'm astonished that anyone can call themselves a progressive and make that claim. But there it is. If the comments are sincere then there is some serious confusion in our midst. I will attempt to translate this confusion for those of you who are aghast. For those of you who don't get why being black, being gay, and carrying a gun are not the same, this diary might give you a clue.

The right to keep and bear arms, (RKBA) is a right to own and use an object. It's a right to own and use personal property. Being black or being gay are states of being.

The difference is really that simple.

More below the fold.

Colloquial language may muddy the picture for some people; John owns a gun vs. John is a gun owner. But gun ownership and gun carry are not states of being, no matter how strongly some people identify as such when using the words, "I am a gun owner."

The problem originates from a desire by some gun libertarians to conflate personal expression of a 2A constitutional right to own and use property as if it is the same as many other civil rights, the rights that derive from a state of being. I've seen the conflation used in comment threads as a deflection many times. If one doesn't accept this false equivalence then one is accused of being disloyal to the Bill of Rights. A more subtle form, "I support the whole Bill of Rights," is used to imply that others fail to support civil rights. This is so common we should coin a term for it. How about, "Kitchen Sinking the Whole Bill of Rights"?

Carrying a gun across state lines is not at all like moving across state lines with your same-sex spouse. They are just not the same. How can this be confusing to people? The logical/philosophical leap is made when they equate the right to self defense with states of being that are the origin of other civil rights, and then conclude that armed self defense is equivalent to a state of being black, lesbian, gay, female, disabled, etc. I believe that error is the origin of the bigoted comments in Shamash's diary. The same error was in evidence in my Reciprocity diary.

The false claim in the title depends on a false premise that all rights in the Bill of Rights are equivalent and absolute. Yes, gun ownership and use are protected in the Bill of Rights. The right to keep and bear arms is a US Constitutional right, and because the Second Amendment is part of the Bill of Rights, the RKBA is legally defined in American law as a civil right. But none of our rights are absolute. And the rights in the Bill of Rights are not all the same. Each has various limits. State Constitutional rights are in another category altogether.

To illustrate the issue let's consider some other rights enshrined in our beloved Bill of Rights and spell out the distinction between the right and a choice about its expression.

A Civil Right vs. A Choice of Expression

Basic Facts: American gun ownership is a constitutional right. It's in the Bill of Rights so that makes it one of our legally protected civil rights. Owning and using guns is a right to own and use an object, a piece of personal property. That's why it's fundamentally different than other civil rights. Carrying a gun across state lines is public behavior subject to both state and federal law. Owning or carrying a gun is not a state of being.

A civil right: Freedom of religion is a constitutional right.
A choice: Whether to attend public religious services and which church/synagogue/temple/mosque to attend is a personal choice.

A civil right: Freedom of speech is a constitutional right.
A choice: Which radio/TV/satelite/newspapers/internet to receive is a personal choice.

A civil right: Freedom of assembly is a constitutional right.
A choice: Whether to join a protest march is a personal choice.

A civil right: Freedom to petition your government is a constitutional right.
A choice: Whether to sign a petition/call your reps/write a letter to the president/file a lawsuit is a personal choice.

A civil right: The right to privacy is a constitutional right.
A choice: Blogging your vacation plans on twitter is a personal choice.

A civil right: The right to vote is a constitutional right.
A choice: Whether to register as Dem or GOP is a personal choice.

A civil right: The right to remain silent is a constitutional right.
A choice: Whether it's a good idea to answer questions from police before consulting a lawyer is a personal choice.

A civil right: The right to own and use guns for self defense is a constitutional right.
A choice: Whether to keep guns in your home is a personal choice.
A choice: Whether to own a shotgun or a handgun for self-defense is a personal choice.
A choice: Whether to apply for a concealed carry license is a personal choice.
A choice: Whether to carry a knife, mace or a handgun is a personal choice

A civil right: Joining your gay partner in court as they defend your home against foreclosure. You can't ask your gay partner to check their gayness at the security desk. But the court can require you to leave your gun there.

Bottom Line: Guns are deadly weapons. They are property. They pose a risk to self and others. Some people have a right to own and use them secured by state and federal Constitutions. Many others do not. A civil society can legitimately require gun owners to keep them secure. To form a more perfect union we all need to understand that owning, using, and securing property is different than being black or gay or female.

Disclaimer - I believe there is a universal human right of self defense that predates the US constitution. Specifically, I believe the US Constitution articulates an individual right to bear arms in self defense as defined in Heller. Many state constitutions do too, but most of the rest of the world has not included the RKBA in their constitutions. For these reasons I consider the RKBA to be an American constitutional right, rather than a universal civil right.

*A few weeks ago rexymeteorite wrote a terrific diary on being vs. choosing, titled Not a good way to make friends and influence people. It was in response to some very ugly comment threads in this diary. Like rexy, I'm not linking specific comments because I'm joining rexy and others speaking out against the false meme not the specific people who are making and defending it.

Originally posted to Occam was an Optimist on Fri May 09, 2014 at 04:32 PM PDT.

Also republished by Shut Down the NRA, Repeal or Amend the Second Amendment (RASA), Support the Dream Defenders, Courtesy Kos, Liberal G Club, Firearms Law and Policy, Barriers and Bridges, and White Privilege Working Group.


The Right to Keep and Bear Arms is a right to own and use property.

72%49 votes
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Comment Preferences

    •  You have misunderstood the claim. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Neo Control, ER Doc

      The fear-on-sight that is inside the observer is what is being compared, not the person/thing that is being seen.

