I took our dog, Olive, out for a walk and began to jog around the park near our home. As I turned on the street adjacent to the park in the distance about 300 feet away I noticed three young men in dark clothes walking on the same side of street toward me. Their formation and manner of walk looked strange, then I noticed that it looks that they are carrying some guns. There were no other people in their vicinity which made it a bit suspicious to me. Case of San Bernardino came to my mind. There is a school at the end of the park in the direction I was jogging and next to it is a Jewish temple. But, they were walking away from both and today is Sunday, no school. They were not in a hurry, lumbering from side to side walking. Getting a few yards closer, yes they were carrying assault rifles on their shoulders with big magazines in them. They did not look Islamist to me. No resemblance whatsoever.
I just finished the surgery on my eyes, taking out the last cataract about 10 days ago and my eyes can see the distance very good. Last few days I have a smile on my face for my new vision, enjoying it before it all gets ordinary. I was sure that these guys are the gun lovers who want to demonstrate their prowess.
Without slowing down I continued to jog toward them leaving enough room for the three of them to pass. I kept smiling, looking at them and mildly shaking my head as someone who is enjoying a new scenery, wow this is novel! As I got within 20 feet of them, they began jamming against each other one going behind the other, as small kids caught in some kind of misbehavior seeing an adult. It looked like no one wanted to be in front having to face me first, shuffling one behind the other. They left a big gap between themselves and me. Right before passing them I raised my hand waving, with a big smile I said "Hello!" loudly. With a shy look they responded in a low voice "Hi!" Each lower than the other.
At the end of the park by the school there was a state police SUV. I jogged straight toward it. Before reaching it, I noticed a Seattle Police cruiser further down near the Jewish temple. The officer rolled his window down and gave me a big smile returning mine. He looked like he expected my question.
"Is this legal?" pointing down the street toward the three guys walking away.
"It is the state open carry law, but we are monitoring them."
"It is funny, their mannerism and behavior is like misbehaved kids" I said.
He gave a bigger smile. We thanked each other and I continued with my jog.
I thought I should have taken a picture of them. Of course I should have asked their permission first. That is the civil way. It would have been good publicity for their exercise of open carry right in my blog. How about if I stood with them and have taken one for my blog. After all, they are our fellow citizens. I touched my pocket and I did not have my cell phone. Well, next time, they probably were beyond the park by now, I told myself.
Uncontrollably a flow of conversation ran through my mind, one that I could have had with them. By then it was only a one way conversation.
"How are you doing fellows? It looks you have chosen a nice Seattle day, a rainy day, to demonstrate your right to open carry and you are exercising it mighty fine. You, I mean all three of you look like upstanding citizens. This is nice! This is very nice!"
"But what do you think about people who are not used to this scene! They probably call the police. These days, anybody who calls with a concern about guns, police have to respond on mass to clarify the situation and make sure everything is kosher. Don't you think so?"
"Let's assume there is a terrorist shootout two miles away from here, right now. Haven't you tied up law enforcement resources for the exercise of your rights?"
"I am also concerned for your safety. Aren't you afraid that someone, from one of those houses across the street, a sharp shooter, shoots all three of you. Bang! Bang! Bang! You know a sharp shooter can do that before you have a chance to say uncle. He can claim that he thought you were Islamist terrorists and he was trying to protect the neighborhood."
"You can do better! This is a very safe neighborhood. Why don't you give me your phone number and I will call you when you are really needed. When a real fireworks is on display, a real shootout. That is safer for everybody!"