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The Kynn Apologies

Some of you may have been following the Kynn incident over at SayUncle.  I’m happy to see that we’re more in an apologetic phase, with both Uncle and Kynn issuing apologies.  But I wanted to address some points that Kynn made:

Okay, now, the first point — several people, including Mr. Uncle, have said “how could someone from a group who is attacked be as bigoted as to judge gun nuts as a group? What a bigot Kynn is!”

This comparison is pretty much laughable to me, as it would be to most people who have done any work in anti-bigotry activism: There’s obviously a big difference between characteristics such as one’s gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, race, ethnicity, and so on, and characteristics such as one’s beliefs regarding gun control, birth control, abortion, war, taxes, disco music, or choice of political candidate. Transphobia is not the same thing as being angry at everyone who supports (or opposes) the Iraq War. The latter is much more like gun control than being genderqueer is.

The truth is, it’s laughable to most people.  It may be a technically correct use of the term “bigot” to describe someone “obstinately or intolerantly devoted to his or her own opinions and prejudices,” but in practical terms, “bigot” more often than not has racial connotations to most people who aren’t familiar with the true dictionary definition.

As much as I believe the fight for the second amendment is a civil rights struggle, that has parallels to other civil rights struggles in our nation’s history, I’ve always had a hard time getting over the fact that being a gun owner is a choice, whereas no one chooses to be Black, Hispanic, Native American, and, at least in my opinion, gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgendered.  In that sense, barring someone from a community because of his color just can’t, in my opinion, rank up there with barring someone from a community because he chooses to be a gun owner.  I do agree that the latter is a constitutionally protected right, but I can choose not to be a gun owner.  Someone can’t choose not to be black.

Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s worthwhile pointing out that many people’s views of gun owners are prejudicial, and based on stereotypes; I have no problem turning the entire political correctness machinery around on folks who relish in using it on conservatives.  But I think we should be careful throwing the “b” word around.  That’s not to say it has no place; I’ve certainly used it in instances where a person had just displayed an unapologetic disdain from people who come from a certain (rural) culture.  But I don’t think it’s the first thing to brand someone with.  Appeals to tolerance, and pointing out that the some views might be based on stereotypes and prejudices, I think is just as effective.

Hopefully Kynn can appreciate that there are as many opinions as gun owners.  Some of us are pretty conservative, both socially and politically.  I would be a liar if I said there were no racists in the gun culture.  Some of us will stand for no gun laws, some of us are willing to live with a few.  But perhaps Kynn might be surprised to learn that there are a lot of us who don’t really have issues with the GLBT community, and who support issues like gay marriage.

Kynn and I would probably never consider ourselves political allies.  No doubt on most political issues, we’d probably work against each other.  But it does no one any good to alienate others based on prejudicial views.  Regardless of whether I vote for McCain over Obama, I will be an advocate from within the conservative movement for stronger acceptance of the people like Kynn, and a recognition that whether you agree that who they are is a lifestyle choice, or something imposed on them through genetics, they have a right to live how they want as free people, and to enjoy all the same benefits as other members of our society.

To me the tragedy is that we let our petty sqibbles get in the way of that far too often.  It’s very hard to win acceptance of rights that only have support from one side of the political aisle.  Just read Ilya Somin’s article on Gun Rights, Post-Heller.  Gun owners need to accept that we need the left to buy into gun rights, and the left needs to accept that they need to get conservatives to buy into things like gay rights.  That’s really the only way we’re both going to win.

36 Responses to “The Kynn Apologies”

  1. Kynn says:

    But perhaps Kynn might be surprised to learn that there are a lot of us who don’t really have issues with the GLBT community, and who support issues like gay marriage.

    No, I’m not surprised or anything. I’m not that ignorant.

    And heck, for all that I’ve been painted as someone who Wants To Take Away Your Guns, I have no real desire to do so at present, nor have I expressed any such desire lately.

  2. Sebastian says:

    The main point I wanted to make was to other gun owners, who kick the “bigot” word around a bit too frequently, quite often to describe someone merely expressing an opinion rather than indicating any pre-conceived notions about the type of people who are gun owners.

