Michael Sliwa on indoctrination, violence, and the many issues associated with open carry laws.
Texas now has an open carry law . However businesses can decide whether or not they want to allow open carry on their premises. Gun enthusiasts claim that they are not the ones people should worry about. After all, they registered and passed a background check. What they fail to realize is that they’re also the most fearful group of people on the planet.They want open carry for a reason. Being afraid of what could happen mixed with wanting to intimidate is a potent mix. The irony is that the face of this hysteria is that of the white male. White males and mass shootings have a close relationship. Having them open carry their firearm hardly seems appropriate.
It’s interesting to me that a demographic which has a history of horrific violence against people who fall outside their demographic would be so fearful. However, if one stops to think about this for a few seconds it’s an easy connection. White men have been killing on this continent in the name of fear for over 500 years. The open carry laws currently being enacted in some way shape or form in 45 states is just another version of a long historical and hysterical fear of the other. That’s white man code for people of color.
The root of our fears is indoctrination.
We’ve been taught to be afraid of what we don’t know. We’ve resisted wisdom because it requires self-reflection. Self-reflection requires hard work and as much as we like to talk about our work ethic, it falls short in the areas that require it the most. Many of those who support open carry long for days gone by. They have a misplaced fear of losing a country we stole in the first place. So do we have a reason to be fearful?
Michael Moore’s book, Stupid White Men really brought home a valid point concerning our misplaced fears over a decade and half ago when he said, “Every mean word, every cruel act, every bit of pain, and suffering in my life had a Caucasian face attached to it.” For me this quote rings absolutely true. My life, for the most part, has been surrounded by white people. Any harm coming to me has been via white folks. White folks, and in particular men (who have a much more violent history than women) are the last group I want to see packin’ heat. Shortly it looks like college campuses in Texas will have to deal with the hysteria as well.
Let me be very clear. I’m not anti-gun nor do I hate white people.
I believe in reasonable gun ownership without shoving it in people’s faces. Furthermore, some of my favorite people in the world are white. I’m white. This does not however cloud my judgement. Those who open carry are fearful. Fearful white folks can continue to carry, I just prefer they not promote their fear in public.
The counter-argument is that law-abiding citizens are being punished for having a legal firearm in their possession. First, I think keeping your gun concealed is hardly punishment. Besides, I’m not exactly hearing about massive fines or incarcerations at this point for folks exposing their gun inadvertently by taking their jacket off in a public space. The only reason people want to open carry is because they are afraid and as a result they want to intimidate and bully those who frighten them.
Now, some may argue that intimidation can save lives.
Less than 5% of adults in Texas have concealed carry permits so do the math. One, folks apparently aren’t too keen on permitted concealment let alone open carry permits. Finally, the odds of that small percentage being at the right place at the right time and having life saving outcome is like hitting the lottery. This isn’t television folks. Things don’t play out like an action movie. Intimidation can lead to confrontation and accidents but we rarely ever look at the shortcomings of our own narrative. We rarely look at reality.
Until mass shootings, police shootings, overall crime, and violence drop within our own demographic I suggest we look inward and take appropriate action. We point out personal responsibility to communities of color all the time. Maybe it’s time we take our own advice.
Mike Sliwa is a husband and homesteader. He taught high school for 12 years and left his career for a simpler existence. Currently he and his wife are living off grid, perfecting their durable living skills in rural New Mexico. Mike speaks about a wide variety issues concerning simple living, white privilege, abrupt climate change, Near Term Human Extinction, and other consequences of the civilized industrial global economy. He's also a co-host for the radio program, Nature Bats Last on the Progressive Radio Network (Prn.fm) and co-founder of the social justice speaking agency truality.org. He is the author of Chasing a Different Carrot, A Manifesto for the Predicament of Privilege. You can find more information at michaelsliwa.wordpress.com.