Monday, January 13, 2014
The picture above is one of a man shopping in a department store, in a public mall, in Utah. By Utah law, this is legal activity. Me, I support his sentiments all the way. But this does bring up some observations that most people haven't considered. This man is exercising his rights, but is he right?
Lt. Col. Dave Grossman captured the societal dynamics best in a book titled, On Combat. We can be certain that a significant number of the other patrons of the store were astonished, nervous and unhappy finding themselves sharing the store with this man's rifle. They went into a happy place only to see the jarring image of a very deadly weapon being carried by someone who is obviously not a law enforcement officer. In fact, they do not know who he is or what he intends to do. Some comments about this man, which I have read, range from the. "You go, Boy!", to the "What a nut! There should be laws..."
Lt. Col. Grossman describes the human situation in terms of characters. Most people are peaceful. They wish no one harm and cause no trouble. Most people do not wish to think of violence, let alone, commit violence. They like harmony in the public arena. This is why traffic lights actually work, most of us cooperate with them. These people can be likened to a sheep's personality. However, there are a few people have no empathy for others. They are abnormally selfish and readily resort to violence when it suits their motives. These people have little or no respect for laws. These people can be likened to a wolf's personality. The wolf likes to eat sheep mainly because they offer little or no resistance to him. They are easy prey. The third personality is that of the sheepdog. The sheepdog would never, ever harm a sheep. Like the sheep, the sheepdog likes order, peace and harmony. However, the big difference is, the sheepdog never loses sight of the possibility of a wolf attack upon the sheep. He is not afraid for himself, for he can readily handle a wolf, but rather for the sheep, whom he knows would be helpless. Thus, the sheepdog personality arms himself. He is proficient with his weapons and knows what to do. He would love to catch a wolf, but like everyone else, he doesn't know where to find him; so he waits, ready for the worse and experiencing the best - peaceful streets.
I would place this rifle toting man into the sheepdog group. Though he looks scary, to us, he is harmless. But here lies a dangerous consequence of his effort to desensitize the sheep through exposure to his rifle. We live in a democracy. It was originally set up as a republic, wherein rights like baring arms was set in stone and could not be rescinded by government. However, it has evolved, sadly, into a democracy, where all rights are subject to regulation by the majority. To the majority, he looks like a wolf. Thus we can expect the majority to react to his activism with laws which will restrict his ability to carry his rifle. Safety is not served by this legislative reaction because he was no threat to us in the first place and now the wolf will not fear him either. Then the wolf will have a monopoly on the weapons in the public arena.
While I salute him for exercising he right to bare a rifle, I also fear that doing so will only harm us all.