      1. I view X2. X makes me nervous3. Therefore I have a right to restrict X.
      The subject of the attention is the unease and fear being felt.

      The comparison is between Andrew who feels fear upon seeing a gun and Bob who feels fear upon seeing a black person.

      The comparison is between Andrew and Bob.

      You have misunderstood the claim.

      And this totally relates to national reciprocity because 'Andrew' is going to whine and cry against a national standard, and will need to be ignored if progress toward a national standard is to be made.

        •  No, more like this: (6+ / 0-)

          1. I view X.
          2. X is carrying a machine designed to kill people.
          3. The very fact that X is carrying a killing machine implies that X has a desire to kill people.
          4. The fact that X has a desire to kill people and has the means to do so means that X is a.) dangerous and b.) possibly mentally unstable.
          5. Therefore I (meaning society) have a right to restrict X.

          •  Exactly, the police are different (3+ / 0-)

            because applicants are vetted and then trained to evaluate people who are disturbing the peace. Police are trained to evaluate risk and de-escalate situations.

            I'm not suggesting there are no problems with police.
            Our vetting process, training, discipline, and prosecutions systems all need improvement and yes militarization of the police is a huge problem. Police killers need to be prosecuted and sent to prison. My point is that the vast majority of police walk around in public with a gun on their hip and it doesn't cause people to call 911.

            "The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails.” — William Arthur Ward

            by LilithGardener on Sat May 10, 2014 at 06:28:57 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Police ARE different, (6+ / 0-)

              because police are three times as likely to commit violent crime, at least in Texas.

              The point of the comparison is that the fear is irrational. Despite the potential of harm, said potential is almost never realized. Those who legally own and legally carry firearms have proven themselves to be considerably more safe and adherent to the law than your "vetted" police officers. So why the (now shown to be irrational) expression of fear and outrage? Bias is the only answer.

              And bias is the source of fear in the other given case (be it against race or sexual orientation) and that is why the comparison is apt.

              •  I am queer, Asian, and have a gun (4+ / 0-)

                News Flash:  Any comparison that fear of opposition to the public carry of guns is the SAME as racism or homophobia is ridiculous and ahistoric, and a real straight white guy's argument in support of gun rights and a total failure to understand homophobia and racism.

                A family friend lost their 10 year old son recently, who was shot and killed accidentally because his 8th grade playmate was showing him his daddy's Glock.

                My 8 year old grandniece can't accidentally kill someone because she's playing while Asian.  

                I support the sensible right to own guns.  But arguments like the one you extend are simply embarrassing and unhelpful.

                "Out of Many, One Nation." This is the great promise of these United States of America -9.75 -6.87

                by Uncle Moji on Sat May 10, 2014 at 07:54:23 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  sb "fear and opposition to the public carry of..." (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:

                  "Out of Many, One Nation." This is the great promise of these United States of America -9.75 -6.87

                  by Uncle Moji on Sat May 10, 2014 at 07:56:59 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                •  Embarrassing and unhelpful? How so? (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:

                  I pointed out that, in the only place that keeps exhaustive statistics on the matter, those who have carry licenses are shown to be very law abiding.

                  So much so that fear of them is completely unnecessary.

                  Education on this matter removes ignorance, and barring ignorance of these statistics, what reason is there to fear the lawful carry of firearms? Bias against the thing it's self, rooted in deep seated stereotypes about the kinds of people who would participate in such an activity.

                  The parallels are striking, which is why the comparison is made.

                  •  You present what you wrote as obvious (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Uncle Moji

                    You present what you wrote as obvious, as if were gospel. No sources linked, no explanation for those who may be new to your argument. It might reflect that you have existed in an echo chamber, where everyone speaks the same language.

                    If you want to make a counter claim, that guns shouldn't be feared, if you want to convince people in the middle that your view is correct you have to do more to win them over. You have to start be teaching them where you got the information on which you base your beliefs.

                    Most people don't know the requirements to get a Concealed Carry Permit. For some people, the only CCW permit holders they know of are men like Curtis Reeves, George Zimmerman, and Michael Dunn. The only open carry activists they know are men like Robert Pratt (linked in my comment below).

                    "The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails.” — William Arthur Ward

                    by LilithGardener on Sat May 10, 2014 at 09:06:50 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                  •  My household contains guns, I allow hunting on my (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:

                    land by my neighbors, I enjoy shooting ranges, I am not gun phobic or gun ignorant.  I fit all three categories you claim are equal, and subject to equal fear bias.  

                    For the second time, I am telling you you are wrong.  I know the difference.  I live what is theoretical argumentation to you, there is a world of difference between the choice to be Asian and gay and the choice to own a gun.  Hint, the first two aren't a choice.  So the basis for your comparison is wrong.  And you get just get "wronger" from there.  

                    Unless you came out of your mother's womb with a glock in your tiny fist.  That's a birth defect and you would be covered under ADA, and then I would accept your comparison.

                    You make a claim of equality in race, sexual orientation and gun ownership as the same.  That the basis for that fear of each is the same.  But that is patently false.  I cannot accidentally or intentionally kill someone by discharging my Asianness or gayness in their direction.  So that fear is irrational. Not so for guns:  You can accidentally kill me by discharging your weapon in my direction.   It's why you and I use gun locks or gunsafes to keep our race and sexual orientation secure from accidental discharge or theft.

