A few days ago the NRA came out against ‘open carry’ rallies in Texas, saying that carrying around assault weapons everywhere you go is just plain weird, even if you have the legal right to do it. Unfortunately the NRA walked back their comments a little after taking flack from more extreme gun-rights supporters. This is a shame. The NRA should have stuck behind their original statements, because carrying around assault weapons like they are clothing accessories is pretty messed up.
Now don’t I’m an enemy of the Second Amendment, because I’m not. I like my guns as much as the next guy (well, maybe not the ‘next guy’ in the anti-gun Northeast where I live). But a free society is about more than just codifying our liberties in law. Just as important as having freedom is using it responsibly. As far as I can tell these ‘open carry” activists are not being responsible. They seem to just be looking for attention by flouting their rights in an annoying manner.
To clarify what I mean by being responsible with our freedoms, let me compare these activists to another ‘weird’ group: Occupy Wall Street. Yes, we have freedom of speech and freedom to assemble in public areas, but Occupiers abused these rights by shouting down people in the street instead of having a civil conversation and destroying public areas by refusing to leave parks.
When people do not use their liberties responsibly, they simply show the world that they are unfit to be free. This goes for people on the left and the right. America may have been conceived in liberty, but she was raised to be responsible. It would be a shame if we bucked this responsibility in exchange for a society based on an atomistic individual who cares more about abstract, extreme forms of liberty more than he cares for his fellow man and the human good.