Can't say I relish the thought of gansta thug wannabe's OC'ing gold plated .50 desert Eagles, but if it's their right I don't have anything to say about it. It's a shame to see how Americans who once took pride in their appearance devolve into "peopleofwalmart". I liked it when gangsters wore a suit and a tie.All the discussion in the national media about the alleged mosque planned for the area near Ground Zero has gotten me thinking. (Anyone who’s ever read one of my posts knows this is dangerous.) Let me begin by saying this isn’t meant as an attack on anyone or any position, though some will probably perceive it as such. I just enjoy a good debate and think self-examination is a healthy thing from time to time.
Most of the mosque-at-Ground-Zero debate seems to center on the premise that “just because you can do something, doesn’t mean you should.” Maybe there’s no legal way to bar building a mosque in NYC, but is it a good idea? Might doing this be counter-productive to the stated goals of the builder? If so, that raises suspicion. Are their stated goals their true goals? Is there some ulterior motive? Might there be side-effects, and are they intended or unintended? This is the crux of the debate.
We have an identical debate within the OC community: witness the various threads where people urge others to dress conservatively so as not to harm public impressions of the movement. Others angrily reply that they’ll dress as they damn well please. So it’s a variation on the theme. Sure, you can dress however you want while OCing (tacticool, with a bucket over your head, as Batman, or someone from www.peopleofwalmart.com, whatever). But should you? Maybe you don’t care what people think, but will your choice have an impact on public opinion of OCers and OCing? (Not should it, but will it.) What is your true goal, and does your choice of dress advance that goal? Comparing the way you want people to react to the way you reasonably expect them to react will help answer these questions.
The same goes for behavior: you can make sure everyone knows you’re carrying, loudly proclaim your rights, be confrontational with anti’s and LEOs, and hope to get rich in a lawsuit. But should you? Such behavior may make one feel righteous, but is that the best way to normalize OC? If not, then why do it? Could a self-image of crusader/martyr be more important to you than producing positive results?
Unfortunately, this argument can be (and has been) used against OC in general. “OK, so it’s legal to open carry. But should you, really?” Stated another way, “Why are you bucking public convention?” I think everyone needs to have a good, rational answer to this question. “Because I can” is the rhetorical equivalent of “In your face!”--it probably won’t advance OC in any meaningful way. Everyone's reasons for OCing will be slightly different, but examining our behavior will show whether the reasons we profess are the real reasons we OC. We need to judge our reasons accurately, because you can be sure others are judging us on our actions.
I'd better stop...I think I've used up my quota of italics for the month :-)