Sounds like me now......”
Being a trigger for hire has been something unexpected and something monumental, even if the photography hasn’t always been stellar. What has always been brilliant, though, is watching people and getting to know them, from groups to couples. It’s even better when shooting driven, passionate people, from brewers to protestors. The one perversion that sticks out throughout this entire time has been photographing having a tool to defend yourself become worshipped and paraded around in the same manner a small boy does when he figures out how to pee standing up, only aggressively.
The revulsion to open carry advocates stems from their lack of control. At first sight, the movement is demographically varied since one pure thing binds them: blinding paranoia. Even with the varied skin tones, most Open Carry Texas members stem from military backgrounds as well as simple disenfranchised Republicans looking to take their country back from what they once loved the most and still love: government. They unite to defend themselves from their own fears and want nothing more than to prove that point as boastfully as they can. Their supreme goal is this one point of American politics—weapons and bearing arms. They aren’t out protesting no refusal checkpoint on highways, yelling at police to their faces; they don’t make appearances when corporate entities funnel local money to build sports arenas; they don’t demean security guards who make them take off their belts before walking into courthouses; Open Carry members only concern themselves with keeping their guns over their shoulders so they don’t have to bury their boomsticks in backyards. They bathe in mediocrity and it never washes off the stench of paranoia about how concerned they are that strangers will kill them in public.
The first Open Carry Texas interaction was something memorable but something far from special, even though the job was to photograph the favored gubernatorial candidate for the Libertarian Party of Texas as well as a former presidential candidate. During Gary Johnson’s speech, when he’d deviate from weapons and talk about decriminalizing certain drugs (something that’s certainly done more damage than the freedom for people to carry rifles to little league football games) and reduction of general American political absurdity, he was booed by more than a few freedom-loving gun fans. Mid-shoot, a group of ladies ordained with sequin crosses on belts thought it was perfectly fine to bother me by asking about the graphic on my T-shirt. I told them it was a brewery I work for and hoped the open carriers would leave it at that.
“They better support freedom.”
“I’m sure they do. I’m sure they support everything rational.”
“You’re sure? You mean you don’t know?”
“I don’t know and don’t care to know, either. It’s a brewery, so I assume they want maximum freedom.”
Collectively, the ladies adjusted their gun holsters that contained nothing but phallic vegetables. “Oh, America can’t have that.”
I backed away to continue to work as they waited for one of their established open carry icons as they stood close to their stage and continually adjusted their holstered bananas and carrots as they suffered through politicians who laid out plans for an America that will probably never exist. Only their bananas gave them pleasure.
Shouting down big government whole talking up a militarized border is astonishingly vile and hypocritical, especially given the fact that border policies now extend far too far away from America’s border the Mexico. If you scream for a country that resembles how the founding fathers imagined it to be, then why not eliminate borders? No borders and uninfringed rights to bear arms, that’s as American as Mormonism.
“Make us look good,” I was ordered through a bullhorn one weekend, “we keep you safe. Make sure you photograph these cops, too, we don’t trust them.” Having a gun over your shoulder makes you feel like you’re saving the world from the force that most people think will save them. Some of us want to be spared of both, though.
Fitting the mold constructed by stereotypes should be the fear of those who live on the fringe. What is the stereotype for people who want to express how free they are by carrying rifles over their shoulders? It’s probably that they are violent, paranoid, aggressive, and everything that shouldn’t have access to a trigger. Open Carry Texas, specifically those who try to make themselves into civil rights heroes on social networking, try to sell their slavery by screaming until they’re kings, all to make others experience slavery. They’ll try to make themselves ugly so America victimizes them until tears are shed and through the salty blur, those screaming loons look beautiful.