  3. Weer'd Beard says:

    “In that sense, barring someone from a community because of his color just can’t, in my opinion, rank up there with barring someone from a community because he chooses to be a gun owner. I do agree that the latter is a constitutionally protected right, but I can choose not to be a gun owner. Someone can’t choose not to be black.”

    But one can choose not to do things. I could say Religion is a Choice, you can choose to be, or not to be Jewish (but one could say the opposite as well)

    I personally agree with you that a person can’t really choose to be gay or not. But say a company fires somebody for bringing their partner to the company picknick. It was a choice to bring the partner….but that’s a horrible discriminatory thing to do. Meanwhile many company policies will state thay employees will be terminated for brining a gun to work, legal or not. (If Kynn is reading this, I’d like to add that saying “No Guns at Work” not only disarms a person in their work space, but on their commute, and any stops they might make to-or-from the job)

    I’d say that could be comparable.

  4. Ahab says:

    What about religion? Your faith is a choice – just like being a gun owner is a choice.

  5. Sebastian says:

    I actually think religion is a lower standard. No one should be labeled a bigot for lambasting Catholics, Muslims, or Hindus. It gets a little grey where race and religion overlap, as with Jews… but hatred of Jews has always been predicated on the fact that one born into Jewishness cannot escape it. The Nazis still killed non-practicing Jews.

  6. DJK says:

    But…why is it called “gay rights” why aren’t they called “Human Rights” and people just accept and stay out of other peoples’ business?

  7. Sebastian says:

    Because there are a lot of people that enjoy poking their noses in other people’s business, and we tend to enjoy electing people of that persuasion.

  8. DJK says:

    You’ll get no disagreement from me on that point.

  9. Sebastian says:

    Thinking about it more, I think the reason you probably don’t see more use of “human rights” is because everyone is for human rights. Just ask the most conservative and most liberal members of the house and Senate. They’ll tell you how much they love and want to preserve human rights. Then bring up “gay rights” or “gun rights” and see how the answer changes!

    I love politicians.

  10. DJK says:

    I understand that….that’s why I posed the question. Why don’t people just bug off and mind their own business? Why is it their place to moralize/demoralize whatever I’m doing? “Human rights” should equate to “whatever the hell I want to do so long as it doesn’t hurt you”.

    Why do the lying cheating and stealing politicians get to tell me what is and isn’t ok/moral/ethical???

    Look at Spitzer…and Stevens….and so many others. Talk about projection.

  11. gattsuru says:

    I’m sorry, but about the point where we start finding individual religions or lifestyles specially victim to bigotry, regardless of the actual events, there’s a rather obvious flaw in any version of the word.

    What about sexualities that are a choice? I go both ways, and for me it *is* a matter of choice. Is illogical discrimination, intolerance, or actual biphobia (and all three do exist, sometimes in strange places; some gay-lesbian parades banned bisexual floats) somehow ‘less’ bigoted than the same thing done toward plain gay or lesbian individuals?

    The dictionary definition is intolerance of other lifestyles or opinions. The word originated from either bigotry over origin or religion, depending on what story you stick with. If you can’t use the word to describe all bigots, don’t contribute to the decay of the concept of intolerance using it to describe any bigot. Using it to just describe the popular definition is only going to make it clear that any level of discrimination toward gun owners is not bigoted.

  12. Sebastian says:

    I think for some it’s a matter of choice. Not for others. I’m not excoriating the use of the word to describe people who fit the definition, but understand that people will, on the surface a) think it’s a laughable assertion, because our society has distorted the meaning of the word, and b) that it doesn’t fit with anyone who expresses an anti-gun sentiment.

    The reason the overuse concerns me is that I don’t want to get into an argument with someone new to the gun rights message, as Kynn is, over the definition of “bigot” I agree that society has sullied the word, but that’s not really our fault, and I’d rather dive right into the meat of the gun rights stuff rather than arguing over semantics.

    Like I said, it’s worthwhile to point out their beliefs are intolerant and prejudicial, but people should be aware of how people understand the meaning of “bigot” when doing so.

    And yes, I’m nitpicking :)

  13. DJK says:

    The problem I see here, being a gunny, is the hypocrisy involved. The people that so quickly cry at any “bigotry” aimed at them, also call us names and say all sorts of things about us being paranoid, etc., thus being “bigots” themselves.

