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Should you use your firearm for self-defense (heaven forfend) you will have an interaction with the police. In that situation, they are not your friend. The only words out of your mouth should be “My life was in danger. I want to speak to my lawyer.” Or, alternatively, nothing. The right to remain silent means the right to remain silent. If the cops arrest you, ask for a lawyer at that point. And then continue to STFU (Shut The F Up). So hats off to jecm21088 for NOT doing what so many open carry advocates do: argue constitutional law with officers on the street. To quote Montell Jordan, this is how we do it.

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85 Responses to Open Carry Advocate jecm21088 and the Power of STFU

      • Considering the fact that this took place in Blacksburg, VA, home of Virinia Tech, I will applaud the cops for not making trouble out of this. And it somewhat explains the “man with a gun” calls that led to this encounter.

  1. Most officers respect 2a issues and constitutional rights in general. Unfortunately there are quite a few that do not. I’ve seen both sides from the other side of the blue line.

    • +1. Actually, your Miranda Rights such as the right to remain silent, etc. are not invokable unless and until you are in a state of “custodial interrogation”, i.e. you are not free to leave, you are being detained, and you are being asked questions about some alleged crime. The cop may have been well within the bounds of the law and constitutional parchment application to ask for his ID. Just sayin.

      Personally, I would have answered the officer’s questions in a polite manner, i.e. yes, sir, no, sir manner just to avoid the hassle. Maybe it may even be helpful to strike up a conversation with the officer about whatever, just to show you are not some crazy person who needs to be investigated. I know what my rights are, but that does not mean I need to implicitly rub some cop’s nose in it. I don’t want the hassle or to become the poster child for something.

      • Scuba, re: your second paragraph: I just left a comment below, but to reiterate, yes, it’s nice of you to be polite and answer questions, and if you’d like to do that, more power to you. But this guy does this a lot, i.e. walking around open carry with his camera. It’s like he’s doing his best to educate the LEOs in his area. Most of them know him on sight.

        Having to stop and have a conversation with the police every single time some shrinking violet makes a “man with a gun” phone call is a subtle form of intimidation and hassle, with the unstated goal of “if it becomes a big pain in the ass to always have to talk the cops when they do it, maybe they’ll stop doing it.” As I said, answering politely is nice once, but if you make a habit of carrying openly, how much of a pain would it be to have that polite conversation the third time? The fifth? The tenth?

        Some would say, “But they have to check it out…” Fine. Drive by and look, but if they’re non-threatening and just walking, there’s no need to pull the car over, get out and attempt conversation. I look at what jecm21088 is doing as making open carry the “new normal,” in the hopes that eventually it will no longer require a police response.

    • This individual was obviously exercising all his rights. The only information you have to provide a LEO is your name, address, D.O.B., SSN. It is shown in the video that the officer never asked any of this information. Also depending on state laws, you may have to give the serial number of the firearm. This is only to make sure it isn’t a stolen weapon. At the point the officer approached this individual and other officers coming in at all angles this very well could be considered an siezure. Obviously the individual was not free to leave until the officer said he was…otherwise he wouldn’t have said it. There are many things to consider in these types of situations. I have been on many runs where and individual was openly carrying a firearm and all we did was make sure the individuals didn’t have any warrents and the weapon wasn’t reported stolen. Anytime a LEO approaches you, be cautious of what you say as it can make the turnout be very different or make the process longer. Also a LEO can put anything that is factual in his/her report including everything you said (even if your are not arrested/charged with a crime). This proves to a court that the LEO knows what he/ she is doing, knows exactly what was said and lets the court know what was said, and puts the ball in the LEOs court. This is all food for thought.

  2. That’s a VERY intimidating situation. I’d be willing to bet that if that were to happen in my city, the person would be arrested for obstruction. He might be released later without charges, but it would still be a stressful event.

  3. The officer, who might have been irritated by the end of it, was looking (as we have seen many do) to engage him in conversation, so that he could work the conversation around to, “Do you really need to be doing that, because it’s freaking people out. Come on, man, be reasonable.”

    It’s behavior modification through subtle intimidation.

    I’m sorry the cop got irritated, but the more this happens, the closer we get to someone calling about a guy walking down the sidewalk with a rifle, and the cop simply responding, “Oh, that’s just Jerry, he’s harmless.”

  4. The officer was doing his due diligence, and there is nothing wrong with being polite either. The activist in this case was being the proverbial d@#%#e.

    • You’re absolutely right. This is why I hate activist from both sides of the issue. Part of being an activist is provoking people. I could understand if someone was arrested or detained by mistake for something. But to grab a camera and walk the streets just hoping or in some cases causing yourself to get arrested just to cause a stir. This guy was obviously doing just that. Good for that officer keeping a level head and letting this one go.

