Meet George Donnellyâ€”He Wants to Show You His Gun
Open Carry Crusader George Donnelly (YouTube)
George Donnelly, of Plymouth, Pennsylvania, is a blogger, a gun owner, and an open carry enthusiast. “Open carry,” for those of you who are not gun fashionistas, is the movement to “normalize” carrying holstered handguns in public. This practice is more or less legal in 43 states, although it is prohibited in some towns and cities within those states. Plymouth is not one of those towns. George Donnelly carries openly. Or tries to.
George penned a recent blog entitled Plymouth, PA Cops Assault Me and Terrorize My Toddler Son Right Outside My Home about a recent episode in which he brought his young son to the park, carrying his holstered pistol in plain view.
A woman who George described as an “older lady walking an angry little dog” called the police upon witnessing a man with a gun in the company of a small boy. Now, you might not call the police in such a circumstance. You might conclude it was an off-duty police officer, or you might think open carry is entirely normal—you might. But when it comes right down to common sense, if you opt to carry a gun in public you might almost expect it to happen.
If you are trying to decide how you feel about people carrying holstered weapons to the park with young children, you might be asking yourself: what are these people thinking? What are they like? What are they trying to prove? George, it turns out, offers a glimpse into the mindset of an open carry enthusiast.
George volunteers that the reason he is carrying is that “my son is simply too precious to put at risk.” [Boldface his.] By this you know that George is all about family values. His son is too precious to be left unprotected, as a member of the general public might be. In fact, you might conclude that his son is more precious than, say, your son, or daughter [Boldface mine.]. To twist the meaning of an old term, the preciosity of George’s son could, in fact exceed that of your children by a pretty extreme order of magnitude, once you get familiar with the whole open carry thing. You see, you just rely on the police. George has a better way.
Thugs, Thugs, Everywhere
George lets us know, right off, in the first line of his blog, that police are thugs. [Boldface his.] And so it follows, why would you entrust your precious child to a scheme whereby public safety is in the hands of thugs, when you can just do it yourself?
When an officer arrives on the scene, he points out that George is carrying a gun. George, as you might expect, points out that “open carry is legal” [boldface his] in Pennsylvania. Then he asks the cop for his badge number and bond number. [Boldface mine.] Now I’m thinking George must be pretty savvy. He knows to ask for a bond number. I have never even heard of a bond number.
The officer, or thug, provides neither. He merely shows George his badge.
Good enough for me, but then you never know—could be counterfeit—despite the Crown Victoria. Nonetheless, the cop and George are not getting off on the right foot. George is miffed that the cop has not complied. He has not provided the coveted bond number. To George, this means, as he states, that the cop “was unwilling to prove he is a cop.”
Then, get this, the officer asks George for some identification. George responds, as you might expect, with the old stand-by, “I asked him if I was legally required to give it.”
But it turns out George had a good reason:
Looking back, had I reached for it I might be in jail or worse right now since my pistol was on the same side as my wallet.
So, if you are packing, that would be an excellent reason not to surrender your ID. What was that cop thinking?
George continues to decode the discrepant situation:
My son immediately sensed that something was very wrong and hugged my right leg. I felt threatened by the way the man moved, too. I comforted him with my right arm which made this guy very nervous. He demanded I stop moving my hands. I put them up. [Boldface, boldface.]
So you have the wallet, the toddler, and the gun, all on the right side. A problem, at least in “the man’s” eyes. Because most police officers are not killed in the line of duty by knives, or bombs, or what have you. They are killed by handguns. Or, as the NRA would be quick to clarify, men with handguns. (Because guns don’t…you know.) Anyway, the next thing you know, George has his hands handcuffed behind his back and his gun is taken away.
This must be where the” assault” and the “terror” mentioned in the title of George’s post kick in. Because the cop had to touch him to put those cuffs on. And we may imagine that the toddler might have been terrified by the confrontation. One might even imagine that George himself was not a little terrorized at this point, given that he had lost his gun and all and his child was so very precious, more precious than average, and so on. So I guess, in George’s eyes, this would make the police officer something of a terrorist. [Boldface mine.]
The cop then, in George’s words (and typeface), “removed my wallet!” George pointed out on no uncertain terms that he had not authorized an illegal search under the Fourth Amendment and then he—and this may have been unfortunate—“demanded his identification again.”
Now, small towns like Plymouth, contrary to what you (and George) might believe, don’t always have an excess of crime going around, so the next thing you know, “five other cops showed up” [BF his.] George pointed out “how wasteful this was,” but, curiously, the police officers seemed to be in no mood for cost-cutting just then.
He told me to shut up and stop talking several times. In response to which I asked if he was also violating my first amendment right as well as my fourth. [Boldface.]
…I did take advantage of their pauses in speaking and their questions and statements to refute their weak justifications, guilt trips and other bullshit. [Boldface.]
George had things to say, like what about the First Amendment, and these cops just would not let him speak. They wouldn’t let him talk about open carry, about their bond numbers—nothing. It was a shutout. Cops – 6, George – 0.
Officer, er, Thug Lacy
Sometimes that’s just the way it works. Cops don’t always have good bedside manners. I have pointed this out to my son who is in his twenties—and he doesn’t even carry a gun. I have pointed out that if he is ever stopped by police, that is not the exact moment to try to prove a point, or get all up in the officer’s grill, that there will be time to sort things out later, that police have high-stress jobs and sometimes, sometimes, they make mistakes. Big ones. So go lightly when stopped. That was my message.
