Nostalgia for past historical epochs is often due to people’s desires for the future, rather than a true yearning for the distant past.
A good example has represented the American Wild West with its legends, cinema genre, TV shows, comics, museums, historical reenactments and tourist trap towns across the western US. Visitors want to see, smell and taste the real thing: a chuck roast baking over the grill, the old smell of black gunpowder, touching an old Colt six-gun revolver or a Winchester lever-action repeating rifle, the dilapidated wooden homes found in ghost towns and walking into a real live saloon with shutter doors, and a long wooden bar with lots of whiskey and sweet wine. The card tables now exist inside of casinos.
Some locals-touts in the tourist trap towns still dress that old way, with the cowboy boots, big rimmed hats, long overcoats, pants held up with suspenders, shirts done with bolo ties, and a few even have leather chaps and spurs, as if they just dismounted off a horse.
They even act their parts with the long hair, the long moustaches and the stubble on the chin. Meanwhile, the women have that late nineteenth-century Victorian style dress – inclusive of blouses, small vest jackets, heeled shoes, pant undergarments and corsets, with their long hair done up in those old Progressive era buns and curls. Both the men and the women like their whiskey and tobacco, but there is always one thing missing during the reenactments – the guns.
As a historian, I can definitely state that most people openly carried guns during the American Wild West days. Not all cowboys, ranchers, merchants and barkeepers carried weapons on them, but enough did to make life a lot more polite than our contemporary times. A lot more men than women carried pistols on their hips, but most farm women had their shotguns ready for action – if some bad guys came around the bend. This was especially true in the South and in the West.
About a hundred and forty years ago, not much time in the grand history of our planet, open gun carrying in the US was just about as common as putting on one’s own clothes. It was not just the Wild West that had people carrying weapons, but also the big cities in America, such as New York City, Chicago and San Francisco.
What happened to those days? Well, the United States has become a mostly urban population base. The local dictator, urban politicians don’t like having armed populations walking around – except for the city’s police forces. Where there exists lots of monopoly capitalism, city hall corruption, high taxes, and police state injustice, all of which now thrive in those massive megalopolises, people feel alienated, angry, frustrated, and the rage begins to fry on high heat.
In order to strike fear into those urban populations, the local, ‘elected’ tyrants run prisons that resemble torture centers, while the local police act more like paramilitary forces. So far, this method of social control seems to have worked out just fine.
America’s large urban populations survive as disarmed marks. Dastardly rudeness and institutional violence run rampant in those cities, and the regular citizens have to look over their shoulders when walking alone in the dark, crossing into an unknown area, or when entering their buildings. The urban politicians and elites get bodyguards, real police protection, and easy concealed weapons licenses, while the urban wage slaves can hopefully buy a spay canister of mace.
There are a few large cities in America where people can still legally open carry, but most police normally stop the open carriers and ask them for identification. A few times, the police have actually arrested the people and have taken away their weapons – never to return the weapons to the original owners. Type ‘open carry detain arrest’ on YouTube and you can watch the horrendous videos exposing such legal injustice.
Some businesses now ban open carrying on their premises, and the laws in many ‘gun friendly’ states often prohibit open carrying on school, government and post office properties.
I have even watched pro-gun guys with YouTube channels saying publicly that open carrying is stupid. Many Americans admire the days of the Wild West, yet open carrying has the reputation of an old, bygone historical era.
I believe that if we gun owners want to keep our cultural power inside of the United States, then open carrying must continue. If one lives in an anti-open carrying state, then the gun people can form an open carrying group to publicly walk around and hopefully change the law.
Like the days of the Wild West, people acted with a lot more prudence, and behaved with better manners. There were just as many rude nasty types, sinister outlaws in those days, just like in our current days. This is the reason for the nostalgia of the Wild West: people could defend their honor and their life without having to ask the State for permission. Only two social groups in the actual United States now have that freedom.
The first group represents the upper level economic and political elites, such as owners and major stockholders of multinational corporations, old money inheritance trust funders, high court judges, a few top celebrities, military generals and admirals, and top-heavy, well-connected politicians. The second group revolves around the state gangs, such as Federal government officials that carry weapons, such as FBI and CIA agents-spies, and the multiple law enforcement-police forces found across the land. Prison guards also have the right to use their arms with corresponding legal immunities, yet only when working inside the prison walls.
The rest of the population, meaning us, have to fear the terrible vengeance and brutal fury of the State.
The Open Carry of firearms is still a revolutionary act. It is open for all to see and it simply states that the armed person will defend him or herself. Most importantly, open carrying informs the non-gun owning public that we have history on our side. Guns have always been an important part of American culture – and we will make sure that they stay that way.
The less open carrying that regular citizens see on the streets, the more the fear of guns predominates within the general population, while the open carrying of firearms by police forces and government agents seems quite normal. If this status quo continues, the future of guns in American culture will find a notorious reputation.
Some of the non-gun owning public perceives guns through a dangerous black and white scenario: either the good guys, the cops, carry guns, or the bad guys, the criminals, use guns. We know that this is not true – but if the regular people never open carry, then this plot might become the actuality.
If we still have our Second amendment rights, then gun owners should exercise them. The most powerful method is the open carry of a loaded firearm on the hip. This includes a sturdy belt that slides into the holster. The holster needs to have a clip or a fastener in order to hold the firearm snugly inside the holster pocket. This type of holster keeps the firearm in place eliminating any fear of the firearm dropping, falling, hitting the ground or negligently discharging a round.
A firearm that drops out of a cheap, unfastened holster, falls down to the ground, and might negligently fire – and even kill someone, destroying the lives of both the open carrier and the victim. Anti-gun Liberal-Leftist fascists use those accidents to defame all of us. With this right to open carry comes the responsibility of handling a tool that terminates life on a trigger squeeze.
When we publicly open carry, eyes begin to glance at us, so we should not look too bizarre or eccentric. Whatever side our firearm is on, then we should not play around with that side or nervously dabble our fingers across the holster. The holster is simply another part of our clothes.
I personally place my keys and other stuff inside the other pants pocket that doesn’t have the holster by it. I do not use the pants pocket on the side of the holster. When visiting a bar or any place where I plan to drink booze, I do not open carry. For me, alcohol, bar-restaruant patrons, and guns don’t mix.
And finally, the Hollywood movie version of the double dueling desperado with the two-gun holsters on both hips is simply a myth. I’m sure a few outlaws might have used that method, but most of them probably didn’t live that long to write about it.
I have only recently openly carried, and I have not had any problems with business owners or the police – yet. What saddens me greatly is that I live in a western state that has legal open carry of firearms, and I have seen very few people open carrying in the town that I currently live in. The few open carriers have been either the employees who work at the local gun store, or once and while, a guy just coming back from the range or hunting.
Open carriers ought to stick together, and hopefully with more visibility of open carry, we can invite other courageous people to join the open carry movement representing men and women, diverse ethnicities, creeds, and sexual orientations.
This last part is important because the anti-gun Liberal fascists in the corporate media like to stereotype us as a bunch of white male, super heterosexual, super macho, right-wing asshole, fat guys with genetically attached baseball caps carrying the symbol of ignorance magically stamped across our foreheads. The big city despots in America can curse us all they want, but we stand firm as free, courageous and armed people who are not scared to exercise our rights. Most importantly, we know our own history.