  5. Luckily he ran into a cop with a sense of humor otherwise he probably would have been charged with interfering with a police investigation and had a very aggravating rest of his day.

    I am all for the right to remain silent, but not answering reasonable questions just for the sake of not answering questions is not really the best solution to 99% of most interactions with police officers.

    You do have to keep in mind that the officer is just doing his job, and if he is there responding to a call from a concerned citizen he has a duty to investigate and find out what is going on. Purposely impeding that investigation can lead to problems. He is gonna do his investigation if it means just casually talking to you on the street corner or taking you down to the station.

    No, you should never incriminate yourself, and if you think that you might then you should SFTU and ask for a lawyer… but dont be a prick.

    • +1 As an act of advocacy this appeared to be effective. But in the video there seemed to be a second where the cop was thinking about taking things personally, but reconsidered and took the high road instead. Kudos to that officer. While the silent treatment is dramatic and creates an impact, per Matt in FL’s comment, this guy is just asking to get arrested for something – and maybe that’s part of his advocacy strategy.

      However, as a citizen (rather than an advocate) who is approached by an officer or deputy, the silent treatment could easily cause the cop to take the situation personally. A key point in avoiding detention or arrest is to NOT make escalate the situation into a pissing contest; citizens tend to lose those.

      Even as an act of advocacy, a well thought out positioning statement conveyed respectfully to the cop could be even more effective – and certainly less confrontational.

  6. I think this is more about a good police officer than anything else. He brought up the guys right to carry first. Somebody freaked out and he was just doing his job to make sure it wasn’t some drunk guy with a gun. This OC could have just said just about anything and I think this police officer wouldn’t have given him a hard time.

  7. Why is this guy a “prick” or a “dickhead” for choosing not to engage a perfect stranger in conversation? The attitudes here give police way too much deference and come off seeming like boot-lickers trying to appease their betters.

    I do my best to avoid all interaction with gangs, especially those officially sanctioned by the state.

  8. This is dumb. It wasn’t a DGU or even a confrontation, except for the part where the cameraman elected to be a $@# by sitting there silent with his camera on. Yes, he had a perfect right to do that, and good for the cop for getting that, but it’s still needlessly provocative under the circumstances. Not sure this makes open carry look good to anyone.

    • Doing or saying NOTHING is the antithesis of provocation.

      Some guy who attempts to engage you in conversation in public is not owed an answer under any circumstance.

  9. The man had a camera trained on the officer (or maybe a concealed camera). The cop knew to be on his best behavior and that he was being tested and recorded (and maybe end up on youtube). That might have affected the cop somewhat.

  10. The camera man was being a complete d%@k. Remaining silent is one thing, but being an a$$hole is completly differant. It makes all CCs and OCs look bad. The police got a call about a guy with a gun freaking people out and they investigated. The guy with the camera came off as being someone just looking for trouble and trying to provoke someone. You can’t blame the officer for being irritated with the guy. If you were talking to someone who was ignoring you, you would get a little ticked off to right. In the end, the cop did the right thing. Realizing the guy wasn’t a real threat, just someone trying to prove some asinine point, he left him alone.

    • The guy with the camera came off as being someone just looking for trouble and trying to provoke someone.

      Looking for trouble? He was walking down the sidewalk, within the law, and he was stopped for a conversation. Remaining silent is pretty much the epitome of not being provocative.

      Realizing the guy wasn’t a real threat, just someone trying to prove some asinine point, he left him alone.

      Realizing the guy wasn’t a threat, just someone legally exercising his constitutional rights, and therefore undeserving of being hassled, he left him alone.

      There, fixed it for you.

      • “legally exercising his constitutional rights, and therefore undeserving of being hassled”

        If he was doing that, fine. But he wasn’t. This guy is an activist. As I said in a post above, I hate activist from iether side of this argument. Activist provoke people and try to start trouble where there wasn’t any before they got there. Think about it, how often do you grab your gun AND your camera before you head out in the morning. This guy was walking the streets with a camera just hoping someone would come alonge and arrest him, so he would have it all on tape and get his 15 minitutes of fame.

        • How do you know it was a camera and not a cell phone with a camera?

          Why does exercising someones rights make them an activist?

        • Good point. But still how often does someone pull out a camera or phone just because a police car stops. Unless you know or are hoping something is about to happen. Most people exercise their rights everday and don’t even think about it. If you’ve made a career out of it or are spending excessive amounts of time on it, you’re an activist. From what i’ve heard about this guy, a good portion of his time is spent just walking the streets with a camera looking for reactions to his OCing.

