That One Open Carry Douche Who Will Ruin it For Everyone and His Name is Carl
It is not a matter of if, but when. With the rise of open carry, particularly of the AR and AK style of weapons, it’s only a matter of time before a negligent discharge does someone serious harm. It’s just a matter of statistics and probability. When you increase the number of those weapons out and about, it will happen.
Believe it or not, NDs even happen among trained military and LEO personnel (actually, considering the audience reading this, most of you will believe because you’ve seen it). I can think of two NDs I saw in the Marines. Thankfully, one took place in a clearing barrel and the other in the Al Kut courthouse.
Someone is going to win that lottery here in open carry states. I’m here today give you a few tips so you don’t become the one, the only, the infamous, Carl of the Open Carry Movement.
Dress for Success
Now personally, I’m not that big of a fan of open carry. I didn’t say I think it should be illegal. I understand the premise of removing any barriers to our constitutional right to firearms and I know there are some places where open carry (vs. concealed) is your only option.
Even within the gun loving world though you find a pretty healthy debate between concealed and open carry. I like bourbon, you like scotch, but we all love whiskey so it’s cool.
I do however feel the need to divert for a moment and insist that if you choose to open carry a rifle, don’t look like a douche while you do it.
If you look like you just crawled out of your mother’s basement after binging all night on World of Warcraft, you can’t carry an AK-47 with you to the mall. I’m not sure that’s in the open carry statues or not, but I hope so. Granted, there is no appearance requirement to exercise a constitutional right, but if you really cared about said constitutional right you would treat it with more respect and dress better than some window-licker on a late night trip to Walmart to purchase another “wolf howling at the moon” shirt.
If I were to put on the Hadji man dress I bought when I was in Iraq, let my beard grow out and show up at the mall with an AK-47 to exercise my constitutional right, you would take notice now wouldn’t you? Appearance matters. If you insist it doesn’t, you’re not being intellectually honest. If you lack the ability to exude the professionalism we all hope is at the end of that weapon, then just don’t do it. If all your range time is spent increasing your kill/death ratio on Call of Duty, stay home. You can still serve your vital constitutional role from your mom’s basement. If we need you to keep the public safe, we’ll send you a text or something.
No Premature Discharge
You can make the case that a holstered sidearm in full control on your body should always have a round in the chamber. It is your primary method of response for the type of up-close and quick threats you are more likely to encounter. But if you insist that the rifle slung across your back in a carry fashion needs a round in the chamber, I’m going to call your bluff a little. It doesn’t matter how many times you watch that YouTube video and practice unslinging that rifle around your back in the mirror asking the reflection if it feels lucky. I doubt you’re going to accurately put rounds on target when the pucker factor hits a high 10.
In fact, since the time you actually need to do so will, for most of society, be the first time they ever heard the snap and crack of a bullet go by, I would actually prefer you take the few seconds to chamber a round and assess the situation before you start throwing down rounds downrange. After all, those rounds could rendezvous with my head. You know those high berms that are always behind your pretty zombie targets at the range? They are there for a reason, people.
Worse even than the collateral damage (often acceptable in war, certainly not here in America while I’m shopping at Target), is the negligent discharge. It is going to happen and if you are being silly about the threat level you face, it will happen to you first. If you stroll up in a tough neighborhood and you want to walk around at the tactical ready with a round in the chamber, whatever. Be my guest. But if you’re shopping for scented candles at Target…give me a break, brother. Having a round in the chamber of an AK that is slung over your back is ridiculous. Again, I don’t want most of you responding quickly with these weapons. I want you to think and assess the situation before you do anything stupid. As for most combat veterans, they are going to do the exact same thing before they start throwing down rounds. Think about that before you accuse me of being elitist.
Guns Don’t Kill People, People Kill People
After all, that is one of the mantras of those of us who love the 2nd Amendment. But that doesn’t eliminate the risk Carl incurs when he acts like a dumbass.
Guns don’t kill people, people kill people and stupid people kill people too. Untrained people kill people. Call of Duty wannabes kill people.
Don’t be one of the people who kills people when it’s not morally and legally right to kill people. This whole article is really just a plea that you know your skill level and urge you to assess any situation where you think you might have to start pulling the trigger. Oh, and yeah, don’t dress like a douche.
I’m not going to open carry. It’s not my cup of tea. I’d rather be the armed guy no one knew about who gets to yell Yippie ki yay Mfer to Hans Gruber.
But I can’t stop you from drinking scotch just because I like bourbon. This is America.
Open carry is here, but it might not always be. I promise you, it won’t take too many douches like Carl to screw that up. Just a few unintended rounds in public will threaten 2A liberties far more than an Obama executive action double stamped by Hilary Clinton.
Don’t be Carl. No one one likes Carl. If you don’t know who the Carl in the room is, you might want to look in the mirror. It might be you, brother. Learn the phrase, “Hey mom, I’m going to open carry my AK, how do I look?” For 99% of you, your day will be as good as an Ice Cube song because like him, you won’t have to use your AK today.
How about we keep that round out of the chamber until you really need it.
Semper Fi, and Semper Fi one more time. Love your country, but think critically and question authority. Lady Liberty wants her panties back.
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About the Author: Guest contributor Jeff Edwards is a former gyrene, an infantry veteran of Iraq and the HFMIC of Unprecedented Mediocrity. You’ve seen us post some of his UM work here occasionally — we liked his wit sufficiently to let him pontificate here on occasion. (Come to think of it, that actually might not be the greatest character reference, but it’s the truth.) Where’s the name Unprecedented Mediocrity come from? It’s founded at least part on Jeff’s personal philosophy that “…there is unprecedented joy in the state of simply being as opposed to constantly chasing an arbitrary standard that someone else likely made up.” Find him on Twitter at @jeffed0311, and never joke about getting dick pics. He’ll more than likely send some.