                    Don't continue to argue a theory that is easily subject to ridicule.  You make people like me, who have been shooting for decades, roll our eyes and wish to god that with "friends" like you, who needs enemies.   My (gay) midwestern husband has a conceal carry permit, and he is laughing his ass off at the ridiculous (black, gay = open carry gunowners) argument made by your side.

                    Lilith makes a reasoned, convincing rebut to a circulating theory on open carry, her diary is logical and thoughtful.  The middle ground, and Constitutional ground, is sensible gun ownership, not unfettered gun ownership. The question for civil discourse is where is that middle ground - Lilith advances her view persuasively, you do not.  Find another argument. Please.

                    "Out of Many, One Nation." This is the great promise of these United States of America -9.75 -6.87

                    by Uncle Moji on Sat May 10, 2014 at 11:38:47 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                •  News Flash: (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:

                  I'm a dark-skinned man who is half black and half latino. I also carry a gun.  You're attempt to decide what my lineage is because of an argument that I made is failure of critical thinking.  

                  I suggest you try to understand the logical form of the underlying thought process of a person engaged in hysteria over seeing something in public that offends them and wanting to regulate away the cause of their offense - which is the narrow focus of my argument.

                  The reaction within the minds of people who want legislation passed to restrict others because of a fear they have when they see something is the same.

              •  While we're on the subject of hand picked "truths" (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                StevenD56, LilithGardener

                let me try one of mine (and this one requires no links).

                Persons who never touch a gun have lower incidences of causing firearms injuries and deaths than persons who legally own and legally carry firearms.

                Apropos of nothing, perhaps, but there you are.

                There can be no protection locally if we're content to ignore the fact that there are no controls globally.

                by oldpotsmuggler on Sat May 10, 2014 at 11:54:55 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Your observation... (3+ / 0-)

                  is not

                  Apropos of nothing.
                  I think it is the very heart of the matter.  It is why we even bother having the discussion.  If people with guns didn't didn't maim and kill, nobody would care.

                  It is the willful denial of this fact by many on the right and even some on the left that is so frustrating.  

                  For example right after Sandy Hook there was a lot of talk about putting guns in schools.  The fact that having guns in a school meant the probability of having a firearm accident went from zero to a positive number was ignored.

                  The argument is always guns will stop the bad guys; they don't want to address the other side of that balance sheet, that people with guns accidently shoot others.

        's the new smart for right wingers.

                  by StevenD56 on Sat May 10, 2014 at 09:03:06 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

      •  Guns can kill; holding hands does not (3+ / 0-)

        Handguns  are purposefully designed from the ground up to kill people.  Guns are sold as lethal killing tools, and the best-selling guns are guns that are capable of killing lots of people rapidly. Wearing a handgun in public signifies that the person wearing the gun is expecting to kill a person.  There is another reason that people wear guns in public and that is to intimidate others.

        So fear of the sight of guns in public places is entirely reasonable, and sometimes exactly what the gun wearer wants.

        Everyone nearby has a good reason to fear such a sight.

        Walking down the street holding hands rarely kills anyone.

        A black person walking down the street can kill someone, to the same extent that anyone else who walks down a street can kill someone.  People who fear a black man walking down the street are expressing a racial bias, not a reasonable fear.

        Fearing the sight of an armed person is entirely reasonable.  Fearing the sight of hand-holders or black people is entirely unreasonable.

        "The fool doth think he is wise: the wise man knows himself to be a fool" - W. Shakespeare

        by Hugh Jim Bissell on Sun May 11, 2014 at 08:53:33 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Well said, except for this (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          i saw an old tree today
          expecting to kill a person
          That's an extrapolation and assumption about motive.

          People who own and carry guns for self defense are prepared to kill something, maybe an animal, maybe a person. That's not the same as people expecting to kill people.

          People have different reasons for open carry. Regional cultural differences and context matters. Open carry doesn't necessarily frighten people when the purpose for carrying is clear and appropriate to the situation.

          E.g. hunters walking together along a forested road or sport shooters arriving at a shooting club for a competition.

          "The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails.” — William Arthur Ward

          by LilithGardener on Sun May 11, 2014 at 10:18:31 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Open Carry is a bit of a rorschach test. (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            CarlosJ, FrankRose

            In many ways the reaction tells more about the viewer than the act of open carrying tells about the gun owner.

            This woman in michigan obviously got scared just on sight of a gun in a holster of someone doing nothing threatening. Contains audio of the call.

            Wisconsin event of a person who managed to remain calm in spite of seeing someone that Hugh just said is "expecting to kill a person". I see you recced that comment - you might want to reconsider that. Eventually, after the dispatcher gets the law wrong at first, the caller comes to the logical conclusion:

            However when Ryan learned that six days after Mr. Yates was cited for disorderly conduct, Madison police officials issued an email to patrol officers stating that "officers cannot simply write a DC ticket based solely on the open carry . . . unless additional articulable facts exist to substantiate Disorderly Conduct," Ryan paused and then responded with a question:  "Then what basis is there to stop" someone openly carrying a gun?
            Not to be forgotten, this is how MWAG (man with a gun) calls should be handled in places where it is legal to OC.
          •  ^^^Unintentional irony is the best kind (0+ / 0-)

            isn't it?

            The bottom line is there are many places where open carry is legal and part of the culture. And there are many places where it justifiably raises red flags. If you see a gun that concerns you do not let anyone convince you that you should just ignore it because freedumb.

