Everything is indeed bigger in Texas, and now that slogan can also apply to moronic public displays of intimidation. The New York Times reported today on an armed protest outside a suburban restaurant this past weekend.
A small meeting of a group seeking tougher gun laws was interrupted Saturday at a suburban Dallas restaurant when the woman who helped organize it saw something outside that startled her: at least two dozen men and women in the parking lot with shotguns, hunting rifles, AR-15s and AK-47s.
The scene unfolded near AT&T Stadium in the suburb of Arlington about 30 minutes after three women associated with the local chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America met inside the Blue Mesa Grill.
“I was terrified,” said the woman who helped coordinate the meeting and who spoke on the condition of anonymity because she said she feared for her safety. “They didn’t want to talk. They wanted to display force.”
The armed group of men, women and children was made up of members of a gun rights organization called Open Carry Texas, and they stayed in the parking lot about 10 or 15 minutes to protest the Moms Demand Action meeting and then left.
Many enthusiastic defenders of the second amendment, certainly not all, may be able to rationalize the idea of a peaceful armed protest, but those are exactly the kind of people whose militia credentials need to be far more “well-regulated.” For proof, just look at the picture from the protest below.
I will avoid extensive commentary regarding the low-hanging fruit (i.e. the ape-like display of physical posturing by the gentleman(?) in the red t-shirt) because there is something far more concerning about this band of misfits. Note the downward direction in which at least three of the rifle muzzles are pointing in the photo. One gun even seems to be pointing directly at another member’s leg. Now, I am no gun expert, so I did some quick research regarding the proper way to carry a rifle or shotgun with a shoulder strap. Every source I could find, including this one from the state of Texas, clearly states that the muzzle of the gun should be pointed in a “safe direction.” All the pictures and diagrams available also depict the muzzle pointing up when the carrier is utilizing a shoulder strap.
There may be times when the “safe direction” to point a rifle is muzzle down, namely when there are people above—think urban environments with nearby high-rise buildings. However, in the parking lot of a suburban restaurant, where there are no tall buildings and where the concrete surface below would fragment and ricochet a misfired bullet, the safest direction to point a shoulder-strapped firearm is clearly upwards.
This may seem like a small point of contention, but the disregard with which some gun owners wield their weapons is indicative of a lack of respect for the weapons themselves and the people around them. This selfish disrespect epitomizes people who value individual rights over the welfare of the community—including the safety and welfare of children, who appear just feet away in the photo.
Among this particular crowd, the ugly cynic inside me would not typically have an issue with the principles of Darwinism playing out to semi-tragic ends, but the children standing a few feet away deserve better. And more generally, all Americans deserve better protection from people who, being bereft of civilized tools like persuasive discourse and logic, are forced to resort to threatening and irresponsible displays of force.