Apr 19, 2010

Safely home

MrsZ and I spent the weekend in Burlington (Vermont) with her hockey team. Drove up Friday, came home yesterday. Good trip.

I briefly considered what gun(s) to take on this trip. Vermont has some of the gun-friendliest laws in the nation. No permits or registration, state preemption, CCW/OC are both legal. Only places that seem to be off-limits are schools and the usual assortment of government buildings.

I *strongly* considered OC'ing the 1911. After doing some reading on various forums, it looked like Burlington is, overall, relatively OC-friendly. I'd have had to disarm for at least one of the game locations, on a college campus. Then I started reading more details. Burlington has a pedestrian mall, "Church Street", full of shops and restaurants... apparently while the mall itself is public space and OC is fine, most of the shops are anti-gun and will have a trespass warning issued for someone OC'ing.

I don't know the leanings of MrsZ's fellow hockey players, and I didn't want to scare the white people, or cause a scene if we went to dinner on Church Street (which we did).

In the end, discretion was the better part of valor, and I stuck with my usual carry piece, the 642, in its usual IWB holster. It was nice, however, to feel like I didn't have to worry about accidentally flashing it and having a nice talk with The Man.

For the record: I am OC-neutral. I have to CCW in NY, but would like to be able to OC when weather or formalities recommend it. E.g., I'd like to be able to wear a BBQ gun and actually be able to show off the rig. Or wear an OWB over shorts in the summer. Little things like that. That said, I don't agree with rubbing peoples' noses in my carry choice either. Do what works for you, and know that you won't make everyone happy. As long as you're safe, you should be happy, and that's what matters, isn't it?

Other item of note, and in a roundabout way:
WaPo writes about a rally in VA today. It's an open-carry/anti-tax/anti-gummint rally. Headliners include Mike VanD... etc. The Brady bunch has their knickers in a knot about it, as expected, and the WaPo is going right along with them.

Money quotes:
"A member of several heretofore little-known groups, including Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership and Oath Keepers" - JPFO may not be as mainstream as the NRA, but but I certainly wouldn't call them little-known. Same thing for Oathkeepers.

"Almond plans to have his pistol loaded and openly carried, his rifle unloaded and slung to the rear, a bandoleer of magazines containing ammunition draped over his polo-shirted shoulder. [...] The brandishing of weapons is 'not just an important symbol' but 'a reminder of who we are,' said Almond." - You'll note that Almond (the organizizer) isn't using the term brandishing, which is defined as, "To wave or flourish (a weapon, for example) menacingly." (Emphasis mine.) CARRYING A SLUNG RIFLE OR HOLSTERED PISTOL IS NOT BRANDISHING.

There's the expected association with the OKC mass-murder that occurred on this date. The organizer reminds the paper that this is also the anniversary of the battles of Lexington and Concord, but that idea is quickly poo-pooed.

They couldn't ignore us. They couldn't shut us up. The next step is to make us the Lunatic Fringe.


Bob S. said...


I think there are two issues about Open Carry that often get conflated: the personal choice and the political push.

I am OC-Neutral (like that phrase) as far as carrying goes. I'm like you -- especially during the Texas summers-- I would love to be able to OC and not have to die of dehydration.

But I am also strongly in favor of using Open Carry to make a political/Social message. It isn't about carrying a firearm Openly as much as it is about protecting our rights. In that I think that OC has a distinct advantage, it makes a point like Concealed Carry can not.

I hit Huffington Post earlier today about the D.C. Carry event and the commenters were running true to form.

Compensation jokes, masculinity jokes, paranoia jokes, delusional jokes, etc.

Just about everything except addressing the point of 'shrinking the government'.

ZerCool said...

Good points you make, Bob. Let me clarify, though - are you talking OC as a matter of course, or specifically going to an OC rally?

IMHO, the OC "rally" is roughly on par with the gay pride parades, which seem to annoy some, offend others, and the rest just don't care. (I fall in the "don't care" camp myself.) I don't see them changing minds... "Hey, Joe, you know that guy walking down Main Street with the leather harness and the codpiece? That really made me do some thinking ... and dammit, these gay folks are A-OK with me! ... what're you doing tonight?"


As a matter of daily course, i.e., a same-sex couple walking in the mall holding hands or a quick kiss, that's great - it just makes people realize that, "Huh. Maybe these folks aren't any different from you or me."

Same thing for OC, IMHO: There's a picture floating around, taken recently, of a Tea Party rally. One of the attendees is wearing full-on battle rattle, down to the plates and K-pot, FS92 in a thigh holster, and tac-slung M4gery. Dude, you are not helping us. You want to wear that stuff, let me show you the recruiting office. Uncle Sugar will issue you most of it for free.

Bob S. said...


Both in a way.

I've seen Gay Pride parades where every day people marched and the paraded caused me to think about who was and what was "gay".

I've seen Gay Pride parades where I had nothing in common with the people in the procession and it caused me to think about what I do that is "odd or unacceptable" to others -- shooting for example.

Do both types of parade make people think, I say yes.

Are both kind of parades needed to get a message across, yes.

The message isn't the same but they are aligned just like the difference between every day OC and OC Rallies.

