Will ‘Open Carry’ Fight Police Brutality?
Over at The Liberty Crier, Trevor Lyman makes a very compelling argument for the use of “massive open carry” to combat the police state:
I believe that if the majority of the public were to open carry (which I would call “massive open carry”), police brutality would diminish greatly for two main reasons:
1.) More often than not the would-be victim of police brutality will be armed under these circumstances. Police are absolutely more considerate and careful when dealing with someone who is armed and who can defend themselves. This is the way all bullies behave. They prey on the weak, and in an environment of open carry there are simply fewer of the weak to prey on.
2.) Under massive open carry it is more likely that members of the public, who may be witnesses to police brutality, will be armed. A cop who is doing something that is clearly wrong and excessively violent and is surrounded by a crowd of increasingly angry people who are all armed is likely to stop what he or she is doing. And if necessary the members of the public can stop the police officer from continuing their brutality and save the would-be victim’s life.So if we’re looking for a way to reduce police brutality in a nonviolent manner, or at least with as little violence as possible, I believe that “massive” open carry is most likely our solution.
What do you think? And would you get behind a movement to push this?
The police state truly is out of control. Every day we read stories about police shooting dogs, beating up innocent people, arresting people who have not harmed anyone else, kicking in doors in the middle of the night and otherwise enforcing the decrees of the state, politicians and corporations.
I am all for open-carry, and think that decentralized, private firearm ownership is one of the great bulwarks against government power. It’s a sign of independence, freedom, responsibility and security.
But will it help deter the police state? I am not optimistic. Not for any reasons relating to the massive open carrying of weapons, but due to the hyper-violent, knee jerk reactions of state actors.
There are countless instances of police shooting people simply because they thought they were armed and felt threatened. Sure, it turned out being an elderly man with his cane or a kid with a squirt gun, but you can’t be too careful when representing the blade of state power can you?
I encourage open-carry, and hope that it continues to spread. But I think there is a far better modern weapons that can be used against the police state that people already openly and proudly carry: cell phones.
Thanks to the cameras that everyone has in their pockets, more and more people are now able to see what the police have turned into in this country. We are now all viewed as enemy combatants, like sub-human Palestinian teenagers, subject to summary execution at the discretion of trigger-happy state employees with literal immunity from the consequences of their guns, clubs, and fists.
Cameras, more than guns, can change this. Statism, after all, is a mentality and ideology, and the more people that see the state’s fangs up and close, the more they will hopefully reject it.
It is interesting to note that now that the power of recording has been decentralized into every pair of jeans, the police have all of a sudden morphed into Nazi stormtroopers. They have always been armed thugs, but now we just have the ability to document it.
According to libertarian theory and the non-aggression principle, it is entirely legitimate to use lethal violence in self-defense. This means that people undeniably have the right to defend themselves against SWAT raids, illegal arrests, or other non-defensive acts of force employed by costumed agents of the state.
But like it or not, we live in a world where 98% of Americans, for reasons too lengthy to go into here, will side with the state and the police. If they are employing violence, the victim must have deserved it. The practicality and odds of using violence, even justified and defensive violence, is slim to none. Peace must always be our banner, no matter how frustrating and tempting it may be for blood.
I will agree, however, with Lyman’s second point. An armed victim of police violence, even one who is putting his hands up and surrendering peacefully, will probably be much more likely to be viewed as more of a threat and shot. But, as Lyman notes, “A cop who is doing something that is clearly wrong and excessively violent and is surrounded by a crowd of increasingly angry people who are all armed is likely to stop what he or she is doing. And if necessary the members of the public can stop the police officer from continuing their brutality and save the would-be victim’s life.”
I think that might work! Especially in places like New Hampshire or Wyoming, where there is already a libertarian culture, an armed citizenry, and a relatively restrained local government. If a local cop started to brutally beat an old man as they are wont to do in say, Keene or Cheyenne, I guarantee you that police officer would be surrounded and hounded by multiple armed, concerned citizens and would probably save the man’s life.
Like any issue, it boils down to culture and ideas. If we change the culture and hammer the ideas of liberty, the results will follow. A gun on your hip is a great sign of liberty and independence. But I truly believe the spread of cameras, where we are all watchmen, will do more to expose, limit and dissolve state power.