Hey there, and welcome back to my little corner of cyberspace. It's been a while I must admit. October was a rather hectic month for me, what with 3 gun and knife shows, my daughter's birthday, and changes at my "day job"; but at the same time I've noticed a continuation of some things that concern me rather deeply. Specifically I'm talking about the choice of rhetoric being used by those who are supposedly on our side in the gun control debate.
Okay, I know, I've been guilty of it myself from time to time; especially when I do such things as refer to Mom's For Gun Sense as Mom's With No Sense. I also realize that I may be alienating some of my customer base with what I'm about to say. None the less, I honestly believe it's something that could come backhand bite us in the ass, if you'll excuse my French. Why? Well let's consider a survey I recently received from a group that claims to be fighting to protect the Second Amendment.
This survey started off innocently enough, but in the second paragraph they started referring to "Freedom hating Liberals", "Gun Grabbers", and "Communistic Socialistic haters of America"; just to name a few of the terms used. They also stated that all liberals hate guns and would never even think of owning one, yet later on in the same survey implied that Liberals were starting to stock pile guns for the express purpose of shooting all gun owners as well as starting a violent revolution against the Federal government! Excuse me? They wouldn't own a gun even you paid them but they're buying up all the guns they can get their hands on at the same time? Dude, the logic behind that completely escapes me. You cannot have it both ways!
Still, that little bit of convoluted logic is not what bothered me about the whole thing. Look. America is getting so polarized right now that some families are even going through divorces simply because of political differences, and language like that used in this particular survey is NOT helping matters. It certainly doesn't help convince people who may be on the fence about gun control to see things our way!
Imagine for a minute that you heard a gun control advocacy group referring to us as "Neo-Fascist", "Anarchy Lovers", or even "Anti-Law". Most people would assume that they're as radical as it gets! Yet if you stop and really think about it, those terms are not any different than what some gun rights advocacy groups are using; and many people would are on the fence about gun control have come to the conclusion that we are as radical as it gets as a result. The fact is that the effective gun control groups are currently sounding much more rational than we are right now, and it's going to come back and bite us in the ass if we're not careful!
Let's take my father as an example. Dad was not a hunter, or any type of outdoorsman. He was a good shot, and he owned one rifle he bought to get rid of "varmints". If he was still alive today, he would have concluded that no rational human being would ever believe the "crap" that gun right activists are spouting. He would then have listened to the various gun control groups who avoid such language (at least in public any way), and he would have found himself believing that they really didn't want to get rid of all guns, just the dangerous ones. What would never have occurred to him until someone like myself had pointed it out was that since his bolt action rifle was once a military rifle back around the time of WWI, it was one of those "dangerous rifles" that needed to be taken off the street. But if the person who told him that used "radical" language like that used in the survey that sparked this little ramble, then dad would have been convinced that they were exaggerating things. In fact he'd have remained convinced of that right up to the point that they came for his rifle!
Yes, it's true that gun control advocates have not given up the fight. And yes, we must remain vigilant to keep our Second Amendment rights. But we need to be careful in the language we use.. The fact is that there are a lot of people out there who are like my father was. There are also a lot of people like my sister, who considers herself a Liberal but still owns a few guns; and these are the very people we need to convince to side with us. We need to reach out to them and show them why supporting the Second Amendment is so important. But if we keep using arguments that refer to "Freedom Hating Liberals" and other emotionally charged terms, we will be written off as irrational and radicals by the very people we need on our side.
What's worse is that the words we use do affect the way we think. If we continue to use such terms, we run the very real risk of becoming as polarized, and as radical, as we sound! I mentioned people getting divorced over politics? Well one couple I know is doing exactly that! They got married during Reagon's terms in office, and lasted through Bush Sr., Clinton, Bush Jr., and Obama. But cracks began to form during Obama's second term, and thing are so bad now in their conflicting views on Trump that they have filed for a divorce! My parents generation would never have allowed difference in politics to ruin their marriage, nor would my grandparents generation; but now it's actually becoming all too common!
The simple fact is that we need people like my father and my sister to be on our side. But if we allow ourselves to think of them a "Freedom Hating", it won't be long until we start seeing them as threats instead of potential allies! Once that happens, we've lost. Let's be honest with ourselves. It may be true that more guns are owned here in America than at any time in the past, but it used to be that most gun owners only owned one or two guns. Avid hunters would own a rifle and maybe a shotgun. People like my father would own one rifle to get rid of varmints. Some people might own a hand gun, but most would only have one or two. Today however most gun owners are more like myself. We own 2 or 3 different rifles for different purposes (a 30-06 or 308 for hunting and maybe a Ruger 10/22 just for fun) and 2 or 3 different handguns. One for concealed carry if we have a permit, one for home defense possibly, and another just for fun. As a result, while more guns are owned by Americans than ever before, a smaller percentage of the population own those guns. So if we start alienating those who don't own guns, or those who own a gun or two but think themselves as moderates or liberals, it's just a matter of time before the gun control advocates will win.
I hope I've given you reason to think about this, and I really hope you understand my fears. But in the meantime I've once again ran way over what I meant to write, so I suppose it's time to putty soap box away for now. I look forward to seeing you back here again soon, and, as always, remember. If you're going to do something, no matter how minor, if it's worth doing, it's worth doing with attitude!
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