        • There is no reason not to record a police encounter. Its documentation of your cooperation and your refusal of a search if you are asked.

        • “spending excessive amounts of time” excercising your rights!?

          Please tell me, what is the right amount of time we should spend being free?

        • If you have a cell phone, you likely have a camera. Why do you assume his actions were specifically activist in nature? Filming every police encounter is just plain smart record keeping and his video begins after they have arrived (not as though he’s eagerly awaiting his detainment). He did nothing criminal, made no threats, no provocations (silence is not provocation), and patiently waited for the encounter to end. He was polite in his greeting and his farewell and remained silent while he was under investigation. I don’t understand how anyone would consider that as activist, provocative, impolite, dickish, or ass hole-y.

        • Remaining silent and filming an encounter with the state’s inquisitors is totally within his rights and the wise thing to do. Anyone that thinks otherwise should read a law book, attend a pre-law criminal defense or prosecution and adjudication course at their local college, or just call a damn lawyer and ask for their advice. You’ll learn one thing: don’t talk to the cops.

          I took an Interview and Interrogations course taught by a detective with many years of experience under his belt. They want you to talk to them so they can find a reason to arrest and charge you. The more you talk, the more you can trip yourself up. So don’t.

          Never talk to the police unless an emergency is taking place.

    • I have to agree 100%. The people on this site don’t seem to realize that law enforcement comes into contact (surprise!) with criminals more often than not. Just put yourself into the shoes of an LEO that gets a call that someone is walking around with a firearm. Whether it’s serious or not you have to respond as with ANY call for service. You have no idea whether it is about to be an “active shooter scenario” or just some guy exercising his rights. Unfortunately, you have to balance the possibility of getting shot versus politeness.

      • While I’m not in law enforcement, I doubt that every call for service gets a quick response from patrol. Calls are triaged by law enforcement based on the threat and urgency.

        A few questions from a dispatcher to the caller, assuming they’re reasonably coherent and observant, would have determined that a person walking down the street was armed. This is not a crime.

    • Yes. Read my post above. This guy was not just some Joe Nobody exercising his rights like us. He’s an activist. He does this on a daily basis. He gets up every morning and grabs his gun AND A CAMERA and spends all day walking the streets hoping to get arrested. As the person below me pointed out we don’t have the 911 tape. What was he doing to “freak people out”. Was he just walking down the street or was he approaching people trying to get the cops called on him. If I was a bettin man, I’de say it was probably the latter.

      • Way to jump to conclusions Tim. There is zero evidence to suggest he was approaching people trying to get a confrontation.

        • That’s why it’s just my oponion. The tape says it all. If the police get a call about a guy with a gun “freaking people out” they have to look into it. When the officer spoke to him, he could have just been polite and explained that he was just walking down the stree well within his rights THEN STFU. But he didn’t. He just stood there with his camera on the officer. To the officer it was like talking to a brick wall. Remaining silent can be a form of provocation. Let’s be honest, most people who haven’t done anything wrong, have no problem talking to law enforcement. Not saying you should spill your guts to them, but if one says “hello, how are you today” it’s probably OK to say “fine, how about you?”. The first thing the officer says is “you know you have a legal right to carry that”. The officer knew what was going on the second he showed up at the scene. He knew this guy with the camera was just trying to get a reaction out of him. Again good job on the part of the officer. He relized what was happening and kept his cool. Just out of curiosity, what’s with everyone wanting to record encounters with law enforcement. Have you all had bad experiences with cops or what. I’ve never been afraid to talk to a officer in my life. I never once thought about recording one. I hear things on the news about crooked cops, but have never experienced it first hand.

  11. The problem with looking at these encounters is that we never get the complete story of the incident.

    We see the perspective of the legally armed citizen and Law Enforcement’s reactions. The missing piece of the puzzle is the 911 call to the Police from the hoplophobic witness. Because we don’t know what the tone of the call is to Law Enforcement we have no idea how to quantify Law Enforcement’s reactions to open carriers.

    Example one. Panicky soccer mom calls 911 and says : “There a Man with a Loaded Gun Running on Main Street!I don’t know if he’s maybe trying to shoot someone!OMG, Send an officer PLEASE!” With that piece of bad intel from dispatch LE responds guns drawn on the poor open carrier wondering just what the F is going on here, and the hapless armed citizen is standing around thinking his local cops are seriously anti-gun jackwagons. In this scenario a modicum of social civility would go a long way to keeping the situation from escalating further.

