The perfect is the enemy of the good.
In a recent column about how concealed carry saves lives, I related that one of the armed citizens we profiled had his openly carried firearm taken from him by his attacker. In a bit of a throwaway comment, I mentioned that the incident seems to bolster a common anti-open-carry argument (that it’s a temptation to criminals). One of our commenters made an excellent point:
Fact is, the Great Concealed vs. Open Carry Debate (and others like it) is probably never going to go away, and that’s okay…but every time the pro-2A community lets its debates become too fractious, Nancy Pelosi does that crocodile thing that sort of looks like a smile.
While we’re on the subject of reptiles, I’d like to take a moment to reflect on the Gadsden Flag and its historical (as well as its current) meaning. The snake depicted on it is a rattlesnake, and the warning not to tread on it is both metaphorical and literal. Like other venomous snakes, the rattler has the ability to deliver what’s called a “dry bite.” It’s exactly what it sounds like–a bite that contains little to no venom. They do it because venom “costs” the snake a lot of energy from a metabolic perspective, and although the snake can always make more it can’t do so immediately. So rattlers sometimes just give you a little “love nip” instead of actively trying to kill you. (The phenomenon has, in the past, caused some folks to mistakenly believe that they’re immune to the venom.)
What does this have to do with internal “gun guy debates”? Well, other than the fact that Yours Truly is a master debater (heyo!), the crux of the matter is that the urge to do it is as natural and healthy as my sixth-grade teacher said in the sentence right before the one where she sent me to the principal’s office. Jokes aside, when we discuss these things we’re discussing safety, efficacy, and morality from a number of different angles. Should armed defenders never shoot to defend a stranger? Do “We Don’t Dial 911” signs make us safer or set us up for trouble? Do weapon-mounted flashlights make you a target for home invaders? These are all discussions we absolutely should have, and keep having, as firearms technology and legal precedent evolve (usually out of sync).
The trouble comes in when we let these debates divide us. Remember Jim Zumbo? It was 12 years ago when he maybe had one too many road sodas around the campfire and suggested in his blog that AR-15s don’t belong in the hunting fields. To this very day, anti-gun pundits in publications like The Trace (no, they don’t get a link and I assure you I’m aghast at sharing “Trace” with them) are continuing to use that one ill-considered and immediately-deleted blog post to claim that “even famous lifelong hunters and gun guys like Jim Zumbo think AR-15s are for terrorists!” None of this is to dogpile on Zumbo; it’s only to point out that the pro-2A activism community is absolutely under scrutiny by anti-gunners and that they will divide and conquer whenever they can.
Just like the British tried to do when America was in its infancy, come to think of it. Which brings me back to the Gadsden flag and the rattlesnake. When we’re giving each other guff about whether or not a brushed stainless-steel finish is dangerous in a firefight (which is an actual argument that I have heard), what we’re basically doing is dry-biting one another. It’s just important to remember that we only have so much venom, and it would be a shame to waste it on our allies. Let’s save it for the antis…
…Also it’s completely silly to worry about a gun’s finish in a firefight, who even says a thing like that? I bet they also carry their gun cocked and locked but open on their hip while putting a “Keep Honking, I’m Reloading” bumper sticker on their car. Dummies!
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