Friends, Don’t Do Stupid Things in Public

By Rob Morse

Gun Radical
Friends, Don’t Do Stupid Things in Public
Slow Facts
Slow Facts

Southern California –-( Dear radicals.

I support liberty, and I know the tree of liberty has many branches.

That said, I’ll condemn you if you do stupid things in public that undermine the growth of liberty.

As supporters of liberty, it is our job, yours AND mine, to persuade the public. We don’t get to do stupid things in public and then tell the public they took our actions the wrong way. Using the right of self-defense as an example, we better know how our message is perceived before we open-carry an AR while we are half naked wearing black-face and camouflage.. while we march and scream in front of a day care center. Is that message clear enough?

Can you do such a thing? Sure, for a while. We absolutely have the right to do stupid things, but we can’t demand the public agree and support us.

Other people get to make up their own minds about what we’ve done. Yes, they are free to decide for themselves. What a radical thought. You have to compete for hearts and minds. If you’re showing off in public for attention, then you’re not out to win hearts and minds.

The public is as it is. My neighbors think what they think. We don’t get to argue with public perception and claim we were “misunderstood” if we do something stupid and are widely condemned. That self-righteous “you’re all idiots and don’t understand my clever demonstration” is an immature attitude. It is childish and petulant. I’m sorry, but grownups ask question before they make public statements so they know how their actions will be received. This is true in every public debate.

Sure you have the right to scream that abortionists are murderers while pouring red die on your clothes and the sidewalk. Don’t be surprised if the public steps back and tunes you out after that display. You can scream that “taxation is theft by a gun wielding government,” but don’t be surprised if the public doesn’t listen.

Welcome to the US of A where you have the right to be stupid and offensive in public.

There is a difference between radical public demonstration and persuasive debate. I suggest you put on your big boy pants and act like an adult. You might want to dress like a salesman if you want to sell your ideas.

You can destroy liberty by stupidly abusing it. Please don’t blame the ill-informed and uninterested public for their phone calls to the politicians after your public display. Don’t blame the politician for his knee jerk reaction to the phone calls. I blame you, and welcome to the grownup world, Bubba and Bubbette. With great power comes great responsibility, and you can look like a giant ass if you try.

We are responsible for how we are perceived, and heaven knows that the media wants lovers of liberty to look like crazy fools. Fortunately, we can test public reaction before we act. We can also test political reaction before we act. This is hard work, and no one forces the lazy radical to do it.

I understand the urge to feel radical and righteous, but you don’t get any credit from me for pleasing yourself in the public square. There is a name for that, and you were supposed to learn self-control back in junior high school. Hold on to your passion, but don’t play with it in public.

Take a minute to study the problem of public persuasion so you change minds and hearts the way you intend.

The radical activist can alienate anyone he wants, but he is not the friend of liberty.
~_~_ Rob


About Rob Morse:
By day, Rob Morse works in Southern California as a mild mannered engineer for a defense contractor. By night he writes about gun rights at Ammoland, writes the SlowFacts blog. . He also loves the M1911 and shoots combat handgun on the weekends.

  • 24 thoughts on “Friends, Don’t Do Stupid Things in Public

    1. You basically hit the nail on the head. I think much of the right wing nonsense requires lumping things together so people aren’t required to think about the issue in front of them on its own merits. You’re part of the club so your job is to think like everyone else in the club without straining your brain cells. Half of higher education is really just learning to break things down, issue by issue, so that one can consider various aspects of matter on their own merits.

      I think firearms are a very useful tool and the benefits from having them far outweigh the costs of not having them. I’m a former Marine so obviously safety rules are paramount. I also campaigned for Obama. I served in Afghanistan but knew the second Iraq war (and possibly the first) was wrong and vocally opposed it the day war was declared against that sovereign nation. I have never understood why gay marriage wasn’t legal 20 or 30 years ago….I mean some things are just obviously right when one considers history.

      When I travel, I am sincerely embarrassed to admit that my country is unique in the civilized world in that we don’t have nationalized healthcare (something we’ve been trying to get done since Eisenhower). Every other country understands taking care of it’s citizens is just more cost effective. But here we are more about taking care of HMO and Insurance company margins.

