Please Do Not Wear These Gun T-Shirts If You Are Black

Small businesses, we are told, are the engine of our economy, the soul of capitalism, the American dream itself realized, workshops of imagination from whence spring innovation and dynamism like sweat from a (non-migrant) farmer's sun-beaten brow. So it was with a sense of pride and giddy anticipation that we read that the owner of a small Colorado billiards supply store had decided to branch out into fashion. Then we saw what his mind had wrought. Gun shirts. Shirts that make it look like you're carrying a gun.

A Colorado business owner is selling T-shirts that show a realistic-looking holstered gun strapped to the wearer’s side.

Paul Liebe, who owns Nitelife Billiards, describes his “open carry” T-shirts and polo shirts as conversation starters that are also intended to irritate liberals.

“Freedom of speech, it’s your right, and it just has a little kick on the side,” Liebe said.

A Facebook page set up to promote the shirts promises they are sure to “drive anti-gun nuts crazy.”

We're honestly not sure what "conversation" this is supposed to start. (So, uh, your shirt makes it look like you're wearing a gun in a shoulder holster. Yeah! Why? Freedom of speech! I can wear whatever I want!  OK.)

Liebe says that the shirts are so realistic that police officers might believe that they are actual guns from a short distance, and so he feels compelled to issue them with a warning: don't put your hand on the gun, because police officers might think it's real.

Obviously this could be purely a marketing gimmick ("Doctors HATE this one weird trick"). But we can only imagine what would happen if a black shopkeeper from a major city attempted to pull this stunt. The lamenting of the "culture of violence" that prevails among black youth, the "lack of respect for authority" that would motivate them to wear shirts that might frighten the brave men and women of law enforcement. Gangs. Rap music. Fatherlessness. While black children in America are inculcated with a careful finessed blend of etiquette and strategy to keep them alive around police, grown white men can feel comfortable and proud openly courting police attention for no reason other than the satisfaction of their own egos. There's nothing wrong or criminal about these shirts, just like there was nothing wrong or criminal about Tamir Rice playing with a toy gun in the park. But he's dead. As for Liebe's customers like the ladies above in their pink shirts?

Liebe said he has not heard of anyone wearing one of his shirts having a negative experience with law enforcement.

Must be nice.



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