Open Carry, The Daily Kos, and Mass Hysteria in Georgia

This guy is carrying a gun. At a park. Please display the appropriate amount of hysterical terror.

This guy is carrying a gun. At a park. Please display the appropriate amount of hysterical terror.

Just days after the State of Georgia passed a landmark “guns everywhere” bill that dramatically expanded gun rights, the law has already caused a major criminal incident.

This past week, a man with a gun permit walked through a park with his weapon visible. That’s right, a park. Where children were playing.

This reckless man, no doubt bent on threatening innocent lives as he strolled through the park, prompted 22 parents to call 911. The police arrived quickly, and took immediate action to save lives. And by “took immediate action”, I mean they talked to him, determined he wasn’t committing a crime, and let him go.

“’The gentleman did nothing illegal,’ [Forsyth County Sheriff Duane] Piper said.”

“The sheriff, as well as the group, said they talked to the man, who they say has a permit, and urged him not to flaunt the gun even though he has a legal right to. He has allegedly agreed to do so.”

The accompanying TV report notes that even before the recent Georgia gun bill, the man wouldn’t have been breaking the law. Applying the Kojak-like investigative superpowers gained in 20 years of police work, I’ve determined the following:
A man legally carried a visible pistol through a park. Parents got scared and called police. Police talked to man. He wasn’t committing a crime. They let him go. Nobody was hurt, or threatened, or in any danger whatsoever.

Obviously, reasonable people would say, “Nothing to see here, move along”, right? Nope. The Daily Kos, in one of the best displays of yellow journalism I’ve seen in the last decade, reported the incident this way:

“Man Legally Stalks Children’s Baseball Game: ‘I’ve Got A Gun & There’s Nothing You Can Do About It’”

In this article, writer Leslie Salzillo makes totally unbiased, non-inflammatory statements such as, “A man carrying a gun began stalking a children’s baseball game in Forsyth County, Ga, this past Tuesday night.” “Is this country so fearful of the NRA, that they do not dare arrest, detain, or at minimum question this man for disturbing the peace, stalking children, and/or intentionally putting the public in fear for their lives?”

And my favorite, “He’s just walking around [saying] ‘See my gun? Look, I got a gun and there’s nothing you can do about it.’ ‘He knew he was frightening people. He knew exactly what he was doing,’ said parent Karen Rabb.”

As near as I can tell, the man didn’t actually say anything like that. The parent was giving her interpretation of the man’s intent, which the Kos reported (probably intentionally) as fact. And despite the death grip the NRA has on America, police did in fact question the man. The Kos’ reporting is just stupid, but unfortunately not surprising. Hysterical, ridiculous, knee-jerk reporting is what we can expect from most journalists when they talk about armed citizens, especially citizens openly carrying. Even when the armed citizen did absolutely nothing wrong.

I’m going to make a statement about open carry, and some of you may not like it. I support open carry, but only as a statement. Tactically, it’s a bad idea. When I’m in public, I don’t want anyone to know I’m carrying. I don’t want aspiring robbers to pick me as their first target. If I ever have to draw my weapon on a criminal, I want to have the element of surprise. Granted, open carry is a hell of a deterrent to crime. But I’m going to carry concealed.

If you decide to open carry, hey man, good for you. I got your back. Power, brother. But understand something. Open carry, at least right now, is going to accomplish little more than causing panic among people who have been brainwashed into believing only wackjobs would even want to carry a gun. As a liberal friend of mine told me, “The kind of people who’d want to carry a gun are exactly the ones I don’t want carrying guns.”

Yes, my friend is wrong. As usual, the Daily Kos is pathetically wrong. But we’re not going to change their opinions by metaphorically waving guns in their faces. We on the pro-2A side understand the reality better than the other side does. Let’s show them the reasonableness of our argument. Let’s show them they have nothing to fear from honest, decent armed citizens. Let’s not make our own goals harder to achieve, by scaring people who have been conditioned by the Daily Kos to fear us.