      I also think we need to enforce our immigration policies. I would never begrudge an immigrant for doing precisely what I would do under the circumstances but I do blame the government for not upholding our own laws and bending / breaking the rules for demographic groups big enough to sway elections. Particularly when doing so imposes un unsustainable cost upon the citizens who are here legally, who went through the appropriate channels to become permanent residents and citizens instead of just hopping a fence and hoping no one enforced the laws.

      I think we need more mental health care and treatment for people. More rehabilitation and less prison warehousing of people. I think we need to make people internalize the externalities their actions impose upon others in all ways. I think education, higher education in particular, should be free or nearly free for all U.S. Citizens as most economic studies on the matter demonstrate that the positive multiplier effect from education on society is undisputed.

      Oh, and I think people should be able to buy reasonable firearms without all the registration and big brother nonsense. If you have a clean background, zero criminal record, and aren’t mentally compromised, I really don’t see the issue. Guns are great when someone is breaking into your home at 0300.

      More importantly, guns deter tyrants. That has been the case for over a century. Tyrants can’t stand an armed populace. I’ve heard the brainiacs say “a gun is no match for an Apache Gunship”…to which I say…no kidding but they don’t round up people in urban areas with Apache gunships.

      They do it with small groups of thugs (squads or platoons) going door to door. But if everyone is armed, no government agency is going to try to round folks up like cattle. The costs of doing so are just far too high. Even if one person in 100 resists by force, the round up ends abruptly. This has always been the case. It isn’t about winning a war…it is about increasing the cost of the cattle round up.

      The point is, you can have may different opinions on many different issues and still believe guns are good tools. You don’t have to drink the kool-aid and parrot whatever nonsense your party tells you to parrot without even thinking about what makes sense to you.

    2. I generally agree Rob, but of course, we all have a different idea of exactly where the line between strong argument and stupidity lies. Unfortunately the reality is that, like dead people, stupid people don’t even know they’re stupid – and it’s worse than useless to tell them, because they won’t believe you, and will often double-down on their stupidity to prove you wrong.
      There is a place for “radical” protest – and “radical” protesters – but people should heed your advice about dressing like a salesman. The questions protesters and organizers should ask in advance are: What’s my objective? Who do I want to reach and what message do I want to send? And how do I best accomplish those ends? Putting on your “war face” and stomping around with upraised middle fingers is not likely to accomplish any articulable goal.

    3. There seem to be a few people commenting here who don’t understand that this war we are in is a war of votes.

      If you scare the voters, you give the votes to our enemies.

      By giving votes to our enemies, you are aiding our enemies.

      Think: Which side are you on?

    4. Notice one revolver is cocked and the other is not. A perfect example of going off half cocked. What does her belly button effect say? I couldn’t quite make it out.

    5. I have to largely agree with what Rob Morse says.

      The Right to Free Speech mans the government can’t arrest you solely for what you say. It does NOT mean that anyone else has to listen to you. Or host you while you say it.

      The 1st Amendment does not shield you from criticism or consequences. If you’re yelled at, boycotted, have your show cancelled, or get banned from an internet community, your free speech rights are NOT being violated.

      It’s just that the people listening think you’re an asshole, and they’re showing you the door.

      I’m pretty sure the 2nd Amendment was meant to work in a similar, reasonable fashion. But I’m no Constitutional scholar.

    6. WAR IS NASTY! Conservative ‘Gentlemen’ -like this Writer above- who learn nothing from Civil War History- think they can fight a Gentleman’s War (contradiction of Terms?) – AND WIN like a Gentlemen… consistently get their A$$ handed to them.

      Stay home and pout, little gentlemen… and let the Big Boys of Liberty proceed past – WHO FIGHT AT ALL COSTS – TO…



    7. [the “That is just ridiculous.” crowd NEVER say how you ‘De-sensitize’ people about the appearance of firearms if they never even see one.]

      Take them to the shooting range, for one.

      There’s a difference in discretely carrying a holstered handgun where it’s legal, and walking around with an AR-15, particularly with several people carrying in a group. That doesn’t desensitize, it antagonizes.

      Particularly in Texas we have a gun-friendly Legislature, and we’re making progress on open carry. Unfortunately the open-carry folks won’t take the time to learn how to work with the Legislature, and would rather stage demonstrations that tick off even their friends.

