You know the routine… some of these articles were written by me, some weren’t.
The problem with using the anti-smoking model against gun owners is that the societal benefits of smoking are pretty much zero, but the societal benefits of legal gun ownership are pretty easy to find.
Whenever a honest citizen defends their life with a firearm, there’s a benefit to society. Whenever an armed policeman shows up and saves the lives of high school students, it’s a benefit to society. Whenever an NRA instructor with an AR-15 stops someone from shooting up a church, it’s a benefit to society. When a hunter harvests game and helps out with balancing the environment, it’s a benefit to society.
I just found out that Shooting Illustrated, where a lot of my articles are published, as hit one half million print readers.
That’s dead tree subscribers, and in today’s world, INCREASING your dead tree readership is quite the accomplishment.
Congrats to Ed and Jay and especially me on this accomplishment.
We need allies. So who should we reach out to? Everybody. Reach out to anyone even remotely related to guns and personal freedom. Vapers and Harley owners. Martial arts studios. Civic groups. Localvores who dig the idea of harvesting free-range, grass-fed, antibiotic-free meat.
Which is best? All of the above, and more. We need to press the home attack on our rights on all fronts, and then, when we find a tactic that works, we beat it like a rented mule.
This is basic von Clauswitz: You attack the entire front, and when you find a weakness, you turn it into the schwerpunkt and make the entire battle about that one spot. What tactic is going to win the war on guns? We don’t don’t know yet. What’s guaranteed NOT to win, though, is not fighting at all.
“Madam, we’ve already established who you are. Now we’re just haggling over price.” – Anon
Let’s start with the obvious: We make compromises in how we chose to defend ourselves. A “no compromise” approach to personal defense would have us carrying around an M4gery, wearing a plate carrier and looking like this guy.
So we compromise. We don’t wear body armor and chest rigs. We carry Glock 19s and M&P Compacts in concealed holsters rather than open-carrying AR-15’s. We don’t carry an IFAK, we carry a tourniquet and some Quikclot. We do this sort of thing because we know that, over the long haul, it’s better for us to make these compromises and fit in with the rest of society than it is for us to walk around with a rifle at low ready, acting like a freak.
As a result, when talk about carrying a .380 auto pistol in our pocket versus carrying a compact 9mm on our waist, we are talking about degrees of compromise. The compromise happened when we decided to carry a pistol, not a rifle: Anything else is just moving the needle in one direction or another.
This is why I don’t feel particularly out-gunned when I carry my LCP2, and I don’t feel unprepared when I carry around my ready-to-go improvised trauma kit rather than a flat-packed SOF-T Wide tourniquet. I’ve trained with the LCP2, I know its limitations and I know I can have it with me (and more…) pretty much anywhere it’s legal to carry a gun.
Is that gear a compromise? Yes.
Is it ineffective? No, and that’s all that matters.
I was chatting back and forth via email with Michael Bane this week about the shellacking we’ve taken in pop culture as of late, and he pointed out that both sides are using tried and true social manipulation strategies: They’re using the anti-smoking model to “brainwash” people into believing that guns are bad and evil, and we’re using a gay rights model to expand what is considered “normal” in polite society.
Back when I was a photog, I worked with an art director named Jim who was a former NYC firefighter. He was unpretentious, laid back and easy to work with. He liked golf, had a great creative eye, was into indie music, and we got along famously.
And then we threw a Christmas party at the studio, and Jim brought his boyfriend.
Jim did more to change my mind about homosexuality’s place in our society than 10,000 people in ass-less chaps marching through the Castro District shouting “WE’RE HERE, WE’RE QUEER, AND WE’RE NOT GOING AWAY!!!” ever could. It wasn’t a freak show of loud and proud activists that changed my mind: My mind was changed by someone who looked like me and acted like me and was like me in every way, except with who he chose to snuggle up with at night.
What will change America’s attitude on guns: Open carry marches and rants about “Freedom’s clenched fist,” or taking your friends, family and co-workers out to a shooting range?
Some people are activists to make themselves feel good. Some do it to change the world.
Take someone shooting. The world you change may be your own.
I’m still recovering from the double whammy of TacCon and a 1:30am arrival time. I’ll have my after-action report on TacCon tomorrow.
The Otherization of Gun Owners. We need to fight this by showing that gun ownership is NORMAL inside the U.S. More of this sort of stuff, NRA. This is what works.