    Correct me if I’m wrong.

  14. Sebastian says:

    I don’t think you’re wrong.

  15. Joe Huffman says:

    When the issue of “born that way” versus “choice” comes into play I use the example of interracial marriage. I think that is probably the best analogy to being a gun owner and being discriminated against based on your life choices.

    Another way to educate the anti-gun people about their belief system is to ask Just One Question. Keep pushing them back on topic to answer the question. They can’t or won’t. Ultimately what they end up saying is something like, “I just don’t want to live around people that have/carry guns.” Then ask them if they also think it’s acceptable to pass laws against Jews/Blacks/gays just because some people don’t want to live around them.

    You don’t actually have to use the B-word to say what needs to be said.

  16. Kynn says:

    Various responses to various people.

    But…why is it called “gay rights” why aren’t they called “Human Rights” …

    The largest LGB(T) organization campaigning for gay rights is the Human Rights Campaign. So…

    The people that so quickly cry at any “bigotry” aimed at them, also call us names and say all sorts of things about us being paranoid, etc., thus being “bigots” themselves.

    Well, I didn’t call anyone a bigot.

    When the issue of “born that way” versus “choice” comes into play I use the example of interracial marriage. I think that is probably the best analogy to being a gun owner and being discriminated against based on your life choices.

    I’m not really convinced there are people who were killed for being gun owners, as there have been for interracial relationships.

    Maybe could we declare a moratorium on trying to define gun rights in terms of other peoples’ experiences? Because this is really seeming like a bad case of Oppression Olympics.

  17. Sebastian says:

    Well, for my purposes, it’s useful to draw the analogy other civil rights movements. Not because gun control is morally equivalent to Jim Crow, but because the Civil Rights movement in the middle of the 20th century is actually a pretty good example of how to do it right. It took decades, it took patience, and there were setbacks, but in the end, they won.

    But it’s also worthwhile to understand that the second amendment has been the crazy uncle in the attic of the Bill of Rights for most of the 20th century, so there are a lot of people who honestly do feel it’s been oppressed and disrespected, and are angry about it.

    Why pick the Second Amendment? Well, for me, precisely because it’s been disrespected, and I feel like it’s an area I can make a difference with. The fourth amendment has been crapped on too, and I’m not happy about that either, but there’s less of a constituency for respecting laws against unreasonable search and seizure, because it doesn’t affect enough people to build a coalition to uphold it. To me, all the brew-ha-ha over wiretapping is distraction for the fact that the Supreme Court apparently think it’s just fine to set up roadblocks to check for compliance with a criminal regulation. The same court apparently also thinks it’s not unreasonable to arrest someone over a minor traffic violation if the officer feels like it. I don’t know how to build a coalition when people can’t agree on what the outrage is.

  18. DJK says:

    Anyway, I wasn’t talking about this kynn fellow and what he may or may not have said. I was speaking in general.

  19. DJK says:

    I’m not really convinced there are people who were killed for being gun owners, as there have been for interracial relationships.

    I’m sure you’ve heard of a robber walking into a bank and killing the first armed guy he sees… That’s kinda like killing a gun owner because he’s a gun owner…because a gun owner is a formidable opponent and there’s nothing the scumbags hate worse is someone that’s more powerful than they are.

  20. Kynn says:

    I’m sure you’ve heard of a robber walking into a bank and killing the first armed guy he sees… That’s kinda like killing a gun owner because he’s a gun owner…because a gun owner is a formidable opponent and there’s nothing the scumbags hate worse is someone that’s more powerful than they are.

    … that’s not really the same thing as someone assaulting a biracial couple because the attacker disapproves of their relationship, though, is it?

    Is the robber shooting the armed guy because he disapproves of guns? Well, no, not really…right?

  21. DJK says:

    That’s absolutely why he shoots the gun owner.

  22. DJK says:

    He disapproves that he can defend himself and others….so he needs to die.

  23. Kynn says:

    Well, DKJ, there’s just nothing more we can say, if you think that shooting a gun owner when committing a robbery is the same kind of bigotry as assaulting a biracial couple because of racism. There is just too much fundamental disagreement between your point of view and mine.

