Are You a Gray Man?
Exercise your rights, but do not flaunt them.
In contemporary Internet lingo, a gray man is typically a prepper who seeks to be unobtrusive and to blend in. He is 'gray' in that he tries not to call attention to himself, his beliefs, and his stock of guns, ammo, food, and other survival supplies that he hopes will see him and his family through a collapse of the social order. His 'bug-out bag' is at the ready should he need to split for his hideaway. He worries whether he can make his escape without drawing attention to himself.
It is the old Aesop tale of the Ant and Grasshopper revived and updated. The Grasshopper spends the summer in the pleasures of the moment, dancing and singing, giving no thought to the future. Comes the winter he must beg the Ant for provender, whereupon the Ant delivers a stern rebuke, telling the Grasshopper to dance the winter away.
The latter-day Grasshopper does not beg; he demands, in concert with others of his shiftless ilk. He cannot be reached by any rebukes or sermonizing. He is a dangerous hombre who poses a lethal threat. The latter-day Ant appreciates the threat and seeks to meet it by being both armed and unobtrusive.
He who provokes an evil-doer bears some responsibility for his evil-doing.
The gray man is the opposite of the 'tacti-cool' dude who foolishly flaunts his preparedness and advertises his tools. His truck sports NRA, Sig Sauer, and other decals. A bumper sticker reads, "I'm your huckleberry." The 'tacti-cool' dude carries open or with inadequate concealment. His T-shirt is tight so that you can admire his marvellous pectorals, but he 'prints' like crazy. If questioned, he insists on his Second Amendment rights. It is his right to do so, but nonetheless imprudent. 'Liberals' have no respect for the rights he invokes, and there is no reaching them by any appeal to reason.
Imprudent advertising leads to pointless conversations and worse. Years ago, a man questioned my open carry deep in the Superstition Wilderness, claiming that guns are illegal in a National Park. I pointed out that we were in a National Forest. I don't think I got through to the idiot. But I did marvel at his foolishness in arguing with an armed man in the middle of nowhere.
There are foolish people who don't know what 'brandish' means. They see a man with a gun strapped to his belt and they call the cops claiming that some guy is 'brandishing' a firearm. This can lead to an unpleasant encounter with law enforcement. The wise man, understanding human nature, avoids contacts with cops, knowing full well their propensity for arrogance and overreach. Power corrupts. Power suborns moral sense. I say this as a hard-assed law and order conservative who believes in the death penalty. I believe that said penalty is not only morally permissible, but also in some cases morally obligatory.
And then there are the bad guys who, seeing an armed man, will calculate whether they can take his weapon from him. Or they may be planning an attack of some sort. The armed citizen, seen to be armed, will be the first target.
So I advise a certain grayness in these and related matters. Exercise your rights, but do not flaunt them. Stand on principles, but don't sacrifice prudence to principles.