I come down on the “pro life” side of the abortion issue*. I realize that is a shocking revelation to you all, knowing that a) I lean conservative and b) I’ve been pretty open about my faith here. However, I hope you’ll overcome your surprise and bear with me here for a sec.. this isn’t going to be a post on the merits/problems of abortion, it’s a post on how the two sides talk (or rather, don’t talk) to each other.
One thing that annoys me is how we Christians prepare ourselves to talk about this issue: We load up on Bible verses which defend our point of view and then are shocked, SHOCKED that they’re not a persuasive argument in the debate with people on the other side of this issue from us who don’t believe in God. Bible verses supporting the pro-life side work GREAT with us evangelicals, but they’re not that useful when debating abortion with an atheist.
Similarly, we gun owners can say “SHALL NOT BE INFRINGED!!!!” and wrap ourselves around the Constitution, but if we’re debating gun rights with someone who thinks the Constitution is an outdated, antiquated document that has little to no importance to today’s world, those arguments are pretty much useless.
We need to develop good arguments for gun ownership that are based on the principles of the Second Amendment, but don’t quote it directly. People are scared, and they’re scared of what guns can do in the wrong hands. This is a very real and very healthy fear… heck, I have that same fear. Rather than relying on some politician to pass a law that will make the scary things go away (good luck with that…), I chose to do something about it by doing what it takes to not be a victim of violence.
Everyone wants to FEEL safe, the question is, what are you willing to do in order to BE safe? Not someone else’s doing, not a legislator, not gun owners, not the NRA… you. You are, and always will be, your own first responder.
Deal with it.
* Don’t even bother arguing abortion in the comments: I’ll delete your comment right away, because that’s how I roll.
Two interesting articles popped up on my radar over the weekend, both of which demand more than just a cursory link. First is the look at the full-spectrum tactics of the anti-gun left, over at Ace of Spaces.
The way spectrum of allies analysis works is: you categorize people and groups by where they stand in relation to you and your target on whatever issue you’re working on
Active opponents are against you, and fighting you.
Passive opponents are against you, but they’re not fighting you.
Neutrals are neither against or for you.
Passive allies are with you, but they’re not fighting for you.
Active allies are with you and are fighting for you.
The point of spectrum of allies analysis is figuring out who you can move one notch. Who can you move toward you? Who can you move away from your enemy? And how do you make sure you don’t push people away from you?
Active allies: engage them.
Passive allies: make them active.
Neutrals: inform or educate them to make them passive allies.
Passive opponents: make them move to neutral by worrying their position may cost them — BUT CAREFULLY, so they don’t become active opponents.
Quite frankly, gun owners suck at this sort of thing. We’re pretty good at identifying allies and opponents in the political arena, but our attempts to do this in the culture war is limited to Colion Noir and a concert at the NRA Convention and that’s about it.
This has to change. We need to learn how to win a culture war, not just win an election
Secondly is this article by a self-confessed left wing gun nut (courtesy of David Yamane), which lays out the difference between gun owners and the gun control crowd clearer than anyone else I’ve seen before.
“Folks in the anti-gun camp tend to believe, with Martin Luther King Jr., that, ‘the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice’. The other camp sees history as cyclical, with no real long-term trajectory. We take it as self-evident that there is nothing new under the sun; human nature doesn’t change; and humans keep re-learning the same painful lessons as species. Ultimately, then, the private ownership of weapons of war is an issue that pits each side against its own hopes for the future. The anti-gun crowd finds itself arguing for the unassailable tactical superiority of the present neoliberal order, and the pro-gun crowd finds itself making the awful case that horrific deaths in the present are necessary to prevent a dystopian future that it fervently hopes will never come to pass.”
I have two sons. I want them to live a world that’s better than the one I lived in, but I also want them to live confident, secure lives. The neoliberal blue state model is collapsing, and one thing that always happens when cultures are in transition is that law and order breaks down, and people need to defend what’s near and dear to them by themselves, rather than wait for the .gov’s cavalry to arrive. It happened to the farmers in Gaul when Rome collapsed, it happened to the farmers in Bulgaria when the Holy Roman Empire collapsed, and it will happen here very soon as we find alternatives to our current progressive taxation/entitlement system of government.
And make no mistake: Progressivism is on it’s way out. But just because an animal is mortally wounded doesn’t mean it’s any less dangerous.