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Image Matters.

While many of us are passionate about our God-given rights, there are times where actions can be taken too far and become counterproductive. KFOR reported on November 6 about one such incident in Oklahoma City, where a man decided to act as a self-appointed "Second Amendment Auditor." KFOR reported that Timothy Harper began recording himself open carrying at different private businesses to capture how they reacted to him being armed.

Harper also did this in public parks and claimed in the videos, which he publicly posted to his social media, that he was conducting "Second Amendment Audits." In one particular incident, nervous citizens called police to Hafer Park, where Harper was conducting one of his so-called audits. Harper ended up interacting with the Edmond police officers who were called to the area, and the entire incident was recorded. Body cam footage from one of the officers show the police asking Harper, "Are you video recording this to see what type of rise you get out of people when they call?"

Harper replies, "Yes this is an audit.... We are going to see if you guys respect the Second Amendment and how you respond to someone carrying a pistol." To Harper's credit, the interaction with the police did not escalate, and there weren't any arrests made, but he continued doing similar things, recently carrying a rifle into a restaurant in Oklahoma City. That apparently was the last straw for fellow gun-rights proponents in the region: The Oklahoma Second Amendment Association (OK2A) publicly disavowed Harper's behavior.

"While we support a person's right to keep and bear arms, we acknowledge the right may stop at the discretion of the private property business owner. Mr. Harper is NOT a member of OK2A and has never had any authority to use or represent OK2A at any time. His actions to draw attention to himself while escalating tensions for profit of a social media platform is uncalled for, unwise, and does not hold to the values of the Board of Directors of OK2A or the majority of Oklahomans. His claim to any such authority with OK2A is FALSE," the organization wrote in a press release. OK2A also stated that they've asked him to stop engaging in this behavior. "OK2A explained in its press release that ... Mr. Harper's continued antics and disregard for private property rights, as well as his needless escalation of concerns and tensions with citizens and law enforcement, continue to draw a negative response to the protection of our rights to keep and bear arms." OK2A also banned Harper from joining the organization.

While Harper may be a well-meaning supporter of the Second Amendment, his story is a reminder that we need to be careful about the image we present to the public. Our political enemies are desperate to paint us as dangerous and mentally unstable threats to public safety, and we shouldn't do anything that appears to reinforce those claims.

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Title Annotation:EXERCISING THE RIGHT
Author:Krey, Patrick
Publication:The New American
Date:Jan 20, 2020
Words:487
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