Great write up, thank-you for taking the time to post it. (and for joining WCI)
I think many of us can relate to the progression of your thought process. A few years ago, many of us (not all, I do not speak for everyone) just wanted CC.
For me personally, the big awakening that I had with Open-Carry was the realization that SOOO many human rights in this country have been pushed aside bit by bit over the years. I truly believe that our founding fathers intended that we would enjoy MUCH more freedom than we do today and that with MORE freedom we would have a more prosperous, more cohesive, more respectful, and safer country. We would all be better off. Open-carry in Wisconsin is one of those rights we still have! One of such a very few. No government permission slip, no fee, no tax required.
When I came to know the concept of Open-Carry better, its as if I found this buried treasure of a genuine "right" that hadn't yet been taken away and transformed into a privilege over years of do-gooder symbolism-over-substance legislation that never solved a problem but placed tons of encumbrances on the law-abiding with no effect on the criminal element.
I began to explore all the benefits of exercising this right that we have. As the Open-carry.org tagline says "a right not exercised is a right lost". I agree with that. Our countries history demonstrates that is true. For me personally open-carry is a matter of principle and a toe-hold against the onslaught of socialism and nanny-government as well as practicality of self-protection.
Speaking as the chairman of WCI, conceal carry is something we still MUST have in Wisconsin. Its a practical matter. In the winter its hard to always OC. I read a quote from a guy in Alabama (iirc) the other day who said the same thing about open-carry which they couldn't do in his state. He said "in the summer when you don't have a jacket on, its very hard to conceal carry".
To even those here in Wisconsin who just advocate for Conceal carry and still think OC is 'stupid'. I TRULY believe that once we get conceal carry, they will realize in the summer that they don't want to leave their 'self-defense tool' at home just because they are wearing shorts and a t-shirt that doesn't afford them the ability to conceal. I believe those who would sacrifice open-carry for conceal carry will realize that (when we get CC in WI in the future) when they go into a warm store and take their jacket off to throw it in their shopping cart, they CAN'T be comfortable to do that when they have a gun in their coat. The safest place for you gun is ALWAYS under your personal physical control.
Open-Carry and conceal-carry compliment each other in order that people have the practical ability to exercise their human-right to self-defense wherever they choose to go however they choose to dress.
Again, welcome aboard!