Saturday, February 1, 2014

The Camo Police

If you've been reading this blog recently, you are acutely aware that I've been away at the SHOT Show.

SHOT was a lot of things, but one thing I noticed that it "wasn't" was a fashion show. My first day on the show floor, I wore a lime green lace-trimmed top with a floral cardigan, and let me tell you that I felt like a bright flower in a sea of khaki and black. At least you could have found me easily.

That theme carried over for the entire week. If it wasn't khaki, or black, it was some iteration of a camouflage theme. There was RealTree and MossyOak (and if I could figure out how to do the TM next to those, I'd do it), ACU, Multicam, pink camo, woodland BDU style, grassland and marshland themed styles, and a host of other color schemes, all designed to conceal the human form in one environment or another.

There were even items done up in camo that would never in any universe need to be concealed - purses, sneakers, backpacks, wallets - you name it. I haven't seen one yet, but I know that someone out there undoubtedly markets a camo toilet seat ... and I know some guys who would buy one.

We love our camo. In my state, camo is practically a uniform. Some people don't even own a heavy coat that isn't Mossy Oak. It is part of an "identity" if you will. I've realized that it's a bit like wearing team colors.

Now, stop for just a second, and imagine a place where camouflage coloring is illegal. Yes, a particular color scheme is against the law - can you imagine that? And apparently it involves "real" police, not just the fashion police. I had no idea such a thing existed until I went on a Caribbean cruise right after SHOT. Several islands I visited were accompanied by a warning from the cruise line that camouflage clothing - or camouflage ANYthing - was against local law. (I'm glad I didn't load up on swag before I left Vegas - whew!) . I'm also kind of glad that I left my GunGoddess ballcap at home too. Sheesh.

Honestly, getting an eyeful of what some people (especially Europeans) wear to the beach, I'd not be surprised if Tim Gunn had something to say. But we're not talking fashion critics having a word with the fat guy in a Speedo, or advising me that they'd rather I wear anything but a bikini. We're talking actual police turning you back at customs and demanding that you change clothes, and/or confiscating the offending item.

I subsequently did a little Googling, and found out that in fact, most of the Caribbean, parts of Central and South America, and parts of Africa also ban camouflage. Apparently even baby clothes don't get a pass.

Now, I sort of understand that a country that has experienced coups in the past, might be a little sensitive about random tourists wearing camouflage shorts. But baby clothes? With teddy bears? It's not like roving bands of rogue toddlers have been terrorizing local cruise ports -- it sounds like a Monty Python sketch.

But --- it was educational. It was evidence of a yet another freedom that I take for granted in the U.S. Can you imagine trying to pass a law like that here? There would be a million SOMEthing march on Washington - except you wouldn't be able to accurately count the attendees due to their numbers being obscured by the camouflage they were wearing.

I might have to go get me a ghillie suit now - just because I CAN.  God Bless America!!

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