How to tell the difference between a good guy with a gun and a bad guy with a gun continues to be fuzzy. The fetishists of Open Carry Texas seem to be working especially hard at that, at least in the realm of fast-food restaurants, and this week brings word of two more Texas establishments being patriotically stormed by a crowd of goddamn dumbasses with assault rifles and other guns in an attempt to normalize murder-weapon exhibitionism. The latest targets were a Chili's and a Sonic, and the result was the businesses and other customers telling them to get lost.
Two videos posted on YouTube on May 19 by the San Antonio chapter of Open Carry Texas—since removed from public view but obtained by Mother Jones—show its armed members being refused service at both restaurants. The two companies have not made official statements on open carry but have since indicated that they are reviewing their policies. From the nervous and angry reactions of some patrons to comments from some of the gun activists themselves, it's not difficult to see why these spectacles haven't been winning many people over.Because naturally anyone with a contrary view on a group of armed men marching into a family restaurant must be a member of the conspiracy against them.
When a young woman approaches the group in Chili's and expresses her dismay, a guy with an assault rifle strapped across his back offers her a flier. "Um actually, there's children here," she replies, "and you're a dumbass." As she walks away one member of the group comments mockingly, "Yes, I'm a dumbass," and then says of her, "must be Moms Demand Action," referring to the national gun-reform group.
Still, this is good news. The general public is getting fed up with these lunatics, and are letting them know, and the businesses are getting the definite message that they're going to have to choose between serving groups of heavily armed men and everyone else. Few public restaurants want to be known as a gang hangout, even if that gang is—how to put this?—noticeably doughy.
As for Open Carry Texas themselves, most of them are beginning to realize how badly these episodes are backfiring on them. Most, that is; it is after all the dumbest and most openly belligerent members of the group pulling these stunts, which is precisely the group of people we should least want to have guns at all. It again raises the issue as to how the hell the rest of us are supposed to suss out the difference between a batshit insane bad person carrying a gun and a batshit insane "good" person carrying one or two or three guns. You know, so we know whether to feel "protected" or start running.
My guess is that these jackasses don't care. They're doing it to legalize public intimidation, and will do it until they either accidentally get shot by an equally jittery and ambitious good guy with a gun not hip to their little movement or until the rest of the country intimidates them right back. So good work, restaurants that want their customers to be able to eat in peace without having to parse out whether the guy sitting two tables down is sufficiently hinged to have all that firepower. Now if all the other Texas businesses could rally behind the notion that their customers should not have to be put in that position, we'd be getting somewhere.