Sorry, Gun People, a Smiling Photo Doesn’t Disprove the Open-Carry Gunmen Story

By way of a follow-up to my column yesterday, 40 Gunmen Armed with Assault Rifles Terrorize Gun Control Group at a Texas Restaurant, I thought I’d address the pro-gun meme circulating Facebook and the comment section of Banter.

In response to the article here, along with the ThinkProgress post about the incident, various pro-gun trolls and Tucker Carlson’s The Daily Caller have been circulating the following image:

The point? Honestly, I have no idea what the hell the point is. Somehow because they posed for a group photo in the midst of deliberately intimidating four activists inside the restaurant makes the intimidation permissible? Sorry, no. And to suggest that it was a “peaceful protest” totally stretches the definition of “peaceful.” The people inside, not just the MDA members, were terrified that the gunmen (gunmen = peaceful?) were going to ambush them. Go figure, considering the blight of gun massacres occurring with deadly regularity.

So by this logic, if, say, a group of Muslim youths appeared outside a restaurant wearing bulky backpacks, dark glasses and baseball caps, brandishing semi-automatic firearms, there’d be no reason to be alarmed as long as they snapped a grinning group photo? Nonsense.

Yes, around 40 members of Open Carry Texas spent two hours outside a lunch meeting of four gun control activists from Moms Demand Action, openly and flagrantly brandishing military-style firearms, which might or might not have been loaded (only the gunmen knew for sure), for the sole purpose of terrorizing four women inside.

In fact, a smiling group photo makes the Open Carry thugs appear worse, as it captures how proud and giddy the gunmen were to be terrorizing four gun control activists at a harmless luncheon. Good job, gun nuts.

(ht The Law Office of Edward Tayter)
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  • GrafZeppelin127

    Let’s not forget also that all those nice, harmless, peaceful, law-abiding, freedom-loving guns are unloaded. Which anyone who sees them can totally tell just by looking at them, and by looking at all those nice, harmless, peaceful, law-abiding, freedom-loving gunmen.

  • http://drangedinaz.wordpress.com/ IrishGrrrl

    I had so many gun nuts tell me yesterday that there was no reason anyone should be afraid of these people I decided to ask someone who is infinitely familiar with guns, has many of them, and someone who isn’t afraid of anything or anyone–my boyfriend. He is Native American, grew up on the reservation, doesn’t ever take crap from anyone and has had weapons of all kinds since he was a small child. I gave him the following scenario. You and three Native American friends form a political group and go to lunch to discuss how to grow your membership. You find out that a group that oppose your political group’s position is outside of the restaurant with about 40 members holding rifles and a variety of other long guns. What would your reaction be? He said fear, worry and anger. Then he said, I wonder what white people would think if those 40 people were Native Americans with long guns? Indeed, a group of the “browns” doing that would have made white gun nuts piss their pants.

    Anyone that thinks hanging out in public in large groups brandishing weapons is not threatening and not intimidating needs to have their head examined.

    • ChrisAndersen

      A few months back a couple of idiots spent a few hours walking around a local Portland neighborhood with a couple of AR15s strapped to their backs. They say they wanted to prove a point that doing so was legal.

      All I could think is, how would people react if they had been black.

      • Christopher Foxx

        I’d like to see a black or Arabic group respond to these things by ding an identical demonstration. (Yeah, easy for me to say “I wish someone else would do something.”) It would make the hypocrisy of these groups even more apparent.

      • Craig Moffitt

        It’s even worse than that. I know that one of the two idiots you mentioned, possibly both, had to drive up from Medford, 4 hours or 230 miles out of their way. The neighborhood that they were walking up the street in is in one of the bluest electoral districts in the country. These guys were trying to provoke a reaction from the people who there.

    • Badgerite

      Brings to mind the idea of a ‘posse’ or a ‘lynching’, does it not? They took a lot of photos during those activities too and they were frequently ‘smiling’ while they did it.
      The idea that fear would not be a natural response to this behavior is ridiculous.
      And the response that “Rights are rights”, does not answer that this behavior was MEANT to intimidate the exercise by others of their rights.