38 Responses to “Open Carry, The Daily Kos, and Mass Hysteria in Georgia”

  1. 1 Travis

    Meh. I’ve been open carrying for about a decade now without any issues (Washington State). I started carrying this way primarily because it’s much more comfortable. I never did like having a hunk of metal rubbing against my skin, (yes, even with a good holster your going to know it’s there). Pissing off panty waste liberals is simply a bonus. 😛

    Regarding: “…causing panic among people who have been brainwashed into believing only wackjobs would even want to carry a gun.”
    How better to change that than letting them see for themselves, normal people going about their business while carrying a gun?

    Oh, and as far as your opinion on OC vs CC as a tactic; I’ll just agree to disagree. 🙂

    • Travis,

      Good observation. I have no doubt there are places where open carry doesn’t cause a stir, but I’d be willing to bet there are a lot fewer of those places then places like Forsyth County, GA. And all it takes is one panicky soul in an otherwise OC-friendly area to cause problems. I’d agree that we should continue to show the scared people that they shouldn’t be scared, but “forcing” them to accept us OCing around them probably isn’t going to do that, IMO.

      p.s. Sorry for the delayed response, family life has been busy as hell lately.

  2. 3 Nathalie Leclercq

    Your advice to gun owners in Georgia sounds very reasonable. But I wonder what the lawmakers were thinking. If I’m allowed to openly carry a gun, that obviously means I can take my kids to the playground, sit down on a bench and try to chat with other parents while my gun is sitting peacefully in its holster. And then watch people pick up their kids in panic and run to their cars, which would have the nice side effect that my children have the entire playground to themselves. It’s a law that doesn’t seem to make much sense. You pointed out yourself that self defense is barely possible if your gun is visible for everyone…

    • Nathalie,

      I wouldn’t exactly say self-defense is barely possible if you’re openly carrying. It’s more like, you can be at a serious disadvantage by advertising that you’re armed. GA’s law makes sense in terms of affirming freedom and individuals’ rights to self-defense (and self-defense tends to work way better than relying on police to do it). But open carry can cause its own problems. I’m just illustrating one of those problems, namely having people panic at the sight of an armed person.

  3. 5 Dave L.

    I support open carry, because in Texas when if 100 f***ing degrees out, I don’t want to have to add another layer just to hide my pistol.

    Here in VA, I’ve open carried a couple of times, to places like Home Depot, Lowe’s, and Sam’s Club. If anybody noticed, nobody said anything.

    WA has allowed open carry since forever, as far as I know (WA has much more liberal [classic meaning] carry laws than TX, believe it or not). There was an incident about 10 years ago that I remember, a guy carrying in a Fred Meyer store, where the manager called 911 instead of just asking the guy to leave. Never heard any other incidents. Of course, most folks don’t go carrying around of bunch of Seattle-ite soccer moms, either.

    • 6 KHorn

      I’ve found a snub nosed .357 in a good pocket holster (Kramer’s) a good Texas summer alternative and with practice I’ve found it very easy to draw. If we get open carry, like our host, I’ll probably still carry concealed because of the targeting issue. There are times I’d like the option though.

      • K,

        Pocket carry can be a pain, but, like everything else about carrying a pistol, it’s a trade-off. I don’t prefer pocket carry, but different situations call for different methods. If having a .357 in your pocket works for you, run with it and I hope you’re around if I ever need backup.

    • Dave,

      I support the right, but I think it’s a bad call. Kind of like I support free speech, but saying some things will make someone an asshole even if they have every right to say them.

      Trust me, I know CC can really suck in Texas heat. My wife got sick of me always wearing untucked shirts and never looking “neat”, because I always had to conceal my pistol. After 17 years of carrying a Glock 27/AKA “the brick” I finally got sick of it and went with a single-stack 9mm. That’s not too much of a compromise, and it’s far easier to conceal and carry. Now I can go out in shorts and tighter shirts, and just generally look better. I’m not carrying quite as much gun, but I’m a lot less likely to get pinged as armed. And having a happy wife provides some pretty good side benefits. 🙂

  4. 9 lwk2431

    “I support open carry, but only as a statement. Tactically, it’s a bad idea. When I’m in public, I don’t want anyone to know I’m carrying. I don’t want aspiring robbers to pick me as their first target.”