            Call the police and let them check out the situation and decide whether to issue a civil citation to men who brazenly stalk their neighborhood right when school lets out, such as Robert Pratt. No one will know whether police intervention that day prevented a mass murder. We might never know more than what we already do.

            Most of us are neither skilled nor authorized to assess whether someone carrying a gun is a danger to themselves or others. The general public does not know the minutia of concealed carry/open carry gun law.

            Rational fear is not the same as fear rooted in hate. Do not discount your fear.

            "The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails.” — William Arthur Ward

            by LilithGardener on Sun May 11, 2014 at 12:50:02 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  Heller is a very narrow ruling (17+ / 0-)

    Heller is a very narrow ruling interpreting the Second Amendment as protecting the right to own an operable gun in your own home for lawful self defense.

    District of Columbia v. Heller

     The majority explained that an outright ban on handguns was unacceptable because handguns are the preferred weapon for defense of hearth and home. They also spent dozens of pages explaining that many forms of gun control are constitutional.

    "The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails.” — William Arthur Ward

    by LilithGardener on Fri May 09, 2014 at 04:09:26 PM PDT

  •  Those employing right wing talking points, in my (14+ / 0-)

    experience, pretty much always have an entitlement metality. Something along the lines of "I wouldn't have said it if it wasn't true", or "because I said it it is true" or something along those lines. They lock into that because budging even an inch from that position creates consequences that are too stressful even to contemplate.

    And then the repetititon begins. Ad nauseum.

    There can be no protection locally if we're content to ignore the fact that there are no controls globally.

    by oldpotsmuggler on Fri May 09, 2014 at 04:40:55 PM PDT

  •  Sure. "You people got your rights. Now we get one" (12+ / 0-)

    has been the attitude of conservative gun rights people for years.

    Schedule permitting, PROOF WILL BE PROVIDED ON HOW I AM BEING "CONSTANTLY CALLED OUT" AND "UNIVERSALLY RECOGNIZED" FOR BEING BAD. Moreover, the dossier on my activities during the Bush administration will have an appendix concluding that I am Wrong.

    by Inland on Fri May 09, 2014 at 04:43:53 PM PDT

  •  Just like we see the NRA fear pablum regurgitated (19+ / 0-)

    ... here regularly as a reason to carry a weapon.

    Yeah, one always needs to be prepared in case the shit hits the fan (SHTF, in macho-posturing gun toter parlance).

    This was actually written in a comment in your previous diary:

    Fear is being compared to fear.

    Your fear, the fear that oozes up at the sight of a gun that is not being used for anything, is being compared to the fear of the conservatives, the fear that oozes up in some of them at the sight of a pair of gay men in love.

    Fear is being compared to fear.

    As I noted in response to this inane comment:
    The odds of gay people killing you are very, very small.

    The same cannot be said of a gun. Its intended purpose is to kill or maim.

    Such crazy justifications for "having the right" to tote one's gun wherever one goes...

    "Bob Johnson doesn't have special privileges, because really, why would I entrust that guy with ANYTHING?" - kos, November 9, 2013

    by Bob Johnson on Fri May 09, 2014 at 04:48:07 PM PDT

  •  Isn't the right to menace and strike fear (12+ / 0-)

    In those around you part of the bill of rights?

    Here in KS, we are now all about Open Carry.  

    Gandhi's Seven Sins: Wealth without work; Pleasure without conscience; Knowledge without character; Commerce without morality; Science without humanity; Worship without sacrifice; Politics without principle

    by Chris Reeves on Fri May 09, 2014 at 04:51:14 PM PDT

  •  Ya know... (17+ / 0-)

    Maybe it's because I'm stupid, or maybe it's because I'm a 60 year old grandmother who just refuses to be afraid of things at this late stage of the game, but these lunatics who feel the need to openly carry a weapon to the grocery store always cause me to burst into gales of laughter.  In their faces.  

    What fools.  I view them as scared little boys masquerading as macho men and it causes me to laugh until tears are rolling.  My father, bless his departed soul, would have done the same.  

    These are not brave men.  These are chicken-shits without the sense to run away from the world that terrifies them.

    The blustering fools on this very site who openly boast about their cowardice while claiming to be "helping" the Party should just go lock themselves in a closet.

    Your flag decal won't get you into heaven anymore. John Prine -8.00,-5.79

    by Miss Blue on Fri May 09, 2014 at 04:59:20 PM PDT

    •  Love it. That's the way to go. nt (10+ / 0-)

      "The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails.” — William Arthur Ward

      by LilithGardener on Fri May 09, 2014 at 05:18:28 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  People who get no respect (0+ / 0-)

      In my mind, people who feel the need to openly display their gun public are people who want or need the respect of others, but have no other way to gain that respect in the absence of a gun.

      "The fool doth think he is wise: the wise man knows himself to be a fool" - W. Shakespeare

      by Hugh Jim Bissell on Sun May 11, 2014 at 09:09:10 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Again, can we dispense with the broad brush? (0+ / 0-)

        Certainly you are correct about some of the open carry assholes we've seen in the news this year. Some of them are people like Robert Pratt, who may be mentally unstable. That's why it's wise to call the Police and let them assess the level of threat.

        But I must reject this tendency to paint all people who carry a gun in public with a single broad brush. It's neither true, nor helpful.

        There are plenty of people who do carry and plenty of places where it goes unremarked the same way that men and women in NYC  carry a bag, a briefcase, or a musical instrument in the subway.