  • Churchlady320

    Those are two different photos taken at two different spots. I cannot tell the guns are unloaded – how can anyone know that?
    I’d say this seriously shows the power of four Mad Mothers. That this group of thugs were so intimidated they had to show firepower to intimidate them says something very real about the impact these four women have already had on the issue of sane gun regulation.

    • Christopher Foxx

      I say this seriously shows the cowardice of forty gun owners.

  • ChrisAndersen

    Note that the picture still claims that the MDA meeting was a “rally”.

    • Christopher Foxx

      Excellent point. “Anti gun rally” certainly brings up (as it undoubtedly is intended to) the image of a lot of folks gathering and actively doing something. This was four women getting together for lunch to talk about what they might do.

      But they need that lie to try to justify their response.

  • i_a_c

    Here’s my problem: how does someone identify a “good guy with a gun”? If someone were merely “exercising their right” to open carry a rifle in a public place, like a recent incident at Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport, I don’t think I’m the only one who would fear they might be a deranged nutjob with ill intentions.

    The gun fetishist crowd would say “Oh there’s nothing to be afraid of, people are scared because of anti-gun propaganda.” Uh, I think people might be scared that an instrument of death might be in the hands of some lunatic who’s snapped. Talk about responsible gun ownership. Is it responsible to walk into a public place and intimidate people with their semiautomatic rifles?

    Bob has it exactly right: what if some people with a little darker complexion were exercising their rights in this fashion? Would the gun crowd defend them so vehemently? Somehow I doubt it. They freaked the fuck out over some black dude standing in front of a polling place holding the door for people.

    What happens when one of these “good guys” mistakes another “good guy” for a “bad guy”? I mean, this BS doesn’t even pass the smell test.

    • GrafZeppelin127

      Gun nuts can’t look at the situation objectively; only subjectively. They see themselves, meaning each individually sees him or herself, by his or her own subjective judgment, as a good, decent, peaceful, law-abiding, responsible, nonviolent, non-deranged, non-criminal. To be seen, actually or potentially, as anything else is offensive to them. They can’t put themselves in the shoes of the objective, reasonable observer, seeing some random person with some random weapon in some random place. They only see it from their own perspective, viz., being wrongly suspected or accused of being dangerous.

      • i_a_c

        I don’t even consider myself anti-gun. If someone wants to go hunting, go out to the range, or have a handgun at home for self-defense, I’m perfectly OK with that. I guess I have a problem with these people who are legends in their own imagination, protecting America from the ne’er-do-wells, whoever they are, and pretending they and their guns exist in a vacuum or something.

        • GrafZeppelin127

          I call them the heroes of their own private mythology. They admire themselves far too much to be taken seriously.

          • i_a_c

            I actually had you in mind when I wrote that phrase, but I just didn’t remember how you would typically put it. Thanks for the reminder. :-)

    • Dalai_Rasta

      More to the point, what happens when these “good guys” mistake a “bad guy” for another “good guy”?

      • i_a_c

        Well, yeah. The mythology fails on so many levels I wonder why I considered it for even a moment.

  • FlipYrWhig

    OK, I hate all guns and wouldn’t miss them if they evaporated tomorrow, but I see the point here: the first picture looks like the group is in an attack formation, “playing soldier,” staring down a enemy, while the second shows that they weren’t doing that. All the same, the second picture has a creepiness in its own right. Smiling children, big swingin’ guns, and a big honkin’ flag? That is messed up.

  • Badgerite
  • 1933john

    A bit of levity from Harper’s Weekly,
    “Young Lee, a co-founder of the frozen-yogurt chain Pinkberry, was convicted of beating a homeless man with a tire iron after the man flashed his tattoo of a stick-figure couple having sex, and a Georgia couple were arrested for having sex in a pickup truck in the parking lot of a Waffle House. “When the female finally got dressed,” wrote the arresting officer, “she attempted to put a cheese burger on her foot as if it were a sandal.”

  • Badgerite

    Here is a link to an article about this in USA Today
    http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2013/11/11/moms-demand-action-open-carry-texas-guns-rifles/3497895/

    From the artilce.
    “They, (the mothers) were sitting in the restaurant and all of a sudden saw cars pull up and these people were getting out of the cars and pulling semi-automatic rifles out of their trunks”, said Watts.—–
    Watts said the patrons of the Blue Mesa Grill were ‘terrified.”
    “They felt like in an armed ambush and had no idea why it was taking place,” Watts said.
    She said, “One mom went from table to table “to explain what was going on”.