    I would largely have to agree with you. You are better off if the bad guys don’t know you have a gun until it it time for them to find out. By context I mean “in town, in crowds, lots of people around.”

    On the other hand I suppose people who want to open carry in town ought to at least investigate the kind of holsters that I think most uniformed police officers are using today, that is, the ones that are supposed to make it hard for anyone but the owner pull the gun out of the holster. Might be good idea to have one of those James Bond guns that will only fire for the owner, except they probably don’t work as good as in the movies! 🙂

    As usual you make a perfectly good case for your opinions.



    • Thanks lwk. You make a really good point about retention holsters. Back until I think the early 90’s, a lot of cops got killed with their own guns. The invention and widespread use of retention holsters changed that. Back when I first became a cop in 94, my department issued me a piece of crap single-snap holster, and I was nervous as hell until I got an SS 070. Even then, my sergeant ranted “Who knows how many officers have been killed because they couldn’t get their guns out in time.”

      In Kosovo I had a double-retention holster for a while. I worked with officers from several countries plus the local officers, and a Greek officer was selling the locals a really slick-looking “quick draw” holster. I kept telling the locals not to buy them. One local officer had one on his belt in the office one day, so I decided to teach him a lesson. I walked up behind him, real quick hit the snap with my left hand and yanked the pistol out with my right. The officer spun around in surprise. I told him, “That’s why that holster is a piece of shit.” A second later the Greek officer tried the same thing on me. He hit the snap, grabbed my pistol and yanked. The pistol didn’t come out, and after several seconds he still couldn’t figure out how to remove it.

      I really need to write a post about OC and weapon retention.

  5. 11 jonathan

    In all the media hysteria that has followed this incident, I have yet to see one news report point out the simple fact that the greatly feared new law is not yet even in effect. It was just signed by the Governor and will be the law beginning July 1, 2014. Open carry has long been legal in Georgia and carry in parks has been the law for several years now. Carry in bars has been legal with the owners permission for a couple of years and in restaurants that serve alcohol even longer. Letting churches decide what happens on their own property is new. Wow,

    • Good point Jonathan, thanks. The local report noted that this guy wasn’t breaking any law, even before the new bill. But somehow the Kos missed that.

  6. 13 SPEMack

    Sheesh. I feel the urge to smack my head on the desk. Repeatedly. Good advice, Chris. In my rural area, open carry in some locales in generally acceptable, but I still prefer to carry voncealed.

  7. I agree regarding open v. concealed carry.
    But it’s impossible to not scare the KOS-tards. They’re afraid of themselves, and everything they write is projection, and frankly, I can’t wait 50-60 years for their brains to grow back, if they ever do.

    But it’s probably best not to poke their cages, because once they get to howling, they seem to like it.

    • Aesop,

      I just don’t see the utility of antagonizing the easily frightened. I don’t carry to prove a point, I carry to defend myself, my family and innocent people around me. I can accomplish that by carrying concealed. If I open carry, I risk inviting so much attention I might render myself useless. It sucks that the Kos crowd is so easily driven to hysterics (and so easily offended, and so irrational, and so scared of shadows, etc), but I can’t wish that away. I have to deal with the reality, and the reality is that OC is likely to cause more problems than it solves.

  8. 17 Scot M

    Its funny the difference between the way people think in the OC-allowed states vs the ones that are cc-only. As Travis said, in his state where its allowed, I’d imagine that like him, most people have a very nonchalant attitude about it. Whereas here in NYS, there are a ton of cc-ers, its normal for us, and I don’t think most of us can imagine carrying any other way, though for me personally I feel the same way you do Chris about OF as a statement.

