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Target gun poser photo provokes angry backlash

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“Houston Area Man Recklessly Brandishes Firearm at Target,” a Saturday BuzzPo post by Gun Rights Across America’s Eric Reed reported. He’s referring to a Facebook taunt aimed at Target by someone identifying himself as Todd Lo, in apparent retaliation for a recent public statement where the retail giant announced it would “continue to follow local laws regarding ‘open carry’ policies [but] also respectfully request that guests not bring firearms to Target, even in communities where it’s permitted.”

“You can't protect me and my family nor replace them in an event a psycho murders one of my family members,” Lo wrote in the comment accompanying photos of him holding a handgun while standing in a Target facility and kneeling next to a little girl riding in a stroller shopping cart, pointing the gun in a manner that appears to violate fundamental gun safety rules. “My right is my right and no government agency or corporation can protect them from violence!”

While Lo is correct in those observations, his tactics have come under fire by gun owners who believe they went beyond inappropriate and may have even approached criminal actions.

“These are the most irresponsible, unsafe images I've seen in a long time,” CH Grisham, President of Open Carry Texas told Lo in a Facebook comment under the photos that joined many others in condemning the man’s actions. “And while you, sir, are not a member of any open carry organization we are aware of, the image you present here is one of lunacy and leads us to believe you are potentially mentally unstable. I'm not a doctor, but even I can't understand the point of pointing a firearm at your daughter or even breaking the law to brandish -- which in this case meets the legal definition of brandish -- a firearm in a public place. I hope Houston PD or Harris County Sheriff see this because you just admitted to committing at a minimum a Class A misdemeanor and a felony if you don't have a Chl.”

I also discussed this last night on the nationally-syndicated Armed American Radio program with host Mark Walters (who gave Lo a “Bonehead of the Week Award”) and with I.C.E. Training’s Rob Pincus.

“THIS makes it easy to see why not everyone who claims to be fighting for RKBA is actually on my team. There's a place for guys like this, after he gets educated, but to blindly support his actions under the misguided interest in ‘not being split’ is foolish and short sighted,” Pincus declared on his Facebook page. “Every responsible gun owner should be seeking to FIX these goofballs and/or at least make it clear that they do not represent [the vast majority of our] community.”

Lo’s own Facebook page shows no particular affinity for the gun rights community, but as Pincus noted on AAR, there’s not enough to support allegations by some posting comments that he must be a plant from the anti-gun side. Without positive evidence to support such allegations, they appear to be more wishful thinking than anything. While it could end up being the case, we need to remember that was also the straw grasped at in an incident in Myrtle Beach, where a gun was left on a shelf in a Target toy aisle in what appears to be a criminally-motivated act, rather than agenda-driven one.

Whatever Lo’s motivations were, only he can say. Attempting to find out what it was he hoped to accomplish and whether he believes he achieved his goals, I sent him a Facebook message in an attempt to get his side of things.

“Care to make any for the record comments about the photos purporting to be you with a gun in Target that is causing an uproar among gun owners and gun controllers alike?” I asked Lo. “I'm going to be writing a story on this and would like to give you the opportunity to present your reasons.”

At this writing, he has not responded. It may be because he has no desire to and wants to put an embarrassing act behind him, it may be because he is too busy, or it may be because, in addition to the potential for a police investigation, some activists have taken their outrage a step further and approached his employer, Petroleum Engineering World, leaving comments on their Facebook page obviously designed to get them to reconsider his employment.

Mr. Lo may be regretting that he made himself the center of a self-created storm. If this column learns anything more or different from him, it will be updated with the new information.

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If you're a regular Gun Rights Examiner reader and believe it provides news and perspectives you won't find in the mainstream press, please subscribe to this column and help spread the word by sharing links, promoting it on social media like Facebook (David Codrea) and Twitter (@dcodrea), and telling your like-minded friends about it. And for more commentary, be sure to visit "The War on Guns: Notes from the Resistance."

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Those who would disarm you against your will can't always get what they want. My latest GUNS Magazine "Rights Watch" column is online, and you can read it well before the issue hits the stands. Click here to read "Gun-grabbers Can't Get No Satisfaction.”

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My latest JPFO Alert notes, true to their "Every Day is Opposite Day" natures, “progressive” champions of “common sense gun safety” are upping the physical danger for everyone around them every time they hold one of these stupid publicity stunts. See “Gun ‘Buyback’ Endangers Public in Order to Score Political Points.”

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Don’t like the latest Supreme Court ruling? My newest entry in The Shooter’s Log recommends “To Prevent Another ‘Abramski,’ Get in the Fight.”

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