    Example two: Instead of a panicked call police get a calm message from dispatch to check out the guy running with a Glock pistol on Main Street. Police are calm, open carrier is calm, and everyone can conclude their interests without undue drama.

    Speaking for my own habits, if LE responds to a “Man with Gun” call and Im the day’s lucky winner Ill be very civil about explaining my rights.For all I know they could have been told by some worm of a person that I looked like a felon walking into Wal Mart, and that’s not the fault of me or the cops that they got bad intel from a nosy caller.

  12. Whaddaya know — a video where nobody did anything wrong. The carrier was walking along minding his own business, and the cop was reasonable and polite. I wonder if Nick Casavettes directed this, because it was every bit as exciting as “The Notebook.” Mercifully, this viddy was shorter.

    But damn, did you see all of those squad cars? They must have driven them in from the next county.

    • Since this is Blacksburg, I’m sure the local PD is taking no chances. Ninety-nine out of one-hundred times it will be a BS call. All it takes is one time.

    • “the cop was reasonable and polite” I’m glad you said that. There seems to be a lot of contempt for police officers in this thread. A lot of post about recording them and such, like they’re just waiting around every corner to frame someone for something. Has everyone here had bad experiences with the police or something. The ones I have had contact with were always polite and reasonable. My personal opinion, most only stop being polite when you give them a reason too.

      • Lawyers and cops get along like cobras and mongooses, or mongeese or mongi, whatever. So yeah, I don’t trust cops, but I saw what I saw and that LEO was cool. He can shoot with me anytime. But not at me.

  13. Any idea if the police ever attempt to educate the 911 caller after such a situation? Otherwise the caller probably thinks they did the right thing and will continue to make such calls wasting police resources and causing other citizens to be harassed. (There will always be some people who will continue to use the police to do their harassment by proxy no matter what they are told about rights and laws.)

    • There will always be some people who will continue to use the police to do their harassment by proxy

      True. Fortunately, Mayor Bloomberg’s term ends in January.

  14. I have yet to have anybody convince me of any merits of Open Carry, if it is your only legal avenue then ok, but outside that it is counterproductive, look at CA and what open carry crowd got gun owners there.

    • This is just my personal experience, others may disagree. OC seems to be more of a look at me, I’m making a statment thing rather than about actually being able to defend yourself. That’s just my 2 cent, keep the change.

    • Speaking as someone who has been carrying concealed for 20 + years. I think Open Carry being legal, helps in the unfortunate event that your gun is accidentally exposed, like if you’re reaching for something on the top shelf at the supermarket, or in the event that your shirt inadvertently gets caught on the wrong side of the gun and you end up walking around in public with your gun exposed. (I actually know a guy that had that happen) Either way, there certainly shouldn’t be any punishment if someone happens to call the police, because the sight of your gun scares them. And at the very least, I think open carry helps to desensitize the public and the police, when seeing someone legally carrying a gun.

      And I would be blaming the voters in CA for what happened there, not the Open Carry Advocates. When a society elects people with socialistic ideas, don’t be surprised when those ideas become law.

      • Gen4 makes an excellent point about open carry, because the two states that I’m always in will arrest you if you “FLASH” your gun by mistake. They don’t like guns and if you screw up you’ll never carry again.

        • Had a similar problem once. Was in a check out line with an officer behind me. He nudged me with his elbow and kinda looked down at my side. I noticed that I was printing. He just said “need to watch that”. He could have been a d#*k about it, but wasn’t. In my state printing is “brandishing a firearm”. Basicaly if someone sees you printing you’re charged the same as if you pulled it out and pointed it at someone. I don’t think an open carry laws is neccessary to fix the problem here, just need to redifine what “brandishing a firearm” really means.

  15. Here’s a merit of open carry: some hotheaded idiot may think twice when he comes to confront and attack you over nothing, thinking he’ll kick your ass around the block.

    Concealed? They don’t know you’re armed and you may have to use it if you’re getting the hell beat out of you and your head bashed into the sidewalk.

  16. I’d be willing to bet that most folks who raise the most hell about their rights have never done a damn thing to protect those rights. Join the military, do a tour, come back and bitch all you want. What??????????? That’s for someone else to do??? That’s what I thought.

    • The military protects our rights? Last time I checked, they were protecting the interests of the big banksters and their cronies, enriching them at our expense.

      • Wow Henry, you seem to have seriouse issues with anyone in a uniform. Police, military, or whatever you hate ’em all. Granted, the comments by Joseph are a little off topic, but our troops don’t get to decide were there shipped off to. That’s up to elected offials (or people who weasle their way in). I don’t know anyone who even thought about “big banksters” when deciding if they were going into the military. Those people did what they thought was best for the country, and yes to protect you and you’re rights.