“Stop Treading on me!”
George meanwhile was all up in their grills. “…demanding they return my wallet and cease violating me…” And that “violating” part was where the “assault” part gets tied in, as far as I can tell—although when I hear somebody say, “He violated me,” I’m thinking something else. And I think the officers themselves surmised that George was thinking about something else because, according to George, “O’Brien said it sounded like I had good basis for a lawsuit and lots of damages.” [Boldface.] But then they all laughed, which did not please George at all; he went on at some length about how they were not “peace officers” at all but instead were thugs and not just that but thugs with a “state monopoly” on thuggery. Which made me think George was a little jealous, that he wouldn’t mind getting in on the action seeing as he already had a gun and knew a lot of other guys with guns and they could with little effort form some kind of milita so that there would be no monopolies involved. But that’s just me thinking.
The police officers, despite their perceived shortcomings, took the time to point out, when George wasn’t filling in the pauses, that he might have been, after all, a kidnapper or something but George just called that “blather.” Because he knew he wasn’t a kidnapper. All they had to do was ask.
Well, pretty soon this thing is practically a kaffeeklatch:
As soon as he appeared, Bolinsky asked me if I was an NRA member, trying to profile me as a conservative type I suppose.
Imagine. And then, “Bolinsky asked for my son’s name and I refused to provide it.” And I’m thinking, “Wait a minute, [Boldface mine.] if you aren’t really a kidnapper, this is something you should just do..."
Then, in a very eloquent passage, George gets to the ironic part:
“What a Nice Day” Says the Thug
The other plain clothes person near the end said “What a nice day!” I said yes, it is a beautiful day to go for a walk with your kids, except when people like you come and assault me like this. Then he said he would not carry a firearm if he was out walking with his son. I said, that’s terribly dangerous. It’s a crazy world out there and my son is too important to me for to take any chances. Isn’t yours? And you know when seconds count the police are minutes away, I added. [Multiple bold.]
He more or less sums the whole thing up right there, and even, despite the terrorizing nature of the situation, has the wherewithal to insert the bon mot about how, “when seconds count, the police are minutes away”…almost like he had rehearsed it.
An image from George's website
At this point, George offers up a little tidbit that you might find interesting. He writes:
They constantly peppered me with questions and statist-perspective claims meant to get me to cooperate and submit. [BF mine.]
Apparently they were trying to wear him down, like in the movies. But what were those perspectives? Statist? The term statist is used, and really only used, by a branch of the libertarian wing I would refer to as the anarcho-libertarian wing of the wingnut cavalcade. They deny the legitimacy of the state—government—of the people, buy the people, you name it, in favor of a more informal approach, such as that of an armed citizenry who know how to work it out amongst themselves, because, as you know, an armed citizenry is a polite citizenry—present circumstances excluded. Google "statist" or better, ”statist thugs” and you’ll get at least ten pages, included some voices very near to George, people he knows.
“If every man has freedom to do all that he wills, provided he infringes not the equal freedom of any other man, then he is free to drop connection with the state - to relinquish its protection and to refuse paying toward its support.”
~Herbert Spencer, “The Right to Ignore the State,” 1851
So by this point, it’s all a big mess and the cops are snarling at George and George is demanding their badge and bond numbers. But, in the end, they let him go on his way! Because, open carry is not illegal, just, at least in this case, ill-advised—although the open carry enthusiasts would take me to task for that last observation. They gave George his gun back, although they left the bullets at some distance on the ground. About which, George observed, “Of course they were fully armed and even Bolinsky had a four extra magazines sitting on his belt.”—highlighting yet another inequity of the situation.
In the aftermath, George took a timeout with his son:
I sat down and talked with my son for several minutes, hugging him and telling him, look it works, you can face the bad guys and talk sense into them until they leave you alone. [BF his.]
A poignant touch there, though I’m not sure what a toddler would make of all this.
Denouement: Let the Comments Begin
In a follow-up blog George tries to mask his disappointment that the attorney he contacted said that George had no case for a lawsuit. I was thinking, “Hell, get a different lawyer, like the one Meleanie Hain used.” Because I’m thinking, if you are an open carry enthusiast, the only thing better than cold, hard steel is cold, hard steel and cold, hard cash.
As to the original post, you might imagine George received quite a few comments on his blog—well he did, 203 to be exact. (Eat your hearts out Open Salon bloggers.) I guess you could call these people George’s peers. You know how comments work; some people get a little hot-headed.
Most of the comments were very supportive of George. For example:
Kyle Bennet writes:
The old biddie with the yappy dog needs a good talking to. In a perfect world, she should get more than that, but this is not a perfect world.
ummmm, what’s the point of having a f***ing gun if you’re not going to use it to defend yourself from police violence? if that had happened to me, things would have gone down A LOT differently.
And you know, that’s what I wonder about, too. In a situation like this, it could have gone down a lot differently. And that’s what I would be thinking if I encountered a person like George while I was out in the park with my precious child. Meleanie Hain, before she was murdered by her husband with a handgun, made the point that handguns are like fire extinguishers, but I don’t think they are. I would say they are more like rags-and-gasoline.
putting out fire...with gasoline