    Another good, common sense post Chris. Oh, and Regarding that dailykos article…that kind of blatent BS infuriates the hell out of me. This is why I don’t watch/read/follow the MSM. So many sheeple…so few brains, lol

    • I have a hard time believing most people anywhere are nonchalant about OC. Don’t get me wrong, I know there are rural areas where it wouldn’t raise an eyebrow. But in just about every town with a decent population, you’re going to have people just like the ones in Forsyth County. Hell, that was GA, which is supposed to be gun-friendly.

  9. 19 boydg

    I lived in Virginia for many years before coming back home to Texas, and I have to say that the gun rights folks in Virginia seem to have hit it exactly right. Open carry anywhere and everywhere, just looking like a normal person. I’m no different from you, even if I happen to have a pistol on my belt.

    Open carry as a “normalizing” effort works. Virginia proves that. We need it here in Texas, but unfortunately we have so-called “allies” that short-sightedly and selfishly undermine our efforts in that vein.

    • Boyd,

      I haven’t been to VA in years, but last I was there I never saw anyone OCing. Is it that common, and if it was done in, say, Alexandria or some other decent-sized city, would there be no reaction from the local population?

      I’m not saying that’s impossible, it just seems unlikely to me.

      • 21 boydg

        Chris, I should put you in touch with my friend Ed Levine of the Virginia Citizen’s Defense League and founder of Virginia Open Carry. He looks and acts like a normal person, just armed. (He hides his time in the USMC quite well 🙂 ) While he lives out in Loudoun County, he travels all over Northern Virginia openly carrying his pistol.

        I’m not sure about Alexandria specifically, because the only convenient way to get there from the west is on the George Washington Parkway, parts of which are actually in the District of Columbia, so he would be committing a felony by driving down that road. Crazy, I tell ya!

        But at any rate, there are a goodly number of folks who open carry in Northern Virginia (which is one of the deep blue parts of the Commonwealth), and unpleasant incidents almost never happen. When folks ask him about it, usually by asking if he’s a cop, Ed uses it as an opportunity to educate. He’s very successful at it.

        • Boyd,

          Understood, thanks for that. My gut reaction is that even in places like San Antonio, Houston and Dallas (definitely Austin, no question) some people would still freak out at seeing someone openly carrying, and they’d call the cops, and the carrier would be questioned, and people would stop and stare and videotape, and it would just be a gigantic pain in the ass that works against the principle of being the “gray man” when armed. But if your friend has the opposite experience, that’s pretty string evidence I’m wrong.

          I’d be happy to talk to your friend about it, please send me his info. Thanks Boyd.

          • 23 boydg

            You’re right, there tended to be significant…umm…kerfuffles back when open carry activism got started in Northern Virginia a decade or so back. But brave and hardy souls just continued to do it. There’s one young black man in Richmond who got jammed up pretty hard by the Richmond PD, twice that I remember, and he sued them and won both times.

            You can reach Ed at and their Facebook group I’m not sure how to get his email address to you privately, but I can get that to you as well if you want.

            The whole point is to make OC normal. Dress normally, act normally, just be yourself. And as we all say, don’t be an idiot while doing it (which is hard here in Texas, since you can only OC with a rifle).

            And yeah, while I might OC here in Pflugerville and the parts of Austin in Williamson County, if it were legal to do so with a pistol, plenty of eyes would bulge. But if the OC person doesn’t make a spectacle of themselves, most people don’t even notice the pistol, in my experience.

  10. 24 reserve corporal

    I’m glad you talk about this subject, i ve try to send you an email few weeks ago asking your point of view about this.
    Watching random video on youtube i ve start finding videos about open carrying. As i already told you i just don t understand the 2A (i’m not saying it s good or bad i just don t get it) i ve seen plenty of videos like this one:
    I understand CC and i can see it s up and down sides, but like you i don t understand the tactical benefits of OC and, i’m still doubtful about OC a rifle.

    Saying that, i really don t get why some of thoses guys, do not want to make the police job easier by responding to the LE.
    Please forgive my leftis behaviour, but i understand people getting scared by seeing someone walking around with an assault rifle without any case on his back. I do understand some people decide to call the cops, and i understand aswell that the LE just let the guy walk away after a rapid talk.
    But for me people like this guy:
    are just stupid, ok they have the right to do so but still. because you can don t mean you should

    • Corporal,

      I don’t remember seeing that email, did I respond to it? Sorry, I’ve been extremely busy with family lately.