        "The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails.” — William Arthur Ward

        by LilithGardener on Sun May 11, 2014 at 10:26:23 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Nice job on bringing clarity to the issue. Thank (12+ / 0-)

    you very much.

    (Though I fear you may be preaching to the choir. The sinners never seem to recognize the motes in their own eyes.)

  •  Gun owners are also misunderstood just like (5+ / 0-)

    the mentally ill:


    I blog about my daughter with autism at her website

    by coquiero on Fri May 09, 2014 at 05:01:57 PM PDT

  •  I have a different take. (12+ / 0-)

    A gun in public is a very real physical threat( possibly) while  a person of color walking about  has no physical ramifications.  Your argument brings up a lot of good points. I always thought that Roe v Wade was not about the termination of a pregancy but the right to choose to do something with one's body and falls under the penumbra of personal rights of which the right to privacy is but one of that penumbra ( if you can figure out exactly what a penumbra is more power to you). The right to expression is not whether to choose to receive a certain airwave or publication but rather the sender's right to make that communication without undue interference from the State. The recipient always had the option to listen or not. Freedom of religion is not a person's choice to celebrate a particular religion but rather the State cannot restrict that celebration nor can it support that celebration. The right to bear arms of course requires the State to not unduly restrict the possession and ownership of weapons. All of our constitutional rights implicate the government and whether the government can restrict the exercise of that right. So it really is not about whether someone wants to blog about their vacation plans or does not want to vote or some other personal choice. If you chose to keep guns in your home then the government can only restrict that choice if the restriction is tailored ( maybe just reasonably tailored) to some public good. I guess I have difficulty with the distinction you are making between the constitutional right and the examples you are giving as an exercise of that right.

  •  republished to "Shutdown the NRA... (10+ / 0-)

    talking points on Daily Kos"

    not really the name of the group...but maybe it should be.

    We are not broke, we are being robbed. ~Shop Kos Katalogue~

    by Glen The Plumber on Fri May 09, 2014 at 05:06:01 PM PDT

  •  Interesting (14+ / 0-)

    I've been going through this diary and the previous one.
    I have to agree with the idea that the 2d amendment is a property right and the black man/gays holding hands thing are fundamental human states of being. I'm not sure that means anything when it comes to enforcing the Constitution.
    I think self defense is a fundamental human right. The right to carry guns is a governmental right given only (almost) by the USA. To say its a human right to own a gun is to misunderstand human rights and gun rights.

    When it comes to comparing fear of open carry to fear of gays or blacks its hard to consider seriously the idea theyre the same.  Someone with a gun is a potential physical, life threatening, threat and a person would be a fool not to take notice and be wary  of that. A black man or gays holding hands are not threats per se, whether one thinks so or not.  Someone who perceives blacks and gays holding hands shouldn't own a gun.
    I know a lot of gun owners, some with permits, and many of then are alarmed by open carry (as am I.) You're saying with open carry that you have a gun and are willing to use it for your own purposes and you're saying it blatantly. Its unbelievable that people who open carry don't understand the consternation they're causing and do it for the effect.
    Its as much a statement of our "In Yo Face, Sucka!" society as it is of our gun society. an armed society is not a polite society, IMHO. its a society that condones and encourages killing. Like ours does.

    Just my 2 cts

    Happy just to be alive

    by exlrrp on Fri May 09, 2014 at 05:21:16 PM PDT

  •  Thanks for this well written and well analyzed (12+ / 0-)

    analysis LilithGardneer.  Conservatives have such odd ways of thinking about things that are not always based on the kinds of logic we are accustomed to.

    After spending decades trying to figure them out I've learned to use a few psychological tricks that sometimes help me decode the mystery of how and why they think they way they do. One of them may explain this odd mix of groups in a straight-forward way.

    Let me apologize in advance if this is ever so slightly offensive from some points of view. Please remember I don't think this, nor approve of this way of thinking, I've just known sufficient number of conservatives to suspect their unconscious minds were working overt time in this case. So please don't shoot the messenger here.

    But what do people carrying concealed weapons, black men, and male homosexuals have in common from the point of view of a red-state conservative?

    They are all "packing."

    In different slang ways. You've heard guns called "the great equalizers" before have you not? Well there you have it. Have you ever wondered why the grumpiest, most ardent,, angry, loudest, and expressive conservatives are white middle age or older males?

    My current significant other and previous two long term relationships have been Ph.D. psychologist, (So I've had the "benefit" of nearly 20 years of nearly continuous psychotherapy)

    I've been told these angry conservatives exhibit symptoms of "impotent rage." We may have to have some sympathy for all of these aging middle age white guys having to walking around imaging in their minds all these other folks are "packing big time," while they are not.

    So a gun, "is the great equalizer."  And the bigger the better.

    I love you post, and your analysis is valid and brilliant from a logical point of view, but the reason we never make any headway with conservatives with this kind of analytic logic, is that is not the kind of logic they are using to arrive at these odd pronouncements that drive us bonko.  

    We need to put on a special kind of "thinking hat" or decoder ring" that translate the arguments through a psycho-sexual-social-racial-economic filter to understand.

    Although, I'm speaking in a humorous manner that I will label (humor alert) so no one gets confused, what I'm saying is also completely true and I believe I could defend the hypothesis under academic scrutiny.

    A second useful principle comes from cognitive decision theory called "last place avoidance," which I posted here about three to five years ago (and received 2 or 3 recs.)  This principle explains white middle or even lower class Republicans will so often vote for Romney or Ryan type tax policy that benefit the top 2% the most, and may actually penalize themselves.

