2nd Amendment to the Constitution of The United States of America

A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.

"I ask sir, what is the militia? It is the whole people except for a few politicians."
- George Mason (father of the Bill of Rights and The Virginia Declaration of Rights)

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Our "uniform" in the 2A arena....

I saw a guy walking my way while to the truck the other night.  I noticed right away that he was dressed rather "tactically" and observed him as I walked for a few minutes before introducing myself in the parking lot.  Opened up by saying "hey bud, you shoot too, right?"  Of which he answered he did indeed.  Nice guy, former Marine ("USMC" tattooed on his forearm) who just got back from Afghanistan a bit ago.  Talked for a minute and then we parted ways.  Guy, if you see this somehow I was not stalking you or anything, just making an observation here on "our people" in general.

As with any cultural segment of society, those of us whom are gun owners tend to have some general habits of dress or clothing items, while not exclusively ours, are generally seen as signs of a person in the culture.  Just because one owns a gun does not automatically mean he is a member of the gun culture.  For some gun ownership is by default of their profession (police officer, military, rancher, park ranger) or necessity (home owner in a high crime area) and to them a firearm is nothing more than a tool to accomplish a task.  This is true enough for members of the gun culture I speak of too. We identify guns as tools and not machines of destruction or evil and malicious intent, we just place more emphasis on the style and substance of what we shoot as well as the task it performs.  Just like a "car guy" can tell you minute changes and differences between (and I am just making this up off of the top of my brain, please not sharpshooting) the V-8 engine in a 1967 Camaro as opposed to the 1974 model; a "gun guy" can tell you the difference between a Series 70 and Series 80 1911.  Even within our own culture we have many subdivisions and schisms...here are but a few that I have talked about before...
  • The Fudd:  Traditional hunting enthusiasts that generally do not gravitate to "tactical" weapons and view them as excessive and wastes of money. 
  • Mall Ninjas:  People who buy excessive amounts of tactical weapons and gear without having any real used for them other than taking pictures.
  • Preppers:  AKA Survivalists, these are the folks that they have shows about on TV, the group that prepares for the end of the world or SHTF and use weapons as a cornerstone of defense, security and acquiring resources.
  • Weekend Warriors.  Casual owners (like me) that have no formal professional used for firearms but own and shoot them as time allows as a primary hobby above and beyond casual use. 
  • Cruffers:  Guys (like me again) that have a Federal C&R license for the collecting of curio and relic firearms. 
  • Operators:  Folks that either pursue paramilitary occupations such as in security and private contracting or act like the would be of this occupational class even though they may do some other career. To them the  use of the firearm is important for their survival.  They like to train and shoot constantly and take the "sport" very seriously.
Of course these are generalizations and this is not an all inclusive list.

In each of these categories there are general conceptions - prejudices if you will - of what a person in each category would look like.  When I saw this individual walking down the street I immediately recognized him as a member of what I call the "Operator".  Several things about him marked him for me walking down the street of a major US city:

  • Camo Camelbak hydration system pack.
  • Tactical/Cargo Chino pants
  • Hiking shoes
  • A darker colored shirt that complimented the slacks while still giving some form of detection prevention in low light
  • Tan ball cap with US flag
  • Outdoor style watch
  • "Tactical" sunglasses.
  • He had another bag over his shoulder (not visible) he carried with his arm cradling/protecting like one would do if it had something "valuable" inside. 
  • Once we walked past his vehicle and I looked back over my shoulder he had several stickers and such that marked him as a gun owner (duh)
Now, one or two of these items by themselves or maybe even combined may not send much of a sign.  But put them all together and I think many people could come to a conclusion that he is either armed or has ready access to firearms. Yes, this is profiling.  But its not without merits.

For one, as I have stated before, the first step in being a prepared and ready CCW holder is to always be aware of your surroundings and potential threats.  While this guy was obviously no threat to me, like most of you I would assume, you want to know where EVERY potential firearm may be in your immediate area, threat or friendly.   While I try and be mindful of this as much as possible my head is not on a swivel 24/7.  But when I see somebody dressed like this where I don't expect them to be (we were in a major city and not at the range) I do take notice.  Hence my second point, why do we seem to want to point ourselves out as potential CCW carries to the general public?

There is an entire debating segment of the gun culture dedicated to the question of open vs. concealed carry and the benefits and disadvantages of each.  I myself, I fall into more of a concealed carry favoring type of guy, although I fully support open carriers as long as they do it lawfully.  The wearing of such associated clothing and items as above may be contrary to the "intent" of trying to navigate society as a concealed carrier.   I am as guilty of this as the next guy, especially on the weekends when my headgear usually consists of one of the following caps (and I have others as well)...

hey, there's that "operator" cap in the back row, tan with a US Flag...
...and every day I drive around in a truck with the back window decorated as such...
Yep, I'm one of those guys....

That brings up a side point.  I think its time I took off those decals from the truck.  I remember a year or so ago Dave Sevigny had his truck broken into while traveling when he was still a member of Team Glock.  He had no stickers purposely on his truck as to not make himself a target but thieves broke in anyway while he was in a resturaunt and stole several of his custom guns.  Crap, I got a freakin' Glock sticker right on the window.  Going to take the truck traveling to North Carolina later this summer and might not be a bad idea not to advertise that there may (or may not) be a G19 in the vehicle.  Off to get a razor I now go....

Back on topic....I guess what I am saying here is that there are certain "tactical" considerations to be made when deciding what to wear and gear to carry when we venture forth armed.  I am not saying not to wear your favorite S&W shirt, Ruger hat or NRA jacket.  Quite the opposite, by all means show your pride in our 2nd Amendment as much as possible and never be ashamed that you are a gun and freedom loving American who is not afraid to exercise their rights.  Just be cognizant that how we may tend to show this pride may project to certain other individuals that we may indeed be carrying, and not every individual we come across in society we may want to give this piece of information so freely to in some circumstances.


Ret Redhat said...

With as thick as the Panhandlers are on the river front, plus the random beatings that happened after Red White And Boom this year, tis truly a wise person who is preparred.

Critter said...

Being in LE I try, when off duty, to look the least like LE that I can while still keeping the old hog leg concealed as I go about my errands. I bought a pile of t shirts at a sale that have nothing to do with gun stuff, and are large enough to conceal well, to go with my baggy pants and sloppy old runing shoes. I love my tan operator hats, but my kid just started college so I had to buy all the collegiate hats I could. This look has stood me in good stead twice now, once inside a grocery store and once in a parking lot. Dressing to conceal and dressing to not call attention to one's self are difficult to achieve together, but it can be done with a little fore thought.