“While leaving a restaurant with a friend recently, I noticed a group of 15-20 people walking down the street carrying flags,” Courtney Caldwell writes at skepchick.org. “From a distance, they almost looked like Confederate flags. I live in Texas, so this was disappointing, but fairly unsurprising.” The lead for Machine Gun Misogynists: How Open Carry Texas Tried To Silence Me leaves the impression that Ms. Caldwell wishes the Open Carry flags she spied from a distance were Confederate Flags. Ms. Caldwell’s misplaced disappointment indicates that she considers Texans racist. By extension, despite the fact of the matter, the Open Carry advocates are racists, too. So, basically, she’s off to a flying start, ad hominem wise . . .
I looked at the flag and saw the words, “Open Carry Texas,” which search results told me is “an organization dedicated to the safe and legal carry of firearms openly in the State of Texas.” I’ve lived in Texas for over six years, but that doesn’t make the rampant conservatism and gun-obsession any less disgusting. I’ve also never been in such close proximity to so many guns, and I was triggered – I felt helpless and extremely anxious.
merriam-webster.com defines “rampant” as something that is “growing quickly and in a way that is difficult to control.” As someone who’s been living in the liberal heart of Texas (Austin) for a year I see no evidence that conservatism is growing. But it is here. Conservatism in Texas I mean. No surprise there. Texas is a conservative state.
Ms. Caldwell’s improper use of the word rampant highlights the sense of anger and (dare I say it) paranoia established by her lead. The term “gun-obsession” seals the deal. The average Texan isn’t gun obsessed. They’re gun aware. Gun tolerant. Gun equipped. By damning the Lone Star State’s firearms-friendly folk as “disgusting” Caldwell leaves no doubt that she’s got severe gun-related issues.
“I felt helpless and extremely anxious,” she admits. There you go: hoplophobia. Courtney Caldwell has irrational fear of guns. This is hardly the first time we’ve encountered the condition. I wrote about a full-blown case at an open carry rally in San Antonio. [Click here to read.] But that Mom Demanding Action for Gun Sense in America (or some such thing) was a relatively mild case compared to Ms. Caldwell.
I tweeted about the event, despite the fact that I was visibly shaking & upset, and I tried to continue going about my evening out with my friend. In one of my tweets, I used the Twitter handle of the group that organized the rally, Open Carry Texas. I naively expected some semblance of professionalism out of the group’s official Twitter account as I voiced my opinion, but instead was met with the following:
That’s some major anger right there. Understandable, given Ms. Caldwell’s blatantly obvious hoplohobia. But you’d hope she’d have a clear enough head to give a little respect to Open Carry Texas (OCT) for not returning her broadside with an equal and opposite F-bomb. And calm down. If so, you’d hope in vain.
I don’t want to reproduce Ms. Caldwell and Co.’s entire, edited tweet war with OCT. Suffice it to say, OCT supporters eventually retaliated from the gutter. As did, apparently, other less-than-polite pro-gunners. While I don’t approve of intemperate remarks to antis, when someone waves a red rag in front of a bull you can’t really blame the bull when he charges.
The harassment shown above doesn’t include the Facebook post they made about me, or any of the harassers that they sent my way. For example, this guy who says I’m not part of his dating pool, but still seems oddly obsessed with me anyway. It doesn’t include the guy who said he’d continue to exercise his “right” to threaten me with or without police intervention, the guy who said he’d send Anonymous after me, the guy who told me to kill myself, the guy whose profile states he lives about 20 minutes from me and whose Twitter handle was literally “@ibuildbombs” (his profile has since gone private), or the ableist guy who likened liberalism to a mental disorder. And that list is hardly comprehensive either.
The irony (a.k.a. hypocrisy) here is obvious. A woman who openly and viciously antagonizes open carry supporters plays the victim when her targets take the bait. It’s so obvious, in fact, an anti-open carry commentator under her post (D506) felt obliged to point it out.
Wait, you called the police on a group you knew were engaged in lawful activity then tweeted them to say so while calling them white privileged assholes and you’re claiming that was harassment of you because they didn’t respond professionally? Honestly, their first couple of tweets were incredibly tame next to yours.
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t agree with Open Carry. The follow up hate you’ve gotten and will get isn’t okay. But calling the police on someone because you dislike them is the definition of harassment.
Strategically, trolling can be an effective move. Psychologically, it betrays classic passive aggressive behavior. Wikipedia:
Passive-aggressive may also refer to a person who refuses to acknowledge their own aggression (in the sense of “agency”), and who manages that denial by projecting it. This type of person insists on seeing themselves as the blameless victims in all situations.
In other words, passive aggressive individuals refuse to take responsibility for their actions. Which is [the hidden but main reason] why Ms. Caldwell is so upset that Texas 911 caller info is public record.
The fact of the matter is, I shouldn’t have to worry about any of this. Women like me shouldn’t need to fear for their safety and privacy simply for daring to be a woman on the internet with opinions. We shouldn’t need to worry about whether making a legal 911 call will cause further negative ramifications. Because of this organized harassment campaign, I had to hand over the keys to my social media to a couple of friends, lock down my social media accounts, change my number, and ask my husband & friends to monitor the social media feeds of my harassers. None of that should have been necessary.
Someone who hurls the f-bomb at people online isn’t just “a woman on the internet with opinions.” It’s someone spoiling for a fight. Someone with an intense and intensely dangerous desire for martyrdom. In Ms. Caldwell’s case I reckon that urge springs from two sources: whatever psychological baggage she’s carrying around and hoplohobia.
The former is none of my business and the latter is nothing but my business. People who are morbidly afraid of firearms work to curtail Americans’ natural, civil and Constitutionally protected right to keep and bear arms. Regardless of their person psychology, they must be converted where possible and thwarted in all cases.
NOTE: All ad hominem attack on Ms. Caldwell will be deleted. Persistent flamers will be permanently banned.