Sunday, January 08, 2017

Open Carry Saves the World

As of this writing, the biggest media story of the week concerns a young man who pulled out a gun and started shooting up a baggage claim area in a Florida airport.  I don't want to get prematurely judgmental, here.  I'll let you guess his ethno-religious affiliation.  I watched the story on a few different media outlets, and most of them carried the same version of the story.

The guy walked in, pulled out a gun and started shooting innocent bystanders.  The video surveillance camera seems to agree:

It's a horrible situation, made even worse by all the pundits theorizing how to prevent these kinds of attacks, ranging from increased airport security to banning guns all together.  I'm just a branding guy, but I've got another suggestion.  Here me out on this, because it might just be as effective as it is counter intuitive.

The country needs to nationalize open carry laws.

I know, it sounds heretic, but the more you think about it, the more sense it makes.  In the first place, increasing security doesn't do much good.  Forget the costs involved.  The hard truth is that security officers are set in place more for public consumption than anything else, the logic being that if good citizens see more security, they'll think they're safer.  Maybe.  But bad guys don't see security personnel as anything more than just a few more obstacles between them and their objective -- and that doesn't even take into consideration the ones on suicide missions.

Second, for a security officer to respond to a situation, he has to follow procedure, or risk criminal prosecution for wounding or killing a criminal. Ordinary citizens don't have to follow any procedure.  They merely have to fear for their lives at the moment of threat. Which means that in the event of a terrorist act, victims have to wait a whole lot longer for counter measures from a security officer than they would if the good citizen sitting nearby happens to be carrying a semi-automatic pistol.

With open carry, a criminal can be dropped long before a security officer can even be contacted or respond, because there are more people capable of reacting much more quickly.  In the heartbeats that follow an initial gun shot, those milliseconds count.

Finally, the most counter intuitive observation of all is that if open carry really did become the law of the land, it could quite possibly bring this atomized nation back together.  It might just reassure strangers on the bus that if anything should go sideways, we've got each other's backs.  It might also cultivate a lost sense of trust and accountability in a society that's grown accustomed to paying others for doing the jobs and sustaining the ethics we seem to have shirked.

Oh, I'm sure there are plenty of anti-gun folks out there who dismiss this line of thinking entirely.  But as I pointed out back in 2010's  The Tipping Point of Terror, the tiny percentage of nut cases out there now translates into real numbers:  If only one tenth of one percent of the American population were radicalized enough to become unstable and violent, that would mean roughly 350,000 of them would be roaming freely within our borders.

The good news is that a few hundred million more would be watching out for you...and maybe you for them.