    Some research shows that many in the whites in lowest economic social status will identify (incorrectly in our opinion) with Romney 2% tax policy and the Republican Party to have an unconscious psychological basis for differentiating themselves from minority groups that have surpassed them on purely economic and/or educational measures of social class.

    In this case, "happiness is a warm gun hidden in ones pants and voting for Republicans." Trying to appeal to them with logic and references to the constitution isn't going to work, and may make it worse. To the extent you seem to be winning the argument, it would only mean they might have to go buy a bigger gun and larger pants so it will fit.

    Cheers, Great post Lilith.  

    "Seriously, Folks, WTH?" - ("What the Heck? "h/t Joan McCarter, Seriously, Florida. WTF?)

    by HoundDog on Fri May 09, 2014 at 05:24:19 PM PDT

  •  There is some bigotry behind (4+ / 0-)

    simply assuming things about someone or a group of people based on a common characteristic, even if you view that characteristic as a choice (religion for example) than a state of being (race, gender, sexuality). I agree however that just because bigotry may be in play, owning and carrying a gun is not like being gay, neither in kind nor degree.

    While you dream of Utopia, we're here on Earth, getting things done.

    by GoGoGoEverton on Fri May 09, 2014 at 05:39:43 PM PDT

  •  Great diary, lilith... (7+ / 0-)

    I've seen variations of these arguments for years and tend to avoid them because I assume folks shameless enough to make them are ineducable.

    But thanks for trying anyway. We can argue the intricacies of gun control laws at length but there are limits. And owning a firearm doesn't confer protected status any more than being a billionaire does(ask Tom Perkins, he too is convinced he's the victim).


  •  Excellent diary, Lilith. What if... (3+ / 0-)

    we all practiced ignoring comments by the RKBA group? I think the worst offenders of the lot would stop commenting for the lack of attention. A downside would be the loss of diaries such as this one -- a response to RKBA comments. The upside would be greater peace and calmer, intelligent discussion.

  •  Here's the deal: someone being black can't kill (7+ / 0-)

    me, someone being gay can't kill me, but someone carrying a gun sure as hell can kill me. Totally different kinds of fear.

    Is it true? Is it kind? Is it necessary? . . . and respect the dignity of every human being.

    by Wee Mama on Fri May 09, 2014 at 06:44:42 PM PDT

  •  Firearms aren't inherently evil (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    LilithGardener, ban nock

    any more than cars are. Or airplanes. Or Bowie knives. Or hoes. Or entrenching tools. Or rocks.

    In skilled hands they can save lives -- by bringing food to the table or keeping predators at bay.

    If you wish to kill someone you do not necessarily need a firearm. Crossbows work; longbows work; IEDs work; cars work; dynamite works; small plane crashes or small boat accidents work; you can kill someone with a broken beer bottle or a length of chain, with a rope or by stomping or by beating -- and you don't have to have a rock or stick to beat with, but that does ease the effort you must expend.

    The problem is the USER.

    LBJ, Van Cliburn, Ike, Wendy Davis, Lady Bird, Ann Richards, Barbara Jordan, Molly Ivins, Sully Sullenburger, Drew Brees: Texas is NO Bush League!

    by BlackSheep1 on Fri May 09, 2014 at 09:53:35 PM PDT

    •  Keeping predators at bay - LOL. (0+ / 0-)

      Food to the table? With you 9mm pistol?

      •  no, but yes with my .22 or a shotgun (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        although I will say I'm fonder of the small game a .22 can bring home than of birds.

        LBJ, Van Cliburn, Ike, Wendy Davis, Lady Bird, Ann Richards, Barbara Jordan, Molly Ivins, Sully Sullenburger, Drew Brees: Texas is NO Bush League!

        by BlackSheep1 on Sat May 10, 2014 at 09:34:49 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  There is also an issue about context (0+ / 0-)

      People don't routinely call 911 when they see a hunter or a group of men dressed in hunting clothes walking down the road from their truck to their hunting grounds. But theose same men in NYC would cause hundreds or thousands of people to call 911, even if NYC gun laws were different than they are.

      The issue is purpose. A group of young men with baseball bats on their way home from a softball game would not cause alarm. But those same young man, not dressed in baseball uniforms, each carrying a baseball bats showing up at a Jack-in-the-Box in NYC would also be cause for alarm and some would call 911. And rightfully so.

      Heller said explicitly, that some purposes are not protected by the Second Amemdment.

      Like most rights, the Second Amendment right is not unlimited. It is not a right to keep and carry any weapon whatsoever in any manner whatsoever and for whatever purpose: For example, concealed weapons prohibitions have been upheld under the Amendment or state analogues. The Court’s opinion should not be taken to cast doubt on longstanding prohibitions on the possession of firearms by felons and the mentally ill, or laws forbidding the carrying of firearms in sensitive places such as schools

      "The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails.” — William Arthur Ward

      by LilithGardener on Sat May 10, 2014 at 06:40:18 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Gun owners can't have it both ways. (0+ / 0-)

      I know where you're coming from, BlackSheep1. And for the record, if we retire somewhere rural we very well might own guns. And if some future time in my life, I live alone in a remote area, I very well might carry a concealed weapon. I grew up with guns and understand when and how they are useful.

      Out in rural areas, a gun in public is no big deal. But in urban and suburban areas a man or men walking around with guns displayed raises red flags. Guns are deadly weapons. The fear is rational.