    Thank you for sharing your POV, even if I don’t agree with it. Have a wonderful day!

  24. Sebastian says:

    Really? I would have thought it was more “I better shoot that guy first so he doesn’t shoot me.”

  25. Kynn says:

    I thought that too, Sebastian, but I defer to DJK’s knowledge of the minds of armed bank robbers.

  26. DJK says:

    I’m just trying to stretch us into a group that Kynn can relate to. Apparently white mail armed guys isn’t one of them.

  27. DJK says:

    male

  28. DJK says:

    I’m sure plenty of CCW or open carriers have felt the “hatred if their concealed carry weapon handle gets exposed in the grocery store or wherever. I’m sure it’s not much of a stretch to say that gun owners in some way or another are discriminated against or are prejudged. You can want to be in the “most hated” group all you want, Kynn, but we feel it too. We’ve got the Brady’s and the VPC and all these other lame groups willing to vilify us and demonize us. So, ok, you and your friends are hated JUST A LITTLE more than we are hated. But we feel it.

    Some people drive down the street of a gun owner and see his “2nd Amendment Security” sticker or the reloading gear in his garage and say, “LOOK at THOSE people…they don’t belong here….” and shit like that.

    You memmer? You memmer….

  29. DJK says:

    damn…another misspelling. first line = “hatred” (close quote)

  30. Sebastian says:

    Armed bank robbers wouldn’t have been my first choice :) There have been more than a few cases on the interwebs of gun bloggers getting fired from their jobs. Not because of the blog, but because it was discovered they were gun owners. One reason I have my NRA sticker on a magnet is so I can take it off if a professional situation (such as a job interview) demands it. People certainly do have preconceived notions about gun owners, armed robbers notwithstanding.

    I have a coworker who’s gay, who took a while to come out of the closet to us, because he didn’t know how many of us would react. I typically do the same thing when it comes to being a competitive pistol shooter. Sometimes I have to skirt out of work early to go to a match. Not a problem, but for a while I had to come up with reasonable sounding excuses. Now that everybody here has worked for me for seven years, they know I’m not going to get angry and shoot up the place. But at first, you just never know how people are going to take it, especially in these days with workplace shootings.

    Note this is in a professional environment just outside of Philadelphia, with about 1/3rd of my coworkers being either foreign, or from New Jersey. Your mileage may vary.

  31. Sebastian says:

    And yes, once I started telling people, “I’m a competitive pistol shooter, I have to leave at 5 today to get to a match,” I did get some jokes about “Really? I’ll have to remember never to piss you off then.” I don’t take offense to stuff like that, because it’s not said to be nasty, but it does betray a certain set of preconceptions.

  32. DJK says:

    Once the people at the office found out about my man on gun love ;) they never stopped…

    http://oflifeandliberty.blogspot.com/2008/07/people-at-officethey-dont-seem-to-get.html

    Kynn, you might not see it, because you’re more on the side that usually does the chastising (maybe not you personally) but it’s there.

  33. DJK says:

    And as for the bank robber idea…. came up with it quick, I was in a hurry to get out the door….and I also thought it was kinda cute – snarky.

    My apologies to the other gunnies in my poor choice of example of anti gunny bigotry. ;))

  34. Joe Huffman says:

    I thought the bank robber idea was a little lame. Not entirely off target but far from the best examples.

    I would have thought better examples would have been Sammy Weaver (shot in the back and killed), Vicki Weaver (shot in the head while holding her infant in her arms), Randy Weaver (shot in the back while inspecting his son’s body), Kevin Harris (wounded by the shot that killed Vicki). A good starting point for learning about these events is here.

    Waco makes for a pretty good example too.

    The following weren’t killed but don’t forget about David Olofson, Al Woodbridge, Albert Kwan, and hundreds of others who went to prison when entrapped by paid informants, exaggerated testimony, and falsified evidence.

  35. DJK says:

    ;) I was in a hurry. AND, I’m not the smartest guy. AND my thinking usually starts in the now and goes backward… in 1992 when Ruby Ridge happened I was only 15… I wasn’t paying much attention.

  36. Sebastian says:

    Sorry about that Joe. The many links cause Akismet to be suspicious of the comment.

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