Texas is known around the world as the capital of macho. The very name is shorthand for bad-ass. And if you follow the news, you know that it’s also Ground Zero for the open carry movement – if “movement” isn’t too grand a term for paranoids who feel the need to arm themselves like Afghan warlords for a trip to Chipotle. It’s also home to plenty of politicians who pander to these wack jobs.
So it was kind of ironic last week when a bunch of open-carry flakes cornered a state legislator in his office because they didn’t like his attitude on guns. Doubly ironic that besieged Poncho Nevarez, a state rep from Eagle Pass, is himself an avid gun owner.
What’s even more ironic – and by ironic I mean galling – is that their actions prompted a call for “panic buttons” in legislators’ offices.
After a bunch from Open Carry Tarrant County bullied Nevarez and his staff, the Texas House approved the installation of “panic buttons” that would summon Texas Department of Public Safety troopers (and possibly Batman) to eject hostile members of the public from their offices.
Apparently, our freedom-loving pols are all in favor of guns (or at least in favor of the votes they get by being pro-gun) until people with guns seem like a threat. A threat to them, I mean. The rest of us are on our own.
As I understand it, the theory behind packing heat everywhere is that, in our increasingly violent society, we need guns to keep ourselves safe. This attitude is reflected in a bumper sticker I saw the other day: “Remember – When Every Second Counts, The Police Are Only Minutes Away.”
Almost 600,000 Texans (about 2 percent of the population) have concealed handgun licenses. No way to know how many actually pack on a daily basis, but that’s a lot of potential firepower.
And how does all this play out in real life? Does being armed mean being safer? Well, in 2013, former SEAL, Chris “America’s Most Lethal Sniper” Kyle and a friend were shot to death a gun range in Erath County by a former Marine.
Also in 2013, Kaufman County Criminal District Attorney Michael McLelland and his wife were shot to death in their own home – despite the fact they very literally had a gun (and in many cases, two guns) in every room.
So, while an armed society may indeed be a polite society, it’s not necessarily a safer society.
And carrying an AR-15 into a Chipotle in the name of the self-defense? I’ve eaten at Chipotle, and the only thing you need protection from is the food – and a gun isn’t going to help you there.