We need people to draw attention to the limits of the law, to the injustices perpetuated under the guise of 'decency'. OC rallies can do that in a way that every day OC can not -- because most people won't have contact with anyone Openly Carrying.

Yet, the objection about the rallies is we might offend someone. I say "so what".

If we offend someone they have three basic choices in their reactions --for those with little understanding of the issue

1. They can reject the idea because they disagree with it.
2. They can not change their mind.
3. They can accept the idea because they find they agree with it.

So, in 2 out of the 3 scenarios we don't lose. How is that a bad risk?

If you don't mind, I'm going to use this line in a blog post

here's a picture floating around, taken recently, of a Tea Party rally. One of the attendees is wearing full-on battle rattle, down to the plates and K-pot, FS92 in a thigh holster, and tac-slung M4gery. Dude, you are not helping us. You want to wear that stuff, let me show you the recruiting office. Uncle Sugar will issue you most of it for free.

I find this attitude to be interesting because we dont say the same thing about people who dress in professional sports jerseys, or reenactment clothing, or play amateur sports or soup up sports cars or thousand of other choices in clothing and gear.

Why should those who deck out in gear be told to grow up or join the military?

ZerCool said...

Bob - feel free to quote me, linkbacks are appreciated. :)

Why should those who deck out in gear be told to grow up or join the military?

I think the difference - to me - is that someone who races SCCA, or play amateur sports, or do LARP/SCA - wears their gear *while directly involved in the activity*. I wear hockey pads when playing hockey because there is a more than even chance I'm going to be involved in direct physical contact. SCCA drivers wear a harness and helmet because they are driving at the edge of control and a wreck is possible. LARPers/SCAdians garb up for events when they are "in character". A guy walking down Main Street in MOLLE gear with tac plates and so on isn't likely to be involved in combat anytime soon.

I'm a firefighter - but I don't wear my fire gear around the house, I wear it when I'm going on fire calls.

Just my nickel. :)

Bob S. said...


Those are only some of the people wearing gear.

How many basketball jerseys have you seen worn in Walmart?

How many Nascar jackets have you seen worn at Burger King?

We don't tell those people to grow up or stop wearing the gear.

We don't tell people in goth to grow up -- Okay, actually we do on that one.

A guy walking down Main Street in MOLLE gear with tac plates and so on isn't likely to be involved in combat anytime soon.

But he exercising his rights which the others are also doing.
A little over the top, probably.
Would I tac gear up and walk around town...nope but I won't do more then shake my head at those who do.

Just like I shake my head at those protesting the President or shouting about the pending apocalypse.

What I'm trying to point out is that guy who is geared up often opens up a discussion that wouldn't have taken place otherwise.

How many times have you heard of a conversation, about the legality of Carrying firearm, being started by someone carrying concealed?

(If we had the money for every time we threw out our nickel or two cents worth, we could both retire-- great discussion)

ZerCool said...

(Just so there's no confusion, I never said he needed to grow up.)

NBA/NFL/Nascar ... those folks have all bought into a commercial franchise, either to fit in socially or to show allegiance to a team.

I'm not saying he can't play dress-up with his MOLLE and wander around. I don't agree with it, I don't think it's a good idea, but I won't tell him he absolutely *can't*. You're right - it is his right to do so - and it's my right to, like you shake my head and chuckle/sigh.

To continue the metaphor of the NBA jerseys, though - the vast majority of society will never have the skills to play pro ball of any kind. Nor the skills to drive a souped-up "stock" car at 200mph 4-wide and bumper-to-bumper. If you want to show your fan-ishness, you buy tickets and jerseys and so forth - but that fat guy at BK with the Dale Jr jacket doesn't usually talk like he's going to run quals at Daytona the next day, and the skinny kid with acne doesn't truly believe he's going to be a first-round pick for the 'Sixers.

The flip side, of course, is that the vast majority of us CAN join the military. Can't join because of religious or medical reasons? Then show your support another way: send care packages, adopt a soldier, donate to Wounded Warrior Project...

I just look at the TactiTool and think there's better ways to present oneself.

And yes, it's just my thoughts - and I'm still waiting for my check from everyone that's told me, "That's just my two cents!"

(I do see your point; I don't think we're ever going to quite agree completely.)

Bob S. said...


How is dressing up as a mall ninja any different from the NBA Jersey wearing guys -- if they both are participating in amateur sports?

Unless you are holding out, neither of us will ever be able to compete in a professional shooting event.

But we can head out to the range and run a 3 gun event, or a falling plate or an IDPA event -- just like the friendly pick up games or the local 3 on 3 tournaments.

My main focus on the Tacticool look is that it really doesn't strike fear in the vast majority of people -- far from it.

I think that in a wierd reverse way it makes the fringe look less scary. Really silly and with much overblown imagination -- but not something we have to worry.

ZerCool said...

if they both are participating in amateur sports

If you want to play dress-up for a 3-gun, have at it - please! That's the same as the CASS/SASS guys, as far as I'm concerned (whom I also chuckle at).

Unless you are holding out

Actually ... :-)

In any case, I went and found the picture I was talking about. It's from a post over at Sipsey Street.

Bob S. said...


I agree that is a little over the top! To say the least.