      Guns are scary because people don't know what's in the mind of the person holding the gun. If they work as defensive weapons, it's because of the very sight or sound invokes the fear of death. If they work to repel a would be thief or rapist, it's because the site of a gun scares the carp out of anyone with half a brain.

      Gun owners who carry for self defense, do so because they are afraid that a gun will make the difference in a life/death matter. That's the same reason people fear guns in public. It makes people wonder if they and their children will soon be drawn into a life/death situation.

      Gun owners can't have it both ways.

      "The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails.” — William Arthur Ward

      by LilithGardener on Sat May 10, 2014 at 09:13:44 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I'm not asking to have it both ways (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        LilithGardener, oldpunk

        I carry all the time; it's not usually a firearm.

         (Gibbs' rule.)

        FWIW the one firearm I do in my own right own, I've only used for practice at a range -- but I've only had it 2 years tomorrow (a mother's day gift, it was).

        But ... well. I'm old, for one thing, and I'm female, for another, and I'm a military vet, for a third.

        So I'm aware that somebody bigger, faster, younger, stronger, more determined or more high might have some purpose to which I'll not be amenable in mind -- and I cannot predict who or when that might take place.

        So I carry an attitude, some knowledge, and regular practice with me. Am I ninja? Oh hell no. But that doesn't mean I'm helpless, either.

        At the base of all things comes the one we should IMO be fostering among ourselves and each other: Never take for granted that your luck will hold and nobody'll bother you -- you owe it to yourself to know what you're willing to fight for, and how to do so effectively.

        At a minimum I believe every human being has the right to self-defense. George Zimmerman's conduct wasn't self-defense and neither was that idiot who shot into the carload of kids.

        LBJ, Van Cliburn, Ike, Wendy Davis, Lady Bird, Ann Richards, Barbara Jordan, Molly Ivins, Sully Sullenburger, Drew Brees: Texas is NO Bush League!

        by BlackSheep1 on Sat May 10, 2014 at 09:49:11 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Self awareness and situational awareness (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          go hand in hand. I'd like to see more discussion of things like this. There's no substitute for mental preparation and knowing your options for responding.

          At the base of all things comes the one we should IMO be fostering among ourselves and each other: Never take for granted that your luck will hold and nobody'll bother you -- you owe it to yourself to know what you're willing to fight for, and how to do so effectively.

          "The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails.” — William Arthur Ward

          by LilithGardener on Sat May 10, 2014 at 10:33:25 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  The fear is not rational. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        One is at greater risk being near an armed police officer than an armed non-leo who is licensed to do so.

        The risk is less than driving.  So unless one calls 911 every time they see a car - all the fear is is of an example of how poorly humans understand relative risks.

        The uncommon always seems more risky than the common which is why people fear flying more than driving even though it is far safer.

  •  VVVV Hey, Lili, you are the Diva of reasonable (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    LilithGardener, oldpotsmuggler

    gun discussions at Daily Kos, imho. ;o)

    I think there is room at DK for 2 divas. ;o)

    Regarding the substance of your diary, you said ... "How about, 'Kitchen Sinking the Whole Bill of Rights'?"

    I know what kitchen sinking is, in terms of an interpersonal argument, but somehow that does not quite fit to describe the argumentative style.

    I cannot think of a different good clarifying phrase, but I sure would like to find one.

  •  Like sitting next to a hand grenade (3+ / 0-)

    As far as I am concerned, you can own any guns you want, as long as they are never around me.

    For me, sitting next to someone with a gun is similar to sitting next to someone with a live hand grenade in a box who keeps shaking it.

    People with guns are forever adjusting them, moving them, etc - and then they go off an maybe someone gets killed or permanently maimed.   Enjoy your guns at home (but not in my neighborhood) and at the gun range.  Shoot your heart out.  (sorry)

    •  I'd agree because you're not at (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      much risk in either situation.  Grenades are designed to not be easy to accidentally set off - for it would rather defeat the purpose of carrying them if they were.

      It's your irrational belief that both are risky propositions that makes you compare them not your rational knowledge that both are low risk.  

      •  Please give me a better analogy (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Oh Mary Oh, LilithGardener

        because I wouldn't want to sit somewhere around a fidgety gun owner carrying a loaded gun.  Too many stories about them accidentally setting them off.

        What would you compare it to?

        •  The gun accident rate is incredibly low (0+ / 0-)

          given the guns per capita ratio.  Far far lower than cars per capita.  Accidental gun death is lower than accidental death in:
          Drownings (indoor)
          Drownings (outdoor)
          Accidental poisonings
          Motor Vehicle Accidents

          What is making you nervous is the unknown - a very primal fear that every human is born with.  You deal with stairs and cars and pools, and deadly chemicals, and the like far more often than firearms and thus your casual use imprints the idea that these things are safe.  This familiarity breeds  comfort.  Conversely both the man next to you and the firearm are unfamiliar to you which removes that state of comfort.  While you know how stairs work and feel and you have experience cleaning with bleach you have little or no experience with that person or firearms which allows you to imagine worse things about them.  Compounded by tv, movies, and news reports that stress shocking uses of firearms (because reporting tens of millions of cases of firearm use where no one was hurt doesn't get viewers) you're already influenced towards giving in to that fear because instead of experience the information has filled you with prejudice.

