Doing Nothing Wrong

I wrote about the Radnor Lake Rambo for Pith today. And I’ve been thinking a lot about how, if his crusade is not about publicly escalating his one-man terror-fest until he works up the guts to shoot someone, it’s about demanding the right to be thought of as harmless, no matter what social cues he’s giving off.

You see this come up in other situations, where men get mad when they know they’re just being nice guys by doing something–say following a girl home (to make sure she makes it), or offering to buy a woman a drink after she’s made it clear she no longer wants to talk to you–that sets off the “this guy is trouble” red flag. Like they’re really pissed that they’re not being thought of as harmless.

There are other instances, but you get the gist. And people try to make the argument that, hey, you might be harmless, but you’re doing this red-flag activity and we are not psychic so we have no way of knowing if the guy on campus with a gun is a good guy or a bad guy or if the guy following us home is a good guy or a rapist or if the woman flirting with our partners is friendly or has ill-intentions.

But you can’t indulge in mildly bad, scary behavior and still be treated like you’re harmless. That’s a really weird thing to ask of the world.

5 thoughts on “Doing Nothing Wrong

  1. I may have told this story here already (I tell it a lot), but I saw the guy on one of his escapades. I was crossing Charlotte on my way home to the parking lot after work, and he was walking down Charlotte with his rifle on his back and his body armor. As soon as I realized what he was carrying I figured he was that guy. Maybe it’s just my perception, but as he walked by me I felt like he was giving me this challenging look that was daring me to say something or call the police. It took me a couple of minutes to make up my mind about calling the police but I ended up doing it. Metro PD called me several months later and I had an interview with a detective from their Professional Accountability Office because of the lawsuit he had filed.

    To me the most sinister thing about the whole encounter (other than the challenging look he gave me) was that he had a silencer on the rifle. That speaks to sinister intent, or possibly some sort of mental problem since a silent gun is pointless when you carry it prominently through a crowded area.

  2. This is the first time I’ve had strangers contact me concerned for my safety over something I wrote at Pith.

    Your encounter with him explains that to me.

  3. W – wait, maybe I am misinformed – I thought silencers were illegal. Are they not?

    In some twisted way, I don’t really worry about people who walk around out in the open. I worry more about the person at home stewing over this/that/the other who is quietly and calculatingly making plans of destruction.

  4. Yeah Beth, silencers are illegal, and they arrested him for it. Turns out he has a federal permit for it, but he hassled them and didn’t want to get it out to show them. He tried to turn it back on the PD but the judge ruled they acted reasonably. Here’s the story about his day in court… http://www.tennessean.com/story/news/crime/2014/08/27/case-dismissed-gun-rights-advocate/14712313/

    The time I saw him was in July 2013 and his court date was mid-August 2014 so at least he had the sense to stay home until he got his day in court.

    Aunt B, I wasn’t personally afraid of him per se. He was obviously daring me to call the PD or talk to him, but I didn’t get the sense that he would be violent beyond the usual warning bell of someone carrying a rifle. When I saw him I didn’t feel the need to run away, but I didn’t cross to his side of the street until he had moved on. If that makes any sense.

  5. I’m glad you wrote that, and he is an asshole. He’s like the grown-up dangerous version of the dude who stands really close to you at the playground:”What? I’m not touching you! I’m not touching you!” And then if you push him, he’ll yell for the teacher. Something like the Westboro folks. Itching for a confrontation, because of some fucked-up reason in his brain, convinced of his righteousness, and disliked and regarded as pathetic by pretty much everyone.

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