      I understand the guys in the first video. They’re making a statement, which they have every right to do. I just don’t see any practicality. OC with an AR-15 is guaranteed to attract a lot of unwanted attention. Again, it’s just for a statement, to prove a point. I don’t think it’s useful for anything beyond that.

      I only watched a minute of the second video, but that guy seems like he’s just trying to cause problems. I don’t see what that accomplishes.

      • 26 reserve corporal

        hey no worries, i don t think the email adress was still valid.
        On the first video as you said the guy just want to make a statement, even if could be much more efficient if he just gave his name or ID to the LE right away, this police officer stays extremly patient with those guys, but on many videos lots of people just want to push the cops to their extrem limits and make them cross the line.
        Making a statement is fine, but one at a time, wanting to promote OC and wanting to promote a “i don t have to answer” at the same time doesn t help any causes for me

  11. 27 Ed

    I had this story pointed out to me from some left wing friends and I came across your sight in searching for explanations. I must confess, I’m having trouble with the denial of Karen Rabb’s statement. You indicate you can find no evidence that the guy said what she claimed – yet every article that I’ve found has her statement. Can you point me to a source? I was hoping to find something with a statement or interview from the carrier himself, but no luck so far.

    • Ed,

      Rabb’s statement is extremely vague. “He’s just standing here walking around. ‘You wanna see my gun? Look, I got a gun. There’s nothing you can do about it.'” I don’t know where the Kos got the “He knew he was frightening people. He knew exactly what he was doing,” quote, because Rabb doesn’t say that in the report. She emphatically does not say, “He said this.” No other sources anywhere (thus far) say he made any such statements. Considering how inflammatory all the reporting has been, I don’t see how the media would have ignored a statement claiming to directly quote this man.

      Please tell your friends that, for one, the Kos doesn’t even correctly quote Rabb. The Kos article also quotes her as saying “He knew he was frightening people. He knew exactly what he was doing,” when that isn’t in the report (maybe they found it somewhere else, but the source isn’t cited). The other reports you’re referring to all quote Rabb, who shows later in the report that she’s a little prone to hysterics when she starts crying about her son being so horribly affected by the incident. Dozens of other parents were there, and many called the police. But apparently not a single other person claims the man made the statements that Rabb vaguely attributes to the man.

      Unless Rabb comes out and clarifies what she meant, or other witnesses say the man made those statements, I don’t see anything other than an overly emotional woman saying what she thought the man was thinking.

      • 29 JimP

        Groupthink and lazy, cut and paste “Journalism” explain this phenomena …… one person writes a story, full of second information, and puts it out on the web. A gazillion TwitterTwits read it and take it as Gospel, writing their own thirdhand screeds …. THAT is why you can’t find anything reliable about the original story ….. it’s all based on the original story….. a copy is always less accurate than the original, and the original was not exactly “nothing but the facts”: “Stalking a Little League baseball game”? Stalking=sneaking up on …. a 52 piece brass band could sneak up on most LLBB games I have been to ….

        This was written by and for the Emotionally Driven.

        They don’t live in the same world I do.

        F ’em.

        As for Open Carry, it’s legal here, and I’ve gotten a lot more more grief from alledgedly “Pro-Gun” people on the Internet about it than I ever have from people I see on the street here while OC-ing… none other than Rob Pincus (who is running for NRA board, I understand-he’ll NEVER get my vote!) condemned people who OC …. maybe he could write for the DKos ….


      • 30 Jason

        I was that guy who carried in Fowler Park your right .I never once talk to Rabb or seen her ,When I was there I never talk to no one ,I was there to walk the park and try to lose weight .Rabb lied about all of it only people I talk to was the cops which was officer Yeaton and officer Lee .Yeaton was trying to charge me with Crimal trespass which he cannot do on public proptary because GA law forbids it.I wish I could Sue Rabb.