          Fear of the unknown is natural but it is able to be beaten back by experience.  The person growing up with homophobic parents in a small town who only heard that goes to college and makes friends who are gay and obviously not demons now has information that counters that boogey-man filled unknown.  The racist who works with someone who opens their eyes.   The person forced to travel abroad for business and finds out they love other cultures they used to mock.

          Furthermore your nervousness on the part of other's legal and safe activity doesn't impart on you the authority to curtail their rights because the exercise of those rights makes you nervous.

          I'm sure there would be someone on this board close to you who would be more than happy to give you some experience so you can replace that fear of the unknown with a bit of familiarity.

          •  I take your word for it on the statistics, (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            but for all of those (except motor vehicles), I control the situation.

            In driving, I am incredibly defensive, and have avoided at least 2 bad rear-enders over the past 20 years.

            With a guy having a gun, since I don't know if he is good with guns or bad with them, I feel the need for "defensive control of the situation", meaning avoidance/get away from the guy with the gun.

            Also, it seems to be one of those "we have added danger to your situation" with no positive benefit.  I don't feel safer with the gun around; maybe he does, but maybe his wife sitting across from him in the restaurant does not.

            •  Statistically a person legally carrying a firearm (0+ / 0-)

              is 10 less likely to commit a felony than an average non-leo person and 4 times less likely than an leo.  Studies in Florida from the State police records and Texas both show these same results.

              Right, its about feeling safer not about the actual relative safety of the situation.  Humans are very very bad about separating their emotional response to a situation from their knowledge of the situation.  People can be told all day long that flying is much safer than driving but they would feel safer driving.  It's an emotional response that is usually only resolved by experience which removes the unknown factor.

              When I first started carrying even though I was already familiar with firearms I felt unease at carrying and I can't even say why since the fears that my mind conjured I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt were mechanically impossible - yet it wasn't until about week three that those fears went away because my actual physical experiences was changing my mind's perceptions.

              •  Please post links to back up your claims (0+ / 0-)

                There was a diary some time ago about Texas and it was far from persuasive. There were quite a few problems with the study method.

                "The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails.” — William Arthur Ward

                by LilithGardener on Thu May 15, 2014 at 04:03:43 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

  •  They're not progressives (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    LilithGardener, oldpotsmuggler

    They're more like conservative trolls or something along those lines.

  •  Plainwell, Michigan - Rob Pratt's Open Carry Video (6+ / 0-)

    Watch/listen as this gun owner explains to police that he's just exercising his rights.

    Months later police were called with reports that Robert Pratt had taken a bat to a vehicle and was trying to break into a home. A few weeks after that, 8 months after he posted this video, Robert Pratt murdered his girlfriend, Cassandra Pell, before killing himself.

    What you'll see/hear in the video: Robert Pratt deliberately took a walk with his dog, carrying a shotgun, smoking a cigarette, in a suburban neighborhood. At the end of the video he admits he's aware that it's not the best time of day,  with school being let out. He admits he had done the same thing the prior day. He claims the people who call the police are the problem. The first Officer in the video is Officer Pell, Cassandra Pell's father.

    This is why people feel afraid when they see a gun in public where there is no reason to display a gun. The public is not trained or equipped to assess whether men like Robert Pratt are a danger to themselves or others.

    The prudent thing to do when you see a gun where it doesn't belong is to leave the area. Call the police.

    "The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails.” — William Arthur Ward

    by LilithGardener on Sat May 10, 2014 at 07:27:56 AM PDT

  •  Keep up the good work, Lilith (4+ / 0-)

    stupidity, especially deadly stupidity, needs to be called out.  And you have done it, so clearly and so very well.

    "Out of Many, One Nation." This is the great promise of these United States of America -9.75 -6.87

    by Uncle Moji on Sat May 10, 2014 at 07:59:46 AM PDT

  •  Last Thursday in Toledo, Ohio (3+ / 0-)

    An idiot father thought it would be a really good idea to walk his kid into the Toledo Christian school in the morning. With a big gun strapped to his hip. The school went into lock down and was surrounded by the SWAT team. Turns out, he was an off duty policeman from a little town outside Toledo. He said he had his badge on his belt, I guess no one saw it. They were probably too distracted by the gun to notice. Pretty funny story. I think he missed the training where they covered de-escalating situations.

    •  Yes, and there is no good reason (2+ / 0-)

      to think that the general public should ever be conditioned to tolerate that level of carelessness.

      The responsibility is on the gun owner to secure their gun. And that includes being aware of the impact the presence of the gun has on everyone else present.

      "The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails.” — William Arthur Ward

      by LilithGardener on Sat May 10, 2014 at 09:25:57 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  There was a similar case a month or so ago (0+ / 0-)

      Involving a man who was active in community youth programs and was an advocate in upstate NY.

      He was known to school officials and walked into a school with his gun on him. There were at least two independent reports to 911, man with a gun.

      School in lockdown. He even conversed with school security while they were searching for the man with a gun. Turns out it was him. Under the NY SAFE Act that's a felony and he would lose his right to own a gun ever, for the rest of his life.

      Should he be prosecuted? Yes
      Should he be convicted? Yes
      Should he be let off on a less charge? No

      Why do I think that? Because a moment of inattention in slightly different circumstances and someone can be maimed or dead. He has proven himself to be too careless to be trusted with a gun. He has much to offer the community and he can continue his life unarmed. He can become and advocate for gun owners to take more responsibility and more care when walking around armed with a deadly weapon.

      "The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails.” — William Arthur Ward

      by LilithGardener on Sat May 10, 2014 at 12:02:55 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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