Ok, some of the very few that read this may have missed me (if not, don't bother telling me so), as I've been very busy with Danger. This week, though, was too good of an Open Carry Experience not to share.
Monday, and once Tuesday, I had no less than four major remarkable conversations about Open Carry.
One, a stocker at the grocery store, was interested in whether or not I ever get hassled about it, as he was considering a little bit himself. I shared with him a few of my positive experiences, talked a little about the local laws, and he went on his way with a thoughtful look and, I think, an increased determination. A couple things stick out from this conversation- first off, this is our regular grocery store, and I am (I think) becoming something of a fixture there. On my own, I'm not an exceedingly memorable person, but the combination of small child in a carrier and Open Carry (as well as a ready smile and luxurious beard) probably starts to stand out in the minds of the employees. I've seen this kid there before, and I know this is not the first time he's noted the gun on my hip. It is, however, the first time he's asked about it. I got the impression he's been mulling this decision for a while, and has gradually been deciding to act on it. Diplomacy for the Win! Second, he and others have mentioned an aspect of the law that I have not encountered myself, and it makes me wonder where the belief comes from. Specifically, he was under the impression that having a Concealed Carry license removed OC from the table. I have done my diligence in familiarizing myself with Oregon's various laws (I can't quote chapter and verse, but I make sure to remain in compliance) and have not found this to be the law anywhere in Oregon. Possibly this rule exists in other places or states, but I have not come across it anywhere.
The second conversation came a scant few minutes later, near the deli, where two women were waiting for their cold cuts. While different in exact wording from other conversations I've had, the effect was the same. They noticed the combination of small child and large gun and found it to be most droll, as well as entirely appropriate. With a smile, I replied that one does what one must to keep his family safe, and they agreed. They both seemed very receptive to the idea that the gun was a tool for safety, which underscores the idea that the world is not necessarily a safe place, and we all must do what we can to mitigate that. This mirrors a number of other conversations I've had, notably a handful of very similar conversations with Mothers, children in tow, at that very same store. Quite a contrast to the Moms Demand Action crowd, who do not seem to coincide with very many real people I have met.
The next two encounters were in my own home, and both were strikingly similar (in fact both were with employees of our new pest control service). I don't care much for people knocking on my door to sell me things, but I understand that business always needs new customers- in fact, I spent some time in that same manner back when I was in roofing. When the clean cut young man started his pitch on pest control, My Lovely Wife answered, and we eventually decided to allow them to treat our home. OpSec priciples were followed of course, and proper documentation was obtained before allowing the pitch to proceed. Upon noticing my sidearm, he expressed quite an approval, and mentioned that he and his wife had been considering the purchase of their first firearm. In point of fact, it was my understanding that the matter was broached by his wife, who grew up in a shooting family. The very next day, the tech arrived at our home to do the initial treatment. He also noticed the gun on my hip, expressed his approval, and engaged in some conversation regarding shooting and carrying. At that point he admitted that his wife is a much better shot than he, and had been discussing with him the purchase of an arm for home defense! Strange, I have seen so many people purporting not only that gun ownership is in decline, but that women were against such a thing! Its almost like the Bloomberg and Brady people are... Wrong, or something.
In all, I consider this to have been a very good week to be an Open Carrier. Not only do I feel I am continuing in good form to be an ambassador for our culture, but I have managed to strike up conversation with several people interested in joining our inclusive little group, and one who seems quite on the verge of regular carry himself. A net win, I'd say, and a far cry from the dying culture that others wish us to be.