Some of you might remember my early posts on tactical attire. I myself had forgotten about them–until a few days ago. Here, then, is the reason I remembered…
When I first walked into the courtroom, I had to find a place to sit among the other prospective jurors. Not being accustomed to strolling into courtrooms filled with silent and disgruntled people, I naturally looked for the most convenient place to sit down as soon as possible. There were easily accessible openings on the front row where I had come in, so I quickly made up my mind to sit there somewhere.
It was only afterwards that I realized my quick decision of where to sit on that front row was based on some rather subtle “tribal plumage“. At the near end of the pew there was plenty of space on either side of a youngish man with an unhappy intenseness about him–on the other end there was a generous opening between a short old man who looked like it was just about time for his mid-morning nap and a middle-aged man resignedly–almost irritably–playing with his smart phone. This latter situation is where I located myself, with hardly a glance at the half-full rows behind.
Why there? Even as I sat down, I remember thinking of the middle-aged gentleman, “This man owns guns.” Later, I–and everyone else in the courtroom–found out that this was indeed so.
But how did I know? I think it had something to do with the brown subdued tactical pants, shaved head topped by big black sunglasses, and his general carriage and demeanor. This was in contrast to the tattoos, narrow beard, and disgruntled intensity of the younger man. And the older man–well, he was dressed like an old man–plain, neutral colored button-up shirt, trousers, and a wide belt over his girth. And big glasses and hearing aids. (We all found out later that this octogenarian had a pretty sharp mind, even if he did not hear very well…)
That was it. The non-tactical polo shirt only demonstrated the middle-aged man’s generation. The smart phone was quite ambiguous. Though sporting no biker or military-inspired vests (I think I remember one of those there)–no cowboy boots or hats or Western shirts (I saw some of those)–no gun-toting paraphenalia or NRA logos, I knew this man was a gun owner. The subtle air of subtle “tribal plumage” was all that I had to hazard a guess as to this man’s character–sometimes that is enough–but sometimes it is not. Appearances often lie.
So, why was it that I was more comfortable sitting next to the man whom I was sure owned guns? (I just realized that I left that out!) Without going into a full history, I can only say–rather simply–that, in my young life, I have yet to encounter anything but respectfulness and integrity from the run-of-the-mill, law-abiding American owner of firearms. So why would I choose not to sit next to tactical over tattoos?