I read an intriguing article years ago (I think it was in Harpers) about how the first wave of SUVs were actually designed to look hostile and aggressive -- to appeal to the angry white middle-class male. There was a lot of talk about how they wanted buyers to perceive them as rolling fortresses to protect themselves and their families in a dangerous world. (It was more than a little ironic that so many of the early SUVs had a little problem with rollovers and ending up killing people, but I digress.) For someone who's paranoid, you can't possibly have enough protection - unfortunately for the rest of us.
I'd suggest that we all just stay home, but at least two people were shot by stray bullets while they were asleep in their own beds this past week.
Anyway, the Times takes a close look at how that open-carry law in North Carolina has worked out, so be sure to go read the rest:
Alan Simons was enjoying a Sunday morning bicycle ride with his family in Asheville, N.C., two years ago when a man in a sport utility vehicle suddenly pulled alongside him and started berating him for riding on the highway.
The bullet passed through Mr. Simons's helmet.
Mr. Simons, his 4-year-old son strapped in behind him, slowed to a halt. The driver, Charles Diez, an Asheville firefighter, stopped as well. When Mr. Simons walked over, he found himself staring down the barrel of a gun.
“Go ahead, I’ll shoot you,” Mr. Diez said, according to Mr. Simons. “I’ll kill you.”
Mr. Simons turned to leave but heard a deafening bang. A bullet had passed through his bike helmet just above his left ear, barely missing him.
Mr. Diez, as it turned out, was one of more than 240,000 people in North Carolina with a permit to carry a concealed handgun. If not for that gun, Mr. Simons is convinced, the confrontation would have ended harmlessly. “I bet it would have been a bunch of mouthing,” he said.
Mr. Diez, then 42, eventually pleaded guilty to assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill.
Across the country, it is easier than ever to carry a handgun in public. Prodded by the gun lobby, most states, including North Carolina, now require only a basic background check, and perhaps a safety class, to obtain a permit.
In state after state, guns are being allowed in places once off-limits, like bars, college campuses and houses of worship. And gun rights advocates are seeking to expand the map still further, pushing federal legislation that would require states to honor other states’ concealed weapons permits. The House approved the bill last month; the Senate is expected to take it up next year.
The bedrock argument for this movement is that permit holders are law-abiding citizens who should be able to carry guns in public to protect themselves. “These are people who have proven themselves to be among the most responsible and safe members of our community,” the federal legislation’s author, Representative Cliff Stearns, Republican of Florida, said on the House floor.
To assess that claim, The New York Times examined the permit program in North Carolina, one of a dwindling number of states where the identities of permit holders remain public. The review, encompassing the last five years, offers a rare, detailed look at how a liberalized concealed weapons law has played out in one state. And while it does not provide answers, it does raise questions.
Like, look how many "law abiding citizens" used guns to kill people -- and how the cops basically didn't enforce the few protections there were in place that were supposed to protect domestic abuse victims. Reassuring!