        • Jason,

          I don’t have any way of confirming that you’re who you say you are, but for the sake of argument I’ll assume it’s true. So I have a couple questions.

          One of the articles mentioned that a woman asked if you had a gun, and you lifted your shirt to show it to her. Is that true? If so, why did you show her?

          Why did you decide to open carry in the park? I know it’s legal, but did you have a specific purpose for doing so?

          Thanks in advance.

  12. ho hum ho hum – open carry is common across the United States at public events with children etc. The new Georgia law still leaves Georgia behind most states in terms of gun rights – 30 states allow open carry without permit. Georgia does not. Open carry is protected by the Second Amendment, see DC v. Heller. Learn more at

    • Mike,

      I understand that it’s legal in many places and undoubtedly doesn’t raise any eyebrows in some places. But in gun-friendly GA, it still freaked a bunch of people out. That’s the kind of reaction I think we can expect in much of the country, even the south where people should know better. I agree with it being legal everywhere, but the point of carrying a gun is to be able to defend yourself and others. I think OC potentially attracts so much negative attention it defeats that purpose.

      Thanks for commenting, and I’ll check out that web site.

  13. 34 zuk

    I tried open carry in Arizona back when that was the only choice. It was fairly common to see bikers with scabbards on their bikes and cowboys wearing 6 guns in Scotsdale. The Alpha Beta grocery store had a ‘gun check” (like a coat check room).

    It was great when we were out camping and shooting, not so great when out after dark. I personally found it to be confrontational and it seemed that a lot of drunks can’t resist challenging you.

    Most of the folks I knew ended up untucking a shirt and casually concealing their pistols most of the time (illegally but understandable.)

    For daily carry, CC works best for me. I’d like the option to OC though, especially when doing physical things outdoors.

    As far as activists go, please follow the #1 rule of OC, “Don’t be a dick.”

    Thanks Chris.


    • Zuk,

      Thanks for the insight. I don’t even like OC when I’m in plainclothes as a cop, even though I’m allowed to do it. I’m sure there are times when OC is appropriate, like the instances you mentioned, but around large groups of different kinds of people I just see it as increasing the likelihood that you’ll attract unwanted attention. Which defeats the purpose of carrying, in my opinion.

      And definitely agree, “Don’t Be a Dick” is a great rule when carrying a gun. And that goes for everyone, cops included.

  14. 36 Vendetta

    This is one of those things that makes me laugh when some left-wingers try to tar conservatives as the ideology of fear and distrust. We’re all afraid of something. Fear and distrust of the police, the military, armed citizens, and the Republican white man can be just as irrational and unfounded as fear and distrust of the black man, the Muslim, the illegal immigrant, the socialist.

    The world can’t always be held accountable for making you scared, angry, or uncomfortable. The only common denominator in all of your problems is you. Personal responsibility, integrity, honor – what’s happened to all that?

    I’m bothered by this societal fetishization of weakness and helplessness. The reflexive urge to pity rather than respect people who’ve gone through sacrifice or misfortune. You see it in how so many people want to treat returning veterans like yourself – as poor, traumatized suckers, brainwashed into patriotism and tricked by the recruiters’ lies, innocent children who’ve now come back as broken men; alcoholics, sexually abused, PTSD wrecks, suicides waiting to happen.

    Rather than what most of you are: tough, courageous people who volunteered for one of the hardest jobs there is, who, whether or not the wars were truly justified or successful, still gave it their very best, put up one hell of a fight whenever there was a fight, and came back home with something or another to be proud of. People who’d very much appreciate your respect but have no time or need for your pity. People who want to shake hands, not hold hands – that’s something they need from their loved ones or closest of friends, not from a stranger and not from society as a whole.

    Pretty off-track by now, but I suspect the same root causes at play behind both that misperception of our war veterans and this kind of hysterical gun-phobia – our society has been made desperately afraid of trauma or anything that could cause it, and doesn’t know how to sensibly approach or respond to the issue.

  1. 1 Three (Mostly Tactical, Partly Ideological) Arguments Against Open Carry | PartnersForever

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