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Want To Know Why You Should Carry A Gun? Ask Governor Abbott.

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For twenty years I have been listening to the nonsense about how ‘armed citizens’ make us safe.  And alongside this fantasy has been the companion stupidity, namely, that it’s not just that carrying a gun is a good thing, but carrying a gun in plain sight is even better.  Be advised, incidentally, that there is not a single piece of credible research which proves either of these safety strategies to be true.  But where is it written that a public policy or the statements of a public official need to be backed up by credible research?  Or any research, for that matter.

Just this week the Governor of Texas, Greg Abbott, assured the good citizens of the Sovereign State of Texas that he would personally make sure that an upcoming military exercise called Jade Helm, was not, in fact, an “invasion” of Texas by Federal armed forces.  You can’t blame Texans for being worried about the Federal government coming in with troops to do whatever they are planning to do.  After all, remember Waco?  And since Abbott’s predecessor, Jim Perry, used to regularly shoot his mouth off about plans for Texas to secede for the second time, who knows?

         Greg Abbott

Greg Abbott

Getting back to Abbott, as I said, he’s been a leading proponent of open-carry laws and just last month signed a bill that allows Texans to openly display handguns in most public places throughout the state.  The law exempts college campuses from open carry, but a bill that would close this loophole will probably be passed later this year. Earlier this year the NRA actually demonstrated a brief moment of sanity by advising its members to ‘stand down’ and stop openly carrying guns in restaurants and other public places; this brief display of fortitude, however, was reversed within two days with a public apology from the NRA to all its gun-totin’ members in the Lone Star State.

If Governor Abbott believes that pandering to the open carry crowd is going to keep Texas from moving politically from red to blue, he might be in for a big surprise.  The increase of Hispanics in Texas has become so great that they could represent a majority of the electorate in 2016 – assuming that every eligible voter actually registers and shows up to vote.  And when it comes to gun ownership, Hispanics don’t seem to be enamored of the 2nd Amendment in a way that bodes positive for the gun industry in Texas or anywhere else.  Despite an endless barrage of noise about how “new” shooters like women and minorities are swelling gun-owning ranks, the fact is that gun ownership is still concentrated in the same demographic where it has always lived, namely, older White men in rural areas, second-tier cities and smaller towns.

Which is why I found a tweet by Abbott sent to me by a friend last night so interesting and deserving of a comment today.  Because for the first time since the whole ‘armed citizen’ rubbish started being promoted twenty years ago, someone has finally come out and explained the real reason why the NRA and the gun industry want you to walk around carrying a gun.

Abbott’s tweet, pasted up on July 8, was in response to a message from a guy named Rupert Ellis announcing to the world that he was about to open his first gun shop in Texas, although it appears that the shop won’t probably be open to the public for another few months.  But sending an announcement to the Governor is a clever way to drum up some publicity, particularly when the Governor actually responds!  And here is Abbott’s response:  “Welcome to the gun business.  I hope open carry boosts sales.”

Bingo! Greg Abbott has finally done what no single pro-gun organization or gun nut has ever done, namely, admitted that the real reason for promoting the notion of the ‘armed citizen’ is to boost the sale of guns.  Congratulations Mister Governor, you’re the only honest one out there.

Want To Be Good Guy With A Gun? Join The Bandidos.

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One thing we can say for sure about the parking lot in front of the Twin Peaks restaurant in Waco – sure isn’t a gun-free zone.  When the fracas came to an end last Sunday, at least nine people were dead, another eighteen were injured and more than 150 biker gang members had either been arrested or detained for additional questioning, a number which kept changing as the cops ran out of usual spaces (read: jail cells) to stick all the guys who engaged in the rumble.

And if you think that it was only the parking that was an unfree gun zone, the Waco Police Department issued a list of all the weapons found in the restaurant before, during and after the gang members were being carted off to the hoosegow.  Ready?  Along with an AK-47, the cops found 118 handguns stuffed into potato chip sacks, flour bags, hidden on shelves in the restaurant’s kitchen and simply lying around on the floor. And here’s the best of all; someone actually tried to flush a handgun down a toilet.

motorcycles                I remember back in the 1980s when Glock first started promoting gun sales, the company ran a very clever advertisement called the Glock “torture test” which showed someone dropping a Glock from the roof of a building, then coming downstairs, picking up the gun and it still worked.  The test was a riff on Timex watches and how they take a licking but keep on ticking. So I’m thinking that maybe someone in the Waco Twin Peaks restaurant wanted to update the Glock test by first trying to flush the pistol down the toilet. Dumber things with guns happen all the time in the Lone Star State.

In any case, the Waco mess apparently grew out of a fight that started inside the restaurant and then spilled outside.  The melee evidently involved members of at least four biker gangs, including but not limited to members of the Scimitars, Vaqueros, Cossacks and Bandidos, the last-named bunch having been dubbed a “growing criminal threat” by the Department of Justice, even though their French subsidiary allegedly runs a Toys for Tots drive every year – in France.

Biker gangs have been around almost as long as motorcycles have been around, but they achieved their unique counter-cultural status in the 1960s when they were rhapsodized and condemned by “gonzo” journalist Hunter Thompson, whose relationship with the bikers ended when he got the crap beaten out of him by several members after Thompson rebuked one of them for punching out his wife.  Two years later the Angels and other biker gangs engaged in a slugfest at the Altamont rock festival, which both ruined the festival and stripped the biker gangs of any last vestige of romantic imagery in the media or the popular imagination.

Meanwhile back in Texas, a bill to allow open carry of handguns appears to be ready for passage which Governor Abbott has promised to sign. The bill’s supporters, of course, claim that what happened in Waco shouldn’t have anything to do with this law, but the mess outside of the Twin Peaks restaurant, it seems to me, does have something important to say about the NRA’s most cherished project, namely, to get rid of all gun-free zones.  Recall what Wayne-o said after Sandy Hook:  “Only way to stop a bad guy with a gun is with a good guy with a gun.”

But think about this:  There may have been more than 100 bikers at Twin Peaks, all of whom believed they were ‘good guys’ who needed to carry guns in case a ‘bad guy’ from another gang was also armed.  So if everyone can decide for themselves who are the ‘good guys’ and who are the ‘bad guys’ and back up this decision by strapping on a gun, the incident in Waco won’t be the last time that bullets and bodies go flying.  Do people become ‘good’ because they walk around with a gun?  The Bandidos and the NRA would definitely agree.

 

 

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