gila 300The Times, They Are a’Changing...

by Gila Hayes

...and not necessarily for the better.

I read with consternation reports about the Columbus, Ohio, man shot early in December by a sheriff’s deputy assigned to a US Marshal’s fugitive task force. The story contained a lot of tragic elements – things that could trip up any one of us. Not surprisingly, those learning points were soon eclipsed by protests about racism, obliterating any chance to honestly consider factors leading up to the death of 23-year-old Casey Goodson. Because it has been politicized, it seems unlikely we, the general public, will ever know the truth about the minutes preceding the shooting. Frankly, since we will probably never get the truth, I am more interested in lessons we can gather from what is known.

Initial news reports indicated that Goodson was returning from an appointment with his dentist, but that the pistol he was licensed to carry concealed, had been seen prior to the shooting. Multiple variations of reports of the circumstances surrounding developing concern over “a man with a gun” have been reported and I doubt we’ll ever know what initially caught the deputy’s eye. With tensions running high, being the subject of a “man with a gun” complaint is, in my opinion, a Very Bad Thing.

An early news report asserted, “Goodson, an Ohio concealed carry permit holder, was legally armed at the time of the shooting, according to the Columbus Division of Police. Goodson was not alleged to have committed any crimes, has no criminal background and was not the target of any investigation, (family attorney Sean) Walton told CNN.

“During the US Marshal’s task force operation in Columbus, [sheriff’s deputy] Meade reported seeing a man with a gun and was investigating the situation when there was reportedly a verbal exchange prior to the shooting, the Columbus Division of Police said.”

Openly carrying firearms is viewed by many armed citizens as a way to normalize gun possession in today’s hostile, anti-gun political environment. Acknowledging those beliefs, my opinion is sure to rile our hardcore brothers and sisters.

I believe that there is too much hostility, too much potential for misunderstood motives, too many chances that an inadvertent motion may be misinterpreted as drawing a gun or threatening an innocent person with a gun for open carry to be a reasonable practice in the current atmosphere.

Whether or not the current civil unrest will ever calm down remains to be seen. Until it does, I, for one, would not indulge in open carry, and frankly, I’m also taking extra care with concealment to avoid inadvertently flashing a concealed pistol or the outline of a gun under a shirt or jacket.

People are scared and angry. Too many people are actively seeking reasons to be offended so they can justify making a complaint to police about someone they perceive to be of a different belief system, political party, race, or economic group. Do you really want to give these riled up people an excuse to make you the target of their outrage? I know this opinion is unpopular amongst some armed citizens. Still, I do ask you to please at least think long and seriously about whether open carry is in your best interests before you next carry a gun unconcealed.

Why We Do What We Do

A member recently wrote to me, and as part of several topics he and I were discussing he expressed, “This is the world we live in and the system is so large and stacked against the individual that a defense against it must occur from a group of individuals working together.”

It warms my heart when a member understands so clearly why the Network is the power for good for its 19,000+ family members. We all look out for each other.

To read more of this month's journal, please click here.