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Cammies in Public

Cammies in Public


Leroy Pyle

We in the Second Amendment activist community are accustomed to the admonishment against wearing camouflage garb to a public gathering. Nowadays, any notice of a gun owner or firearms rights demonstration or press conference encourages participants to wear proper attire and behave in a civilized manner, and specifically warns against wearing certain clothes. Cammies are high on the list, but T-shirts with popular slogans and pictures are also often included. We have learned by experience that a gathering of 1000 in support of our issues will be reported in the press using a picture of the one guy who shows up in cammies. You can be guaranteed of a lead picture if the guy is fat, wearing an NRA cap, and one of "those" T-shirts.

What is it about cammies that are wrong? How about those T-shirts? Aren't they a favorite at shooting ranges, gun shows and on the Internet "for sale" pages? Does that individual not have a right to wear the clothes of his choice? Do cammies make the man, dictate his actions, or cause him to perform in some unnatural manner? Just what is it about this right of free expression that is so offensive?

Actually, it is the perception that concerns us. Camouflage garb is used by hunters, warriors, and other people with guns. Sadly, these words, the clothing we might wear, and the tools we respect as sporting or life-saving have become "trigger words", associated with negative conduct or opinion. Pardon the pun. Common sense dictates that a public display of this garb will produce a negative response from the press.

Being politically correct has a place in The Second Amendment Arena, right? I am aware that having "PC" and "2AM" in the same sentence appears as an oxymoron, but there are many times when common sense dictates a course of action or choice of words. Wearing cammies in public is an example we can all recognize as one of those times.

Because "common sense" is often based on an individual's definition, I believe that we will continue to lose the political and media campaign against firearms ownership unless we begin to expand on our effort to be perceived in a more positive light. I am convinced that the words we use in our everyday contacts, on the Internet, and in our writings, can project the very same image that is conveyed with the wearing of cammies.

It was with this precept in mind that I penned a recently published article, "Just Following Orders," and as a result, received more than the average number of comments and inquiries, and a very lively discussion in the e-mail list. The comments ranged from supportive to the criticism that I was condoning the police conduct at Waco and Ruby Ridge, and one participant on the list got fired up enough to call a cop on the list a Nazi. I was surprised at some of the hostility behind the unfounded accusations that I was condoning unconstitutional activities. It seemed that some read nothing more than the title and came to their own pre-supposed conclusions.

It was very obvious, based on the majority of the responses and subsequent exchanges, that gun owners share my belief that police officers play a big part in this issue of "gun control" and desperately want assurance that the law enforcement community will support their individual rights. I am confident that the majority of officers are positively pro-gun and have developed a website at to promote the views of anyone with experience in the criminal justice system willing to share their pro-gun views and experiences. I encourage you to point your cop friends to that site.

You can imagine the difficulty in attracting new participants to the discussion when the harsh, anti-cop rhetoric that is prevalent appears. The point of that article was intended to be similar to the admonishment against wearing cammies to a public gathering. I cannot afford the luxury of venting on each and every evil in today's world. If you consider that my goal is to get more cops active in the gun rights arena, you can appreciate that it requires a reasoned approach, and although not much different than approaching any citizen with the topic of gun control, cops are conditioned to be wary of extreme and divisive rhetoric. To put it bluntly, they get paid to listen to people yelling all day, and don't particularly care to hear it during their personal time. So, you might imagine that when I invite a cop to a meeting of gun owners, or into a firearms forum, the Nazi/cop comparison doesn't go over well. Again, comparing the admonishment against the use of such invectives to the positive tactic of avoiding cammies in public.

I certainly do not intend to imply that there is not a time and place for sincere activism, spoken from the heart, and using a variety of necessary methods. There can be some good sense made in explaining the potential of gradually escalating government abuses using law enforcement to violate individual and constitutional rights. History is replete with examples, although the more current examples at Waco and Ruby Ridge should suffice. JPFO,, does a great job of comparing current US firearms laws with the German laws leading to the disarmament of entire populations and the eventual annihilation of millions of citizens. In the case of JPFO, they have the credentials, and have taken the time to lay a foundation for their statements.

Without the background information that an organization such as JPFO has compiled over the years, without laying a foundation, many gun rights people casually parrot excerpts from various writings in their everyday conversations. I think they forget that many hours of research and editing went into carefully crafting the piece in a way that builds to create a perfect fiery crescendo with the perfect phrase. When speaking with others in the Second Amendment community, the phrase is recognized as representative of the entire article, and very often the well-known writer or organization.

Outside the community, however, the catch phrase of choice can be as out of place as cammies or a T-shirt displaying "Shoot Them ALL, Let God Sort Them Out" at a coat and tie event.

I can appreciate a vigorous approach to Second Amendment rights. Without an extreme right to balance the influence of the extreme left, there would be no honorable "middle" where law enforcement can operate with respect. Unfortunately that makes the cop a likely target by all those working to swing that middle area one way or the other. As my good friend Joe Horn put it, "They view us, American citizens, cops, as the enemy. What's new? The Left calls us Pigs, the Right calls us Nazis. Way kewl ... Seig! oing, SEIG, oink, SEIG, oink..."

Where do I define that middle? Where do I draw the line? That is the topic of another article found on our website.

My friends and I at The Second Amendment Police Department,, are working to dispel the myth that cops are anti-gun. As career police officers, we are very well aware that cops ARE gun owners and share the respect for firearms as the valuable personal defense tool that they are. I would not expect to modify the behavior of the more extreme among us, but only caution and encourage the majority against the negative tactics that are all too familiar on ABC, NBC, and CBS.

There are times when government abuses, with, or without police intervention, must be addressed. The Second Amendment Police Department will join you in the condemnation of abusive government or police tactics when they occur. We will join you in the condemnation of any and all "police state" tactics that seek to remove the community identification of the local officers in favor of an ominous federal umbrella.

Our goal at The Second Amendment PD is to attract American police officers to our cause and, hopefully, to participation in the fight for individual rights. Our language and ideas will be as unique as might be expected in a medical, seniors, or women's forum, but certainly united in the preservation of Second Amendment Rights.

Perception becomes reality in these days of instant communications and competition for the news. I hope we can agree that there are many times away from the traditional news conference when it is reasonable to avoid the words and actions that we recognize as negative or detrimental, and having an affect similar to that of wearing cammies in public!