…we should all leave. Immediately. Leave the food on the table in the restaurant. Leave the groceries in the cart, in the aisle. Stop talking or engaging in the exchange. Just leave, unceremoniously, and fast.
But here is the key part: don’t pay. Stopping to pay in the presence of a person with a gun means risking your and your loved ones’ lives; money shouldn’t trump this. It doesn’t matter if you ate the meal. It doesn’t matter if you’ve just received food from the deli counter that can’t be resold. It doesn’t matter if you just got a haircut. Leave. If the business loses money, so be it. They can make the activists pay..
What we’re witnessing from these groups should absolutely be considered a form of “terrorism,” thinly disguised as a defiant protest in support of the Second Amendment. Make no mistake, like the Bundy radicals, they’re itching for a fight. They want to be arrested. They want a nation in which the open carrying of deadly weapons is commonplace — with the critical downside that once the guns are accepted fashion accessories and the public is desensitized, actual homicidal mass shooters can more successfully blend into crowds without having to conceal a damn thing. It defies reason that in the wake of these mass shootings gun laws continue to become more permissible, rather than more restrictive. More astonishing is the reality that open carry gatherings in public places, especially in locations where the open carriers aren’t welcome, isn’t a more contentious issue. The logical endgame here is a society in which every third or fourth white guy you bump into at McDonald’s is armed with a retail product that can kill you on the spot. It’s growing into a Mad Max movie with fewer shoulder pads and more corporate gathering places. Wait, come to think of it, firearms were banned inside Bartertown. So the metaphor doesn’t totally hold up, but you know what I mean. As with the conspiracy theory nutbars, there’s an opportunity to marginalize the open carry gangs before their ridiculous “cause” balloons into societal regularity. There’s an opportunity to shame them as extremists who are slowly transforming our public places into Tombstone, Arizona. Oh, dammit, that’s right — guns were banned in Tombstone, too.
Hey, gun nuts and others on the right: do you hear yourselves talking?
Of course not. These are scared, petty people who pretend that they aren’t the pawns of the oligarchs for whom they (unwittingly) bid for.
These are people stewed in Ronald Reagan’s denial. Not only do they support politics which is harmful to themselves, but they are actively ignorant of their narcissism. Participation in democracy to them is staging Lord Of The Flies without any other players’s consent. They have been ponerized to erode our commonwealth. They have been trained to despise people by demagogues who have turned in to abstractions (consider how the words liberal and socialist are used as epithets and used as synonyms by right-wing extremists while they lack the capacity to explain the difference between the two), so there for they worship inanimate objects that give these scared people power - the firearms that give them the power to inflict pain and death if they chose to use them.
For them to admit a mistake, to truly engage in dialogue where they may have to contemplate a new idea, to show regret, remorse, compassion, empathy, etc. would be the destruction of their raison d’etre and to have to face the identity crushing truth that they are as powerless and as vulnerable as anyone they have repressed with their ideology.
Fifteen years after Columbine rattled America to its core, people still get shot while they’re at school. People get shot while they’re at work. People get shot eating. People get shot drinking. People get shot watching movies, shopping, driving, swimming, skipping, and playing baseball. It’s 2014 and in America, people get shot doing basically any goddamn thing you can think of.