    And:

    Chris Barton, the CFO of Blue Mesa Grill, said the manager called 911 at 11:35 a.m. shortly after the armed group arrived.
    “When the manager called, he told them ( the police dispatcher) what was going on.”, Baron said. “They said that if they are having a peaceful demonstration, they are within their legal rights. ”
    He said the police did arrive as the group was leaving the restaurant area to walk to a nearby Hooters.

    It apparently took hours before the police actually responded.
    And this:

    “On Sunday, an open-carry group walked through a residential area of Kennedale, Texas, near Arlington, videotaping their interactions with a police officer. The group then posted the incident on You Tube, including their contention that they are not obliged to give their ID to police.”

    And this:

    In April, a group of armed men showed up at an MDA gun-control rally in Indianapolis, Watts said.
    ” We were surrounded by armed men, including some openly carrying loaded semi-automatic rifles.” Watts said. “Many of our moms had children with them. Unfortunately this is not a unique situation—it’s happened in many states including Indiana, Ohio, Oregon, Michigan and now Texas. If open carry is allowed, our protests are often attended by armed protesters.”

    So,is this really what the Heller decision was about? Would the Justices like to be subjected to that kind of ‘protest’? I’m just saying.

    • http://drangedinaz.wordpress.com/ IrishGrrrl

      I watched that confrontation video they link to and in it you can hear a woman with OCT say “you asked us to show our papers”. Oh the irony! It’s okay to them to allow the police to stop brown people and force them to show papers but white people with rifles walking around a neighborhood with no purpose other than to be seen and scare people, never! What load of bullcrap.

      • Badgerite

        Clearly they have no sense of irony. Or proportion for that matter either.

        • http://drangedinaz.wordpress.com/ IrishGrrrl

          They wanted this confrontation and came prepared to video it. They’ll see this video as educational and will be proud of it. We see it as educational too but for exactly the opposite reason. I don’t envy the police today. I don’t know how I would have handled such BS back in the day.

          • Badgerite

            Yeah. I don’t envy the police in this situation either. I think they have had run ins with this group before and they are just trying to keep a lid on things so nobody gets hurt. But still. To me, this is not a ‘peaceful’ protest. If people feel threatened, it isn’t peaceful.

  • muselet

    In reality, the peaceful gun owners were posing for a photo.

    Excuse me for shouting, but: FOR TWO HOURS? ARE YOU PEOPLE KIDDING ME?

    –alopecia

    • Badgerite

      Yeah, that is a hell of a long time to be ‘protesting’ in one spot, isn’t it? Almost looks like they wanted to ‘send a message’ to the people inside, doesn’t it?

      • muselet

        Either they were were making a Daguerreotype or they spent that time doing something other than merely posing for a photo.

        “Peaceful gun owners,” my foot.

        –alopecia

        • Badgerite

          Some of their supporters have been ragging at me in the comments section to the previous post about the incident. And they are just bizarre. They seem intent on making you aware of what good shots they are and their extensive knowledge about guns and explosives and on the various and sundry ways they know to kill people. And they are convinced that reasonable restrictions like background checks and such means you are coming to take their guns and who will defend their families from the Mexican drug cartels, etc. They are certifiable. And if this is what those ladies are dealing with live and in person , they have my admiration. .

  • Craig Moffitt

    Considering the all to well documented carelessness that many of these phallically challenged individuals have in regards to firearms how long before one of these “protests” ends with tragic consequences?

  • Al Iriberri

    Imagine if, say, the New Black Panther Party posed in exactly the same manner all holding legal weapons in Texas where open carry of long guns is legal. I mean two unarmed guys standing outside a polling place in Philadelphia, THAT clearly is intimidation. Not this. Nah.

  • http://drangedinaz.wordpress.com/ IrishGrrrl

    Graf or anyone, I’m getting the following question from a gun nut, “Can you demonstrate one time or place, throughout all history, where the average person was made safer by restricting access to handheld weapons?”

    I don’t know how to articulately answer the question because it’s retarded. It’s like asking me to prove God doesn’t exist. WTF do you say to that? It’s so illogical I can’t even wrap my head around it.