Not content to have scared wheelchair-bound moms, gotten kicked out of Chipotle, Chili's and Sonic, and set the gun-rights cause back a century, the supreme gentlemen of the open-carry movement struck on another dumb tactic: Intimidate a veteran and chase him through the streets.
Once again, Mark Follman at Mother Jones has the video in which the Texas gun crew, which has fanned out across a Fort Worth broad traffic intersection, taunts a man who identifies himself as James, a Marine infantry veteran, and follows him a quarter-mile or so back to his car. You know, with their guns:
The men, members of the groups Open Carry Texas and Open Carry Tarrant County, asked him which news network he was with. When he said he wasn't, things began turning frosty. They pressed him about what he thought of their demonstration, and he replied with an unvarnished opinion that included profanities, language he told me he regrets having used.
"I'm all for responsible gun owners," he says. "What I was taught was not to wear it around like a gold chain. What they're doing is irresponsible. It intimidates the public, and people have just as much right to be comfortable in their public environment as these guys have a right to own their firearms."
Suddenly he was surrounded by about a half dozen armed men. They started badgering him with questions and accusing him of being anti-American. "I said, 'Are you kidding me? I served in the military.' They were trying to intimidate me, and when I didn't cower that upset them," he said. But he was starting to feel nervous and decided to disengage and walk away.
James is not totally blameless in this affair. He came out to film all the rifle-toting Second Amendment Men and spouted a long line of blue language in their faces along the way. He could have walked away faster and sooner. One thing that's inadvisable in an encounter with a pack of openly armed gun nuts is confronting them directly.
But like the armed idiots, he had every right to do what he was doing. He didn't have to walk away faster and sooner. And he posed less of a threat to his fellow Texans.
Any wahoo toting an AR down the street to brag about his rights should be okay with a fellow citizen's right to call him an asshole and film him on the street. And no responsible gun owner should ever, ever, ever follow someone through the streets against their wishes, cornering them. We've been there before. It's menacing, it's intimidating, and takes matters to the brink of violence... which these bullish assholes would have been only to happy to take care of with their weapons.
I will keep saying it until my puffy, weary face is eight shades of indigo: If you are armed, you have a responsibility not to be a douchebag, not to seek out a conflict, not to think of yourself as the righteous head of Thor's veiny, hammering proboscis. You have all of the power. If you have none of the sense to wield it respectfully and reluctantly, you deserve none of the power.