A person can be rational, but people, overall, are irrational and driven by fear. As we become more and more inundated with news, any bad news will be amplified with Facebook shares, news alerts, and the usual flood of “thoughts and prayers” which inevitably start 5 minutes after the first news report. Ever since the unholy merging of the 24-hour news cycle and the internet, it’s been a downhill slide to a world of fearmongering and obsession, especially regarding gun control. To make things even more difficult, we are also surrounded by a myriad of fake news and knee-jerk headlines which causes the public to become further disconnected from the truth, while oddly claiming to be “woke.”
It’s not a good combination.
With mass shootings being highlighted more, despite their rarity, the public is moving in favor of more gun control. Pew Research found in March of 2017 that 18% of those polled favored loosening restrictions on firearms, and in September of 2019, that number had declined to 11%. To compound the move away from firearm freedom, those who want greater restrictions has increased from 52% to 60% in that same timeframe.
Now, gun owners aren’t in a position of trying to convince the minority that they are better off with more armed citizens, they are in a position of trying to defend their individual rights from the majority.
Before you get too excited and exclaim, “let the boogaloo commence,” look around you next time you’re driving through town. There are shops and restaurants full of people, sidewalks bustling with activity, and tradesmen traveling to their next job to provide a valuable service. As much as we want to sell the idea of encroaching danger, most people don’t see it, nor should they. They’re raising children, working at least one job, and unwinding over drinks with friends on a Saturday night. The idea of urban warfare breaking out in their country is completely foreign to them, and this is the way that it should be. This is how stable countries are supposed to, unlike places like Southeast Asia where a coup can happen anytime. As much as we might admire their fighting spirit, it’s better to have stability and abundance. Very few people want to trade in what we have on a gamble, because, for the most part, Americans see themselves as free.
Many of these people see your guns as a greater threat to that stability than government could ever be.
They’re wrong, and we know this. Historically, gun control leads to anything from overreach to outright tyranny, but selling that idea in a stable society is complex. It is my opinion, that many gun owners are going about that task in the worst way, by challenging others to “come and take them” and using social media to post other remarks which are more threatening than challenging. Take, for example, former MLB Player, Aubrey Huff, who recently tweeted “Getting my boys trained up on how to use a gun in the unlikely event @BernieSanders beats @realDonaldTrump in 2020” or umpire Rob Drake, who tweeted “because if you impeach MY PRESIDENT this way, YOU WILL HAVE ANOTHER CIVIL WAR!!! #MAGA2020” for examples of this madness.
How can this help the cause at all?
Now, these are specified instances from a couple of random people involved in baseball, so it isn’t an indictment of all, but how many gun owners have done similar on social media? These vague threats actually start to scare people, so they turn to the only entity who they know can meet that firepower; the government.
The creation of more collectivism is the side-effect of emotionally declaring your rabid individualism in the worst of ways. As long as the opposition can point to so many instances of violent threats, public opinion will continue to sway in the wrong direction. It does the firearms community no favors when proponents of gun rights speak so ignorantly and walk that line of threatening insurrection should poll, or proceedings, not go their way. As long as you present yourself as a threat, others will want defense from you, and their instinct is not towards individual protection, it is towards collectivism. The narrative must change, and it can only change by improving the way gun owners are viewed by society.
Society shouldn’t see gun owners as a threat. To do this, gun owners must present themselves as those who care about the defenseless, not as those who will resort to violence should politics or law not go their way. Rather than posting memes about “stupid liberals” or commenting “from my cold dead hands” on some random thread, why not engage in productive discussions and highlight where guns have been what stood between life and death for the innocent? Why not refuse to react to an emotional outburst from gun-control advocates with your own profanity-laced tirade? Why not refuse to be a troll? If you want to avoid further infringements of your rights, you’re going to need allies, and that will include non-gun owners. It is imperative that gun owners are seen as defenders of the weak, and the silent protectors of many who don’t even know they’re around.
Be kind and virtuous advocates for gun rights.
Don’t act like irrational and crude fools.
Matt “DiGi” DiGiallonardo
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