    8. Well, I give Matt honesty, he doesn’t like open carry. Neither do I – unless I were living in a place where even seeing a gun could bring the police. Wait, we all are! Open carry brings attention (Yeah, shirtless and with facepaint might not be the best attention) but all of the “That is just ridiculous.” crowd NEVER say how you ‘De-sensitize’ people about the appearance of firearms if they never even see one. So their argument is moot – they are as emotionally reactive as the people who call 911 when they see someone with a firearm.

    9. Regardless of any argument that any person or group makes, when it comes across as an ignorant and uneducated rant and spew of BS, I will pay no attention and by default label them as a bunch of assclowns.

      I own many firearms and class 3 items and enjoy responsible hunting and sport shooting of all kinds. When people who are not gun enthusiasts find out about my hobby the typical response is, “oh, you’re one of those right wing, bible thumping, tea party, gun nut, psycho, NRA morons who’s screaming ‘from my cold dead hands’ while marching in front of an Obama rally with 2 assault rifles strapped to your back and a Confederate flag in your hands.” Damn! Really! As gun owners and shooting enthusiasts, we need to really tone down this “`Merica” sh*t and keep the issue to guns and gun rights only. The article is spot on, the so called “gun nuts” are going to kill this for all of us.

      Just to add, the last NRA convention in Indy didn’t help with all the BS brought up about Obama-Care, Gay Marriage, big government and all this other side show crap that right wingers love. That just about killed any support from moderates and conservative democrats who do favor gun rights. People need to use your damn brains before opening your mouths. Keep it to GUN RIGHTS ONLY and leave that other crap alone when you speak of gun rights.

    10. In California they succeeded in creating a new law banning UNLOADED open-carry.


      Loaded open-carry has been illegal since passage of the so-called Black Panther Law (Mulford Act) in 1967.

    11. Finger on trigger and hammer cocked back. Things like that just confirm some gun haters fears. Think FIRST!

    12. A gun activist I can actually agree with? Amazing. I’m a gun owner and have a CHL. The idiocy of the Open Carry guys is unbelievable. Want to change minds? Parade around with a loaded AR in public dressed like you just got out of bed. Taunt women who are afraid of you. Post stupid youtube videos threatening people who are already terrified. That’ll work. The REALLY stupid thing is that if you just shut up and stop making fools of yourselves, you’re going to get open carry. Hell, in Texas even the Democrats support it. A little judgement and civility can go long way.

    13. I’m as strong in my convictions on liberty and gun rights as anyone, period.
      But, 100% in agreement with Rob’s very well written article here (which has nothing to do with the photo).
      It’s so obvious that NOTHING good can come from the open-carry activists. In California they succeeded in creating a new law banning open-carry. That is now a ban for all of us.
      Not only do they have the opposite result in legislation, but they hand out maximum ammo to radical anti-gun people as well as sway the general public into believing gun owners and the NRA are a bunch of weirdos.
      They are working hard to set back our movement 50yrs. Thanks a lot!

    14. Thanks for the thouhgt provoking article. While I think that we can’t be overly sensitive to those who are offended by our ability to protect ourselves, we do have to make sure that how we deliver our message is effective with the audience we wish to persuade. Also I am offended by the picture for two reasons. First, is the total lack of trigger finger discipline. Second, her inappropriate wearing of the Stars and Stripes. To all who read this, Please keep working for our rights.

    15. It doesn’t appear to me that she is doing anything “stupid in public” Look at the background. Obviously that is a private dwelling, and NOT a personal display in public. If she wants to release her photo for public viewing, then that’s her freedom of choice to do so. Whom ever publishes it, (like you did here) is there freedom to do so. No laws have been broken! If think this shouldn’t be displayed to the “public” then why the hell did you post it?

    16. Morse isn’t different from the things that are in goobemnt. Pretty arrogant to condemn people for what they say and do that he don’t agree with. He probably needs a refresher course in being a free Amerikan.

    17. Not sure why you consider this photo stupid? Have you looked at a magpul calendar lately? How stupid is that Morse?

    18. Rob,

      Please explain how advocating against theft is somehow harmful to liberty? Calling it taxation doesn’t make it any better. Forcing people to part with their money is stealing, constitutions, elections, & voting don’t change that. I suspect you want people to continue to submit to the theft of taxation so your job with a defense contractor will stay funded. Can you say conflict of interest?

    19. Yeeeeooow, that is scary looking. It’s like what is the most popular phrase uttered before going to the hospital, ‘Hey Yall watch this’.

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