Civility Works Both Ways



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By Nicki Kenyon, April 22nd 2014
JPFO writer contributor, © 2014.

Have you ever noticed how gun grabbers belittle, vilify and berate those of us who vocally support and defend the Second Amendment as "paranoid," "irrational" and "extremist," while hypocritically demanding "civility" when we begin to push back?

We are supposed to bow to their recently-invented, unreasonable "right to feel safe," (which must be in the Constitution right between the right to a pony and the right to your very own leprechaun with a pot of gold) as justification for relieving us of our fundamental right to defend ourselves against violence. We are supposed to show respect for their hoplophobia, even if it harms us and destroys our freedoms in the long run. We're supposed to be polite and civil, even as they berate us for merely wishing to freely exercise our rights. We're supposed to subordinate very real basic freedoms to their irrational whims.

Some so-called "gun rights advocates" have fallen for this drivel. "I'm a staunch defender of the Second Amendment, but ..."

But what?

Apparently it is not civil to exercise your Second Amendment right openly. It is considered "crossing a line of decency."

Apparently asserting our rights is akin to rubbing them in the faces of those who seek to destroy them.

Apparently we must genuflect at the altar of capriciousness and cowardice, so we can avoid criticism from those who seek to destroy our freedoms.

"Strapping a pistol on your belt makes a strong statement that sometimes inflames others similar to a person wearing a very offensive T-shirt," says one "staunch defender" of the Second Amendment.

No. Just no.

It is repugnant to the very principle of liberty to compare a fundamental right to an obscenity on a T-shirt.

We can discuss whether it is tactically wise to open carry a firearm. We can discuss whether it gives a potential assailant a strategic advantage and time to plan how to better disarm his prey. We can even discuss the advantage of being openly armed and the deterrent open carrying can be, potentially forcing a would-be aggressor to think twice before attacking.

But what we should not ever discuss is the concept of a fundamental right as a comparison to an obscenity. And we should never ever allow our ideological opponents to transform the discussion into an abhorrent, irrelevant, hysterical strawman that drags the debate into the mire of their histrionics.

The moment we allow our opponents to define our rights and freedoms as Americans and human beings as something obscene and offensive, we have already lost, and we will be left to defend ourselves against allegations that, in their warped world, turn the basic right to own and carry your property as something indecent and extreme.

As Kurt Hofmann wrote in an earlier alert, "The idea that we must be more 'polite,' lest we frighten 'the very people we want to attract to our side,' ignores the nature of the right we are fighting for." It is the right to repel violence with violence -- whether said violence stems from an individual looking to do you harm or a government aspiring to trample your freedoms. This is not a polite goal, and beating around the bush about the true purpose of the Second Amendment only paints us as frightened and embarrassed of our own convictions.

Likewise, hiding the freedoms we claim to treasure as a shameful secret, lest someone gets nervous to assuage their feelings of hysteria merely weakens our convictions.

That said, class, consideration and decency never go out of style.

Last year, Starbucks changed its longstanding policy of abiding by state law and welcoming open carry, concealed carry and non-carry coffee drinkers to their stores to prohibiting firearms inside its stores.


Because instead of calmly exercising their rights, some open carry advocates dragged Starbucks kicking and screaming into the gun-rights controversy by staging "Appreciation Days" (read: mini victory rallies, because Starbucks would not grovel at the gun grabbers' feet and would not ban firearms in their stores) and invading their local Starbucks in droves while openly carrying their AR15 rifles. Starbucks didn't want to be in the middle of a gun control debate. They just wanted to serve coffee and make money. But that did not matter to some, who decided they would exercise their rights as flamboyantly as possible, so they could show that they could, and so they could rub that ability into the faces of their opponents.

As a result, Starbucks asked them politely to leave their guns at home when visiting their stores, and our ostentatious friends succeeded in accomplishing what hoplophobes could not: they caused Starbucks to no longer welcome armed citizens to their stores.

As a result, gun rights advocates snatched defeat out of the jaws of victory.

No, open carrying is not provocative. It is your right, and you should be free to choose whether to carry concealed or in the open, as best fits your circumstance.

But a little consideration and courtesy go a long way, and we would do well to remember that.

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Nicki Kenyon has been an avid gun rights advocate since she returned to the United States from an overseas Army tour in Germany. She began writing about Second Amendment issues in 2001 when published her first essay, "The Moment.". She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in International Relations from the Johns Hopkins University and a Master of Arts degree in National Security Studies from American Military University. Her area of expertise in those fields is European and Eurasian affairs. When not writing about gun rights or hanging out with her husband and son, she practices dry-firing her M1911 at the zombies of "The Walking Dead."

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