Open Carry has become something of a movement in the US. This involves civilians stoating about with a firearm on display in places of perfect safety as a political statement. This includes even the house of God. Or political meetings. In some case because of state laws the gun isn't even loaded. Many of these folks are not crazies its just a logical extension of their politics. I can't really argue with this logic: Nor would I want to live in a society were this was viewed as normal or heaven forbid actually a necessity rather than an Waltish affectation. Firearm fearing Brits may be appalled by this idea but the right to bear arms is a very hot political issue in the US. Not just on the right, it stirs up the progressive side of the Dems mightily. The Dems have wisely been backing away from what had become a key culture war issue. A lot of folks don't give a damn about gay marriage, abortion or health care but touch their guns and they'll be up on their hind legs. Being armed is the tangible basis of an individualistic free society for a lot of Yanks and amongst poor whites its a key reason to distrust the Dems. The US "liberal" inclination towards gun control can too easily be interpreted as class warfare downward i.e. the kind that's liable to lose you votes. There's are practicalities. The bottom layer of US society often lives in grim situations were being armed can be a necessary comforter. Poor Black and Latino women are especially affected by violent crime and there's a .32 in many a cheap purse. Folk do defend themselves successfully often without firing a shot and when they do statistically are much less likely to shoot the wrong guy than US cops. There's this slightly hysterical opinion piece in Salon. Does open carry make you look gay? I can't help thinking he should have chosen a bigger gun and a higher holster. Now a Birther with in reach of any sharpened implement that would have me worried.