Lessons Learned From Open Carry, the Children's Book
There are a lot of things to love about the whole open carry movement. For one thing, the fervent belief that firearms should be carried by all people at all times has translated to some, shall we say, interesting moments in daily life.
Open carry proponents have showed up at restaurants and stores and on street corners to tote their weapons in public, all while wearing smiles and acting as friendly as Ned Flanders. Yes, the movement has also led to some awkward incidents like the time Open Carry Texas members planned to march through the Fifth Ward, which would have translated, at least optics-wise, to a bunch of white guys with guns marching through a historically black neighborhood. Then there were the times that Target and Chili's and Starbucks and Chipotle asked those who openly carry their weapons to please refrain from doing so in their stores.
But the thing that is most striking about the open carry folks is how much they don't care what people think, how convinced they are that their way is the right way and that those not comfortable with their guns are just "uninformed." Nowhere is this narrow-as-a-gun-barrel on view of the world as prominently on display as in the children's book, My Parents Open Carry: An Open Carry Adventure.
The book, written by a couple of guys from Open Carry Michigan, is probably going to go down in the annals of literary history alongside Ted Cruz, the coloring book, and all the other children's books ever concocted as another way of advancing political arguments at a truly grass roots level. It's great because the authors of My Parents Open Carry don't give a dang what anyone thinks, which sure makes for some entertaining reading. They even put blurbs of praise from both Glenn Beck AND Stephen Colbert on the back of their book.
So let's go over some of the life lessons contained in the pages of My Parents Open Carry.
5. Anyone who questions the choice to openly carry is obviously just ill-informed. The book covers an average Saturday in the subtly-named Strong family. Before they leave the house to run errands Saturday morning, young Brenna's father and mother each retrieve their firearms from the family gun safe. Why? Well, because of the evil, you see.
"Brenna could plainly see her parent's guns secured in their holsters on their hips. She was reminded of what her mom and dad always told her. Dad would always say, 'Brenna, there is evil in this world, and we want to protect you the best we can.' Mom would add, 'We are responsible for our own safety, and, and, as an adult someday you will be responsible for your safety' .... They both liked to say, 'When seconds count, the police are minutes away.'"
That last bit is something of a theme throughout the book, 24 pages, including a glossary of definitions at the back. Anyway, so once that philosophy of the world has been explained, Brenna and family go out and about. A neighbor sees the guns and vocally praises what the Strong family is doing (his name is Mr. Wright and he's totally not being incredibly supportive because his neighbors are constantly armed even though we haven't heard even a rumbling of a possible zombie attack in the pages of this story.)
While Mr. Wright has the right idea (get it?) an unnamed mother (we shall dub her Mrs. Wrong) catches sight of the guns in the supermarket and pulls her children away, generally reacting in an unfriendly manner. It's because she's uninformed, see. Because to question the wisdom of always packing heat -- despite the guy in Oregon who just had his openly carried weapon openly stolen -- is just plain old fashioned ignorance y'all. Does this stance make sense? Nah, but it's the stance they're using anyway.
4. If you really wanna prove how little you care about what other people think, use comic sans. Sure, it's the most hated typeface in the entire world, because, you know, it's horrid, a font that even makes good words looks like they were strung together by a bored fourth grader, but that doesn't matter to Brian Jeffs and Nathan Nephew. They are the honey badgers of the political children's book world, and they use that comic sans like it's going out of style.
3. People who open carry are never ever robbed. Understand, this is why Richard Strong and company are always armed all of the time. Whether they are hit with a run-of-the-mill bad guy or a horde of the undead who want to eat their brains AND take their guns, the Strongs and all open carry supporters will be ready.
Strong explains this to young Brenna, by telling a story of this one time when he was sitting in a greasy spoon diner and he and a friend noticed a shifty-eyed dude walk in and look around a little too much. Then he saw that good old Richard had a gun, and he left. Later, a shifty-eyed dude was arrested for trying to rob a store or a restaurant or something. The guy explained to the police -- because in Open Carry world, robbers routinely tell law enforcement about other crimes they were planning to commit -- that he was going to rob a greasy spoon but then he saw an armed guy and decided not to. Coincidence? Richard Strong thinks not, or something like that. Carry guns and you will never get robbed ever. Except for that guy in Oregon.
2. We should all carry guns all the time because of the Second Amendment. Forget all of the recent mass shootings, and don't even think of the number of people who are shot and killed daily. Carrying a gun is your Constitutional right and you should exercise that right at all times and in all situations, according to the Strong family. Only people who are not citizens, do not love the United States of America and not fans of veterans are against everyone being armed all the time.
Freedom, you see, isn't just another word for nothin' left to lose. It's a fully armed, locked and loaded American public. But why must people be armed constantly? Well, that's because those who do not carry guns all the time will lose the right to have guns ever (in this world any regulation is the same as regulating something out of existence... kind of like what the state of Texas is doing to abortion rights.)
However, an old World War II veteran in the grocery store explains this to young Brenna far better than we ever could:
"The old man explained that he fought in World War [II] to protect all of our rights, and he wished more people understood what freedom was. He looked at Brenna and went on to say that the 2nd Amendment, the one that states 'A well-regulated militia being necessary for a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed,' wasn't about hunting, or target shooting or even self defense.
He said the 2nd Amendment was spelled out to protect people from a tyrannical government ... the Founding Fathers knew that the surest way to keep the new republic from becoming too powerful was to allow citizens the right to keep and bear arms."
1. Good kids get guns. At the end of the book -- spoiler alert -- Brenna is presented with a personal protection unit of her very own. See, Brenna has been very good in school, has gotten straight As and has gotten very good at both describing people in detail (good practice in case she ever has to deal with some would-be evil doers), plus she almost always catches her dad when he sneaks up on her (hopefully not while armed because that seems particularly dangerous with all those guns floating around).
Because of all this good behavior, Brenna now has her very own gun. At age 13, when her fictional brain is still not done developing, an age when most kids are often a messy mass of hormones and impulsive decisions. But Brenna is obviously ready to start carrying her own gun. What could possibly go wrong?
Get the ICYMI: Today's Top Stories Newsletter Our daily newsletter delivers quick clicks to keep you in the know
Catch up on the day's news and stay informed with our daily digest of the most popular news, music, food and arts stories in Houston, delivered to your inbox Monday through Friday.