        • I have issues with anyone who dresses up in a state-issued costume and then assumes to have some say in how other people live their lives based on the “authority” of that costume. I have respect for those individuals in the police or military who recognize that their authority is derived from the consent of those they serve. The trouble is that there aren’t many in those professions who think like that. Some, but not many.

          I also recognize that a military man doesn’t get a say in where he’s deployed to or that he even understands the true motivations behind any particular war… however, there comes a point where their indoctrination and brainwashing is no longer an excuse for carrying out immoral and illegal foreign conquests.

        • The truth is, the american soldier has done nothing to protect our freedom since 1945…

  17. This kind of silent treatment only makes them wonder if your a nut. My experience with Police officers generally is, respond to them civily and reasonably and generally you will have no problem. There are particular officers that are trouble and the less contact the better but this person could have simply reassured the officer you were just out for a walk and mean no harm and yes, your about asserting your rights.

    • Exactly. For some reason a lot of people here think you shouldn’t speak to an officer or even look at them because there just out to get you. My experience has been, if you speak to them in a civil tone and show a little respect, they’ll do the same for you. This guy didn’t remain silent to protect himself in the court room. He did it to test the officer. Silence CAN be used to provoke someone. If someones talking to you, and you don’t answer them, it gets a reaction from them. Yes there are bad cops out there, but every group of people has bad ones. This officer kept his cool and did the right thing.

        • Yes, and a police officer responding to someone with a gun “freaking people out” is entitle to an answer. If this guy didn’t do anything wrong, he should have simply said “I didn’t do anything wrong, I want my lawyer and I’m envoking my right to remain silent”. THEN he should have STFU. Instead he put a camera on the officer and stood there like an idiot. That just makes him look crazy. Things like that make every gun owner look crazy.

        • If you think police are ever entitled to an answer, then you have a fundamentally flawed view of the relationship between a free man and his public servant.

        • So if a cop sees someone break into a parked car he is not entitled to an answer?

        • Only if it’s his car. Otherwise he can gather evidence and detain based on reasonable suspicion or arrest based on probable cause. But that “suspect” cannot be compelled to be a witness against himself. The officer is not OWED an answer to any question he asks.

        • Very true. I’m just saying there is a lot of anti-LEO sentiment on here. Just being nice will actually go a long way with law enforcement. While it’s within your rights to not say anything ever, it may not help in the long run. For example if someone starts a fight with you and you plead the 5th, that could get you arrested for affray where you would otherwise be a free man. There’s a time to plead the 5th and a time to realize keeping your mouth shut just to keep it shut is counterproductive.

        • I totally agree with you. My contention is toward those who think police are owed an answer to their questions and those who think jecm21088 is a “dick” for keeping quiet.

        • To be fair it is kind of a dick thing to do. Put yourself in the shoes of the responding officers. All they know is what dispatch told them. A few words to eliminate any fears they may have and that would be a quicker solution than anything else. Even the cliche “I’m just exercising my rights” line at least clues them in as to what is going on. Take into account that they have been criticized non-stop since the VA tech shootings and the fact that event will forever be in the back of their minds.

        • So if the police get a call about a guy on the streets with a gun freaking people out, they shouldn’t try to determine if the guy is a danger to the public? As far as being a witness against himself, if no crime was commited then he can’t be. But first the officers have to determine weather a crime actually happend. To do that, they have to ask questions and get answers. And in this particular video, it’s not so much that the guy refused to talk to the police, he has every right to do that, but just the way he did it. I think you and I are just gonna have to agree to disagree on this. I honestly didn’t plan on spending this much time on one post today or getting this into it.

  18. I loved how the officer derisively sneers “…for your rights” while wearing that shit-eating grin. Classy.

  19. Cops are human. I thought the LEO actions were with in reasonable expectations. He saw the camera and read out loud his take on the situation. Probably thought about how this behavior, though lawful, created a huge hassle ( especially in Blacksburg) but sent the guy on his way. Without any trumped up BS.

  20. In Louisiana, it’s not uncommon to carry a shotgun, rifle or handgun openly in rural areas. I have never been questioned about it either rural or on the infrequent times I carried in the city.

  21. Whether you have a concealed carry license or choose to open carry really isn’t the point. The real point is that even when you are legally carrying, if you are in the unfortunate position to have used your weapon, you are going to have to deal with the police on some level. They have to do their job. Firing your weapon and even killing someone may be in self-defense, but this does not guarantee that you won’t be taken into custody or even charged with a crime.

    Be prepared. Know your rights and know how to